There are over 10,000 children in foster care but there is a huge shortage of foster carers throughout the UK. The National Fostering Agency has set up The Wish Tree Project, which hopes to raise awareness of the current situation in the UK.
The number of children entering foster care is rising with figures released by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services (CAFCASS) in January 2012 showed that care application were up by 10.5%, which translates as 795 applications for the period May to December of last year. These are the highest levels of applications made for these months ever recorded since CAFCASS was set up in 2001.
Statistics released by Adoption UK, concerning children in local authority care last year reveal that 48,530 children were in foster care, and only 2,450 children were placed for adoption (figures representative of year ending 3 March 2011). These figures reveal a decrease in the number of children being placed in adoptive families. Of the children in local authority care, 62% came to the attention of social services due to abuse or neglect.
The Wish Tree project allows young people to write down their wishes on a star and then hang it from one of five stars set up in a shopping centre. The trees were set up in Gateshead, Metro shopping centre from 2 – 9 of April. Over 600 wishes were collected and they now hope to launch the wishes on balloons in two different locations. They are hoping for Leeds Rhinos to launch one set of balloons and the other will be released at volunteer Luke Rodgers’ home, on top of a hobbit hole, similar to the one on Lord of the Rings.
Some of the wishes collected read; ‘That everyone finds a moment of happiness that even in the darkest hour can bring a smile’, ‘I wish that nobody could die’, ‘Safe arrival of our baby’ and ‘Daddy to come home’.
It would be great to see the Inspiring project come to York sometime soon.