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21 September 2015, 05:53
One in every six foster child in Scotland moves home two or more times a year, according to new figures.
Action for Children said that 971 out of 6415 children in Scotland were in two or more placements between April 2014 and March 2015.
The charity, which obtained the figures under the Freedom of Information Act, is now calling for more people to come forward to help provide stable homes for foster children in Scotland.
It said that children and young people who regularly move between foster care homes are more likely to have poor social skills, reduced education outcomes and limited future employment prospects which may impact on their mental health and exacerbate any existing behavioural and emotional issues.
Carol Iddon, Director of children's services across Scotland, said: "For children in care, moving home is not just about leaving a house. It means leaving a family, friends, school and everything that's familiar to start all over again.
"It is impossible to imagine the damage to a child or young person, who has already had the toughest start in life, to have to move several times a year until they find the right foster carer who will stick with them through thick and thin. We know of children as young as four who have had to move three times in less than a year before finding a stable family home.
"Sadly we know that it can be necessary to move children from their current foster homes as relationships between a carer and child can break down, especially for children who have faced the most traumatic experiences and find it hard to trust someone new. However, too many children in care are still facing instability in their lives.
"That's why we urgently need more dedicated foster carers to help children and young people overcome trauma by helping them to love and trust again, feel safe, rebuild their sense of worth and belonging.''
Action for Children is looking for people across Scotland who can provide a secure and loving home to children who have experienced trauma and loss.
The charity said that lots of people can foster, whether older, single, co-habiting or married, male or female or in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, but foster carers must have a spare room and the ability to stand alongside children and young people to help them recover.
Anyone who would like to find out more about being a foster carer should visit actionforchildren.org.uk, call 0845 200 5162 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.