Bid to increase minorities in foster care

Robert McTighe

EDINBURGH council launched an initiative yesterday aiming to increase the amount of people from ethnic minorities working in foster care.

The initiative was launched as there are currently very few ethnic minorities working as foster carers. Another aim of the initiative was to make sure that children from different religious, cultural and ethnic groups were looked after by foster carers with similar backgrounds.

“We need lots of people from various backgrounds and different walks of life to become foster carers to be sure that the service reflect the cultural make-up of our society.” Said Councillor Marilyn MacLaren , who is the City Children and Families Leader.

Andy Thomson the team leader for foster care for Edinburgh council said “3% of Edinburgh is an ethnic minority, there should be equal reflections of ethnic diversity in the city.”

The push to have more ethnic minorities in foster care is part of a much wider campaign by Edinburgh City Council to attract people in to foster care as there is a severe shortage of foster carers in Edinburgh, where more are required to provide children with safe homes.

There are 300 foster carers in Edinburgh with 500 children in care, “We need to increase our supply as demand increases, we want to stay as a local resource for local children, we want people to return home and children stay in Edinburgh so they can stay in school” Andy Thomson said.

The campaign to increase awareness for the need for foster carers has seen a variety of methods used with high profile adverts on radio, in newspapers and television adverts on STV during peak viewing hours such as during the X Factor.

Cllr MacLaren said “Our foster care team are working hard o encourage more people to become carers and this campaign will highlight the benefits that support from different cultural and religious backgrounds can provide for a child.”

“A carer can have a huge impact on a child’s life, improving their confidence and helping them towards a happy future –it’s a very special role.”