More drug users’ babies in care

The number of babies being referred for temporary foster care in Edinburgh because of parental drug misuse has doubled in the last year.
Edinburgh City Council said the statistics showed that the capital was in “desperate need” of more carers. An appeal has been launched to encourage more people to help care for vulnerable babies.
The plea was made at the launch of a training DVD to help people looking after vulnerable babies. Some 99 babies under six months old were referred for foster placement in 2008, double the number in the previous year.
Fifty of those babies were referred before they were born and two thirds of all the babies were suffering from the effects of alcohol or drug addiction as a result of the mother’s addiction problems.
Growing demand
Those babies often suffer from a range of physical, cognitive and emotional problems and need extra care. Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, Edinburgh City Council’s leader for children and young people, said: “The city’s foster carers are dedicated people but the problem we have now is that there aren’t enough carers to meet the growing demand.
“We want the people of Edinburgh to know that a wide range of people can be foster carers. Whether you are in your 20s or your 50s, in a couple or single, you can apply as long as you’re committed and are willing to help a child who has had a tough start in life.”
Ms MacLaren said the increasing number of cases meant social workers were stretched and services could not be sustained or improved without adequate investment.
“It’s a vicious cycle. If we don’t have the resources to tackle the problem at its source then we will see more vulnerable babies,” she added. I’ll be approaching the Scottish Government to ask them to revisit the issue and to take action because if things don’t change, the lives of vulnerable children will get even harder.”
Source: BBC NEWS: go2009/03/26 /pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7965526.stm

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