Pandemic ‘may result in more children in foster care’

There will be a surge in vulnerable children going into care as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, charity group Kibble has warned.

Charity warning: More children in care as a result of pandemic. Pixabay
Charity warning: More children in care as a result of pandemic.

There will be a surge in vulnerable children and young people going into care as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a charity has said.

Kibble, a child and youth care charity, said trauma, financial turmoil and poor mental health due to the implications of coronavirus could see more children going into foster care.

A report from the Scottish Government’s Independent Care Review in April said vulnerable children may be at higher risk of harm and neglect due to high stress home environments.

Vulnerable children will also have less contact with professionals who are normally engaged with them due to the lockdown.

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The Parentline charity has received four times the number of calls it usually receives since lockdown began, and the UK-wide domestic abuse helpline has seen a 150% increase in web traffic.

Kibble has now launched an urgent appeal for foster carers.

Neil McMillan, head of community services at Kibble, said: “What’s important to remember is that while everything else is on pause, children and young people still need to be cared for and what we’re expecting to see is an increase in the number of placements needed.

“Across the UK there is a constant need for new foster care families and this demand has only become more intense as one of a vast number of knock-on effects that the virus is likely to have.

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“We’ve seen tremendous efforts across the UK with more than half a million people volunteering to support the NHS. What we hope is that as people start to think about how they can embrace their caring side after the pandemic, they consider opening their home to a young person in need.”

Kibble has set up a virtual system for the ongoing support it provides its foster carers as well as its recruitment and training processes, with secure lines set up to continue the provision of its Intensive Fostering Service (IFS).

Mr McMillan added: “It takes a special kind of person to be a foster carer. Our carers come from various walks of life and we provide an incredible amount of support and training along the way, but the one thing they all have in common is the want and need to give a young person a chance at life.”

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