'Few would care for disabled child'
The "odds are stacked against" disabled children in the care system finding a foster home, a survey has found.
Only a quarter of foster carers or those considering becoming carers would take a child with multiple disabilities and complex needs, while only around 50% feel they could care for a child with less complex disabilities.
The YouGov survey was commissioned by Quarriers, a social care charity, to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight, an annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and attract new carers.
Of the more than 1,000 current and potential foster carers surveyed online, 55% said they would consider looking after a child with a learning difficulty, while 51% said they would foster a child with a mobility disability. The proportion dropped to 40% for children with serious emotional or behavioural problems.
Liz Hamilton, fostering service co-ordinator at Quarriers, said the results were "disappointing".
She added: "Severely disabled children face extreme challenges every day of their lives and it seems so unfair the odds are stacked against those in the care system when it comes to finding a foster care placement. I would urge potential foster carers see past the barriers to ensure the hardest-to-place children get an opportunity to benefit from family life.
"Quarriers has decades of experience supporting birth families support their disabled children, and can use this expertise to offer foster carers a complete support network to ensure they have all they need to sustain a placement."
Exhaustion and not getting enough support were the main reasons given by potential foster carers unwilling to have a disabled child placed with them.
Quarriers said Scottish Government figures show that 5,023 children were in foster care in Scotland as of July 2011. The Fostering Network charity said a further 1,000 foster care families are needed in the country to cope with demand.
The YouGov survey found that people in southern Scotland were the most likely to consider fostering a child, at around 30%, and people in the Highlands and Islands are the least likely, at 13%.
14 May 2010