The State of Children's Mental Health Services

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  • Social Work Network

‘State of Emergency’ in Foster Care As Demand Rises By 44%

The UK’s leading children’s charity, Barnardo’s, has reported a huge spike in fostering enquiries during the pandemic. There have been 2,349 referrals to their fostering service From March 1st - April 23rd 2020 compared to 1,629 for the same period in 2019.

In comparison the number of enquiries from people looking to become foster parents for the charity fell from 302 to 161 - a dramatic 47% drop.

The situation seems to be as a result of job losses, deepening poverty and worsening mental health all leading to family breakdown. Children are being increasingly exposed to domestic and sexual abuse during the crisis.

Uncertainty about the future and changing circumstances has also led to a drop in enquiries being made to the charity from people looking to foster. This means that hundreds of needy children are not being placed with a family.

Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, states[1] that “The Coronavirus pandemic has hit vulnerable families the hardest, with many reaching crisis point. This has created a state of emergency, as more children than ever need a safe and loving foster family, while fewer adults are coming forward as potential foster carers”.

He goes on to add that “If you’re over 21, have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child in need, please do consider getting in touch today.”

Barnardo’s works to change the lives of vulnerable children in the UK, helping thousands of families every year. Last year around 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

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