The Scottish Government will this week be urged to launch a national campaign to recruit foster carers amid concern that not enough people are coming forward to take care of children.
The plea will be made by Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale when she launches a report into how children are cared for in Scotland.
Her report, titled Falling Through The Cracks, will cite figures compiled by the Care Inspectorate which show there has been a reduction in new foster carer households from 464 in 2015 to 430 the following year, a reduction of 7 per cent. There has also been an increase in the number of foster households who de-registered. In 2015 there were 318 de-registrations, a number which increased to 382 the following year.
The Fostering Network estimates that Scotland needs an additional 550 foster families to bolster the 4,000 foster families who care for an estimated 5,252 children.
Dugdale said: “There is a shortage of foster carers in Scotland, and these figures suggest a worrying trend. Foster carers can provide stable and nurturing homes, playing a vital role in the lives of many young people.
“I have been examining what happens to care-experienced people when they turn 18, and too many are falling through the cracks when they enter adulthood. It’s concerning that foster parents receive only half the amount they do for looking after an under-18-year-old when they take on Continuing Care responsibilities.
“I encourage ministers to urgently launch a national recruitment campaign to address the shortage.”
The Scottish Government said it was undertaking a review of care allowances with CosLA and fostering organisations.