Haringey looks to be on course to miss two key targets to improve its fostering service, papers reveal.
The council is still placing too many of its looked-after children more than 20 miles away from the borough, and has fallen behind in its attempts to recruit more foster carers directly.
In October, 20 per cent of the 509 children in care were living more than 20 miles away. Haringey aims to have just 16 per cent of looked-after children outside the 20-mile limit.
The council is taking steps to improve the figures, and launched a huge drive to attract more foster carers, who would be directly employed by Haringey.
The authority set itself the target of recruiting 40 new, approved foster carers by the end of this financial year.
By October, it should have recruited 23 new foster carers, but so far, just 10 have been approved.
Cllr Liz Morris, children’s spokeswoman for Haringey’s Lib Dems, said the numbers were disappointing – and urged the council to act quickly.
“The Lib Dems have been calling for more local foster carers for many years,” she said. “It is very worrying that the council is so far behind its target for recruiting foster carers.
“Giving a local child a foster carer who lives in the borough can make a massive difference to a child’s life.
“It can mean avoiding big changes in children’s lives like moving out of the borough, changing schools and losing contact with friends and family.
“It also saves local taxpayers money as local foster carers are less expensive than agency fosterers and out of borough placements. The council must do more to recruit local foster carers.”
However, council officers still believe the target for recruiting foster carers is achievable.
“Fostering is a life-changing experience which can be extremely rewarding and make a real positive difference to a child’s life and that of the foster carer,” a spokesman said. “The council and Haringey Foster Care Association have been working hard of late to support more local people to become foster carers and we are confident we will achieve our target of approving 40 new fostering households by the end of March 2015.
“Over time this approach will enable us to place more children in homes within Haringey, providing more foster children with stable homes in the local community and saving money.”
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