Social support services in Dumfries and Galloway are struggling to cope with an increase in the number of children placed for adoption or foster care.
The pressures of the pandemic are still being felt and the council cannot meet all the adoption requirements or find enough foster parents due to the additional demand.
Despite increasing its foster care budget from £ 50,000 to £ 5.84 million in this fiscal year, a £ 288,000 overrun is already forecast as the social service desperately tries to find ways to relocate the children. children.
At the social work services committee today (Wednesday), Lillian Cringles, director of social work for the council, said: For many of our youth in the area.
“We have had an increase in intervention needs. We had to increase our placements in foster care and adoption.
“We had to increase our early intervention team and some of the support around it.
“We have been running a campaign to try to increase the number of host families we have in the area, but we are facing a challenge where other areas are offering much better conditions for foster parents to cater for. part of this request.
“So we had to call on larger national organizations to help us. What we’re trying to do is get this within budget, but it would be inappropriate of me not to raise with members the real challenge the service faces in trying to meet the dramatically growing demand. regarding all aspects of our service.
“We are working hard to bring the budget back to target, but I may have to come back and ask the members to approve that we use our contingency fund to stay on budget for this year.”
North West Dumfries councilor Andy Ferguson pointed out that the government recently announced financial support for health and social care services.
He asked, “When will we know what our share of this is and what its impact will be on the budget as we move forward?” “
Lillian Cringles replied, “It will be for adult services. Our biggest challenge right now is children’s services and some additional pressures on our mental health service within our justice teams.
She added, “In the past three or four years we have not received any additional funding directly for social work for children’s services.