Foster carers and adopters are desperately needed in our region to throw older children a lifeline.
Nottinghamshire County Council are making a plea to potential families to step forward with predictions of shortages over the next year.
As well as older children, they want people to consider giving a home to more than one child so that siblings don’t have to be separated.
Coun Kate Foale who leads on children’s social care at the council, said: “The stark truth is that the proportion of children being adopted drops from one in three when a child is age four or younger to one in 15 when that child turns five.
“One of our biggest challenges is also being able to keep brothers and sisters together when they’re placed.”
The council expects to approve 60 new adopters this year – double the number it recruited two years ago. But with 75 children expected to be put forward for adoption this year, it still needs more adopters to keep pace.
There are currently 847 children in care, a figure which has doubled since 2008.
One success story is that of 19-year-old Naomi Maher, who has been living with the same foster family John and Eleanor Morrison in Mansfield for nearly 12 years.
She is due to begin an economics degree this September, and says her family has given her vital support and stability, particularly through her teenage years.
Naomi: “I was placed with the Morrisons when I was eight, but moved between foster families four or five times before that.
“For me, being settled with one foster family for so long has given me that all-important stability and understanding I needed as I moved from puberty to adolescence and had issues about my birth family to work through.
“I’ve been able to develop a really strong bond with my foster carers and genuinely feel part of the family.
“I realise that a lot of people thinking about fostering or adopting want babies or toddlers as they see them as a blank canvas, but with older children there’s the opportunity to offer guidance and support at other critical stages of their lives.
“I’d also urge adopters to consider taking on siblings so brothers and sisters don’t have to be separated. It might be daunting, but from a child’s point of view, having a brother or sister is part of who you are: your identity.
“I’m lucky because even though my brother was adopted, I still have a lot of contact with him and we’re close, but not everyone in my position will be able to have contact with their birth family.”
To find out more call the 0845 301 8899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288.