George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, spoke in a debate on looked after children recently in the Scottish Parliament. The debate centered on the ways in which the Scottish Parliament as a whole can work together to improve the lives of looked after children.
George said, ‘On 31st October this year, Renfrewshire had 765 looked-after children, 321 of whom were in accommodation. It looks like we will face an on-going situation of looking for permanent families for 50 children at any given time. The problem is that it is difficult to get foster parents. No matter what local authorities do, it is difficult for them to get people involved in fostering. I believe that the best people to sell the idea of being a foster parent are foster parents, because they can tell others what they have gained from the experience.
‘Members of staff in Renfrewshire Council, who are ably led by the director of service, Peter MacLeod, are motivated to succeed in this area. In the first half of this year, the council managed to get 13 children adopted into a home—a significantly higher figure than the previous year.
‘One thing that has become clear is the tremendous work of people in social work departments across the country. They deal with difficult situations in their job and work with families to get the best for them. I am extremely pleased that we have had such an open debate, in which everyone has agreed that we have to deal with the situation.
‘It is important that we get this right and that we all take our role as corporate parents seriously. As corporate parents, we are not just the parents of our own flesh and blood, but the parents of every child in Scotland. Much work has been completed, but we need to achieve much, much more. We all know the social benefits to our country of getting this right. If we do not, we will create future problems—and future debates—for ourselves. All strands of government can work together to ensure that we provide every child with a secure upbringing and a chance to prosper.”