Neil McMillan, Executive Director Community Services at Kibble
Specialist child and youth care charity, Kibble, has found that foster carer enquiries have increased by 225% since the Coronavirus pandemic began, signifying a brighter future for many young Scots.
Kibble, which offers an Intensive Fostering Service (IFS), issued an urgent call for more foster carers in Scotland last year to help support young people and families who would be negatively affected by increased levels of trauma, financial turmoil and poor mental health as a result of the pandemic.
Since April last year, the charity’s fostering service has seen a 225% rise in foster carer enquiries, which is an all-time high YoY increase for the Scottish charity, and is thought to be partially reflective of the major uptake in altruistic work by people throughout the UK.
This boost also comes at a time when it is expected more foster carers than ever will be needed to help cope with the impact of the pandemic on children and families throughout the country.
Young people have been highlighted as one of the most adversely affected groups of the pandemic, with school closures and isolation creating additional challenges and exacerbating mental health issues.
Concerningly, young people from adverse backgrounds and low socio-economic groups are thought to be disproportionately impacted due to living through stressful and traumatic circumstances.
Specialising in the care of young people who have been through trauma, Kibble’s foster services will be bolstered by the high number of new carers joining its thorough training programme. Furthermore, it is hoped that the increase in foster care enquiries will lead to more people from a range of backgrounds taking on the role of a foster carer at this crucial time, bringing compassion, understanding and solidarity to those who need it most.
The charity’s fostering service was launched in 2004 and provides safe, caring homes for children and young people from the age of five who are unable to live with their birth families. Many of the young people have experienced trauma and/or neglect, and because of this have struggled to settle in previous care placements before coming to Kibble where they benefit from a trauma-informed and therapeutic approach to care.
Kibble provides an intensive service that meets each young person’s individual needs by providing a person-centred care plan and support system made up of their foster carer, key worker and qualified therapists.
Neil McMillan, Executive Director Community Services at Kibble, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that so many have reflected on the pandemic as an opportunity to become a foster carer. The past year has been extremely challenging for many young people, and they will need a sense of stability more than ever.
“Our foster carers come from various walks of life and that’s something we not only support but encourage. The one thing which they all have in common is their desire for giving a young person a safe, loving home and we would urge anyone considering foster care to reach out for more information.
“The support provided through our service is over and above a typical foster care placement and we make sure to meet regularly with foster carers and young people, ensuring successful placements where the young person and their foster carer are comfortable and well supported.”
In addition to the existing Paisley base, Kibble has recently announced the opening of a new premises in Hamilton, which will provide round-the-clock support and a welcome hub for local young people and their foster carers.
Neil McMillan says: “We’re delighted to be expanding geographically, allowing us to welcome foster carers from further afield into the team and increasing access to the on-call support available to our current foster carers based in the region.”
Find out more about Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service by visiting: https://www.kibble.org/services/intensive-fostering/