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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Rise in number of Cumbrian children taken into care

The number of children being taken into care across Cumbria has risen dramatically in just 12 months.

Between April last year and the end of March this year, 120 children were taken into care in Cumbria, compared to 70 in the previous 12 months.

Figures are higher for the number of youngsters who were “looked after” by the local authority but did not progress into the caresystem and may have been placed back with their families.

It means there are now 600 youngsters being cared for by Cumbria County Council, an increase of 90 from 2010/11, according to the Department for Education.

But Cumbria boasts a higher adoption rate than across the country. The figures show the percentage of youngsters taken into care and then adopted inCumbria was 20 per cent, in the 12 months leading up to March 31, significantly higher than the 13 per cent nationally.

The figures were revealed after the county council launched a drive to increase the number of foster carers in Cumbria by 30.

They said they hadparticular shortages in the Penrith and Eden area and were this week sending letters to all homes in the area. Together with the leaflets, posters are going up in doctors and dentists surgeries and in shops.

Anne Burns, county council cabinet member for children’s social care, said giving children a safe and loving environment was the most important thing anyone could do. “It’s very worthwhile,” she added.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said it still took too long to get those whowanted to adopt and foster officially approved.

“The time it takes for a child in care to be adopted can be a significant period in that child’s life.”

Nationally there were 67,050 youngsters being looked after by English social services departments in the year to March, up two per cent. Across the country 3,450 looked-after children were adopted during thelatest 12 month period, the highest figure since 2007 and up 12 per cent on the 2010/11 figure.

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