Calderdale electors asked to back foster care

POLITICAL propaganda could soon contain free advertisements designed to persuade more Calderdale electors to become foster parents.

Calderdale Council has been on a mission to increase the number of foster carers since the Courier revealed that out of 100 inquiries last year, only one was actually appointed.

Children and young people’s spokeswoman Coun Megan Swift has come up with the new advertising strategy in response to the growing number of children in care and the increasing cost of looking after them.

She told councillors at their monthly meeting that there were now 365 children in care. Some were with foster parents and others were in care homes in and outside Calderdale.

“Since Christmas, we have had 90 inquiries from people interested in fostering, which is a good start, and we expect as many as one in 10 to be approved, but we need to do more,” said Coun Swift (Lab, Town)

She challenged all 51 councillors to try to recruit just one potential foster parent.

“It would also be helpful, if an advertisement could be included in every party’s forthcoming election leaflet.

“We are looking for people who can be special, young or old, with or without a partner. We will give them training, support and a payment of between £10,000 and £28,000 a year,” she said.

Children’s services in Calderdale have come under severe criticism from inspectors.

Councillor Swift said the improvement plan was now a “real and workable” document which is regularly updated and helps to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing to improve standards of care for young people.

An additional £2.5 million is due to be included in this year’s budget for services for looked after children.