Child and youth care charity Kibble has launched an urgent appeal for foster carers amid concerns of an increase in the number of children going into foster care due to the mental health implications of Coronavirus.

The specialist care provider is anticipating a surge in the number of vulnerable children and young people coming into care during the pandemic as a result of trauma, financial turmoil and poor mental health. In preparation it has launched a foster care recruitment appeal to ensure safe, loving homes are made available.

Kibble is concerned about a reduction in child protection reports, with vulnerable children social distancing and no longer at school meaning they are not coming into contact with the professionals who would normally raise any concerns.

The Scottish Government’s Independent Care Review highlighted that not only will vulnerable children be impacted by poverty on a practical level but may also experience the negative effects of such stresses from parents.

It is thought that a significant increase in domestic abuse cases will occur as result of the current lockdown period, with the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, reporting a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day – with children and young people likely to be victims of such abuse.

Kibble has set up a virtual system for the ongoing support it provides its foster carers as well as its recruitment and training processes, with secure lines set up to continue the provision of its Intensive Fostering Service (IFS).

IFS was launched in 2004 and provides safe, loving homes for children and young people from age five who are unable to live with their birth families. Many of the young people have experienced trauma and/or neglect and as a result of this have struggled to settle in previous care placements before coming to Kibble.

The fostering service sits within a range of integrated services provided by the charity which includes education, therapeutic support, residential care and psychological and therapeutic support. With people across the UK showing tremendous acts of altruism during the pandemic, staff within the IFS team hope that people will consider a new role as a foster carer, reflecting their dedication to work within the care sector.

Neil McMillan, Head of Community Services at Kibble, said: “What’s important to remember is that while everything else is on pause, children and young people still need to be cared for and what we’re expecting to see is an increase in the number of placements needed.

“Across the UK there is a constant need for new foster care families and this demand has only become more intense as one of a vast number of knock-on effects that the virus is likely to have.

“We’ve seen tremendous efforts across the UK with more than half a million people volunteering to support the NHS. What we hope is that as people start to think about how they can embrace their caring side after the pandemic, they consider opening their home to a young person in need.”

“It takes a special kind of person to be a foster carer. Our carers come from various walks of life and we provide an incredible amount of support and training along the way, but the one thing they all have in common is the want and need to give a young person a chance at life.”

To find out more about Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service visit: https://www.kibble.org/services/intensive-fostering.

Pictured (top of page) is Neil McMillan, Head of Community Services at Kibble.