Wakefield in need of more Asian foster carers

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Wakefield needs more foster carers from the city’s Asian community, it’s been claimed, after the council admitted it has failed to recruit as many as they want.

The local authority currently has more than 700 “in house” foster carers on its books, but needs more to meet rising demand.

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Figures show that people of Asian descent make up more than seven per cent of Wakefield’s population, but they remain under-represented in the local care sector.

The council’s corporate parenting committee was told that efforts to engage ethnic minorities in the fostering process had fallen short of expectations.

Children’s service manager Mark Nevill said: “More foster carers from the Asian community is something we know we are not as good as we should be, in all honesty.

“Our Asian community in Wakefield is getting more established and that’s a positive.

“It’s something we’ve tried to do over the years but we’ve not been as successful as we should have been.

“We are predominantly a white working class community – there’s no getting away from that.

“But besides our Asian community, we’re getting a small African community and an Eastern European community as well.

“We need to make more contact with them and we’d love to work with community groups as part of that process.”

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Wakefield East councillor Ros Lund said she was optimistic about the prospect of progress being made.

She said: “In my ward we’ve a very high population in the Asian community and in the Eastern European community.

“I feel the mosques are now becoming much more open (to fostering) to a degree.

“It’s something I think we can learn from other local authorities on.”

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The council is also planning to improve its accommodation for young people in the care system who are without foster parents.

Just short of one in 10 children in the care of Wakefield Council is sent out of the district because of a shortage of beds.

The local authority is in the process of increasing the number of communal properties available for children in care from five to 12.