One in ten foster children in St Helens forced to move home

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Council chiefs in St Helens have welcomed new figures which show the borough is bucking the national trend when comes to looking after foster children.

On average, one in four foster children were forced to move home more than twice last year but in St Helens, that figure rose to just one in 10.

Figures released through a freedom of information request, revealed that 37 of a total 390 foster children in St Helens had to move more than twice between April 2014 and March 2015.

A St Helens Council spokesman said: “These figures reflect the hard work that our dedicated team of foster carers provide to ensure that children remain in a family environment for as long as possible.

“We have a strong emphasis on placing children and young people with extended family members who may wish to become kinship foster carers – and offer help and support to them in order to achieve this.”

Charity Action for Children submitted Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities and is warning that too many children in foster care are still being disrupted by repeated moves to new homes.

The charity has launched an appeal to find thousands of new foster carers to help provide the best homes for vulnerable children at the earliest possible opportunity.

It says that children and young people who regularly move between foster care homes are more likely to have poor social skills, reduced education outcomes and limited future employment prospects.

This in turn can impact on their mental health and exacerbating any existing behavioural and emotional issues.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “Sadly we know that it can be necessary to move children from their current foster homes as relationships between a carer and child can break down, especially for children who have faced the most traumatic experiences and find it hard to trust someone new.

“However, too many children in care are still facing instability in their lives. That’s why we urgently need more dedicated foster carers to help children and young people overcome trauma by helping them to love and trust again, feel safe, rebuild their sense of worth and belonging.”

In July, a report was submitted for council bosses which recommended what action needed to be taken to help prevent disruption in the lives of looked after children.

The report stated that 43 foster children had moved home more than three times in the last year.

To find out more about being a foster carer visit actionforchildren.org.uk or call 0845 200 5162.