A new promotional push to attract more foster parents is being prepared by Calderdale Council.
The council’s fostering service expects inquiries from families who believe they can offer a home to some of the borough’s most vulnerable young people will increase when it is released.
Calderdale Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Board were told about the upcoming campaign, moving forward one of ten recommendations the board made to the council in an action plan earlier this year.
A number of these have been completed and others under way.
Ultimately the aim is to increase the number of foster families, saving the council money if it has to buy less expensive out-of-area placements and allowing looked-after children to stay in their own area.
To do this measures including more promotion and more support for families who are considering fostering, including from experienced foster parents in a “buddy” system, are being put in place.
Another key component of the recommednations is attracting people who might otherwise not have considered fostering, including recently retired and jobless people.
Tackling the drop-off rate, higher than the national average at the moment, is also key, briefing documents to board members said.
Coun Amanda Parsons-Hulse (Lib Dem, Warley) commented on the latter aspect in relation to why people who had applied were not been taking on as foster parents, for example a reason she had been told had been given being because someone smoked outside the house, especially as the council needed placements.
She asked if there were national guidelines the council had to work to.
Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) asked for more detail about costs to the council of extra “in-house” services. Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab, Sowerby Bridge), Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said although there were capital costs for extra in-house places in Calderdale it would be money sent on an “invest-to-save” model.