PEOPLE across the district interested in fostering are being urged to come forward as demand increases.

The easing of lockdown restrictions has seen a rise in the number of children entering local authority care.

But at the same time, there has also been a slight fall in foster carers.

Bradford Council welcomes enquiries from anyone but is particularly keen to hear from people who have fostered before, and may have decided to take a break.

During the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of children in the district entering care fell – however, the total rose last month. There are now over 1,200 children in care.

Meanwhile, the number of fostering enquiries from members of the public in the past three months dropped by nine per cent compared to the same period last year.

The council’s fostering assessment team has carried out 31 virtual home visits with potential carers during the lockdown period and online training has begun for some.

Keighley West councillor Adrian Farley, executive member for children and families, welcomed the move – but appealed for more people to consider fostering.

He said: “The council’s work recruiting, vetting and matching foster carers with children in need of care has not been halted by coronavirus or lockdown. Making sure the children in our care are placed in welcoming, loving homes remains a key priority for us.

“The coronavirus pandemic has placed an increased pressure on our fostering service, with some carers needing to shield or isolate and therefore unable to accept new placements.

“We have received over 115 enquiries from members of the public keen to help and support children during this time, which shows the community spirit that people in the Bradford district are known for.

“This is really positive, but we are still appealing for more people to come forward to help meet the anticipated continued rise in demand.

“We would like anyone who is interested in finding out more about fostering to get in touch if they think they can help.”

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