Foster carers are to be paid more in Rotherham in a bid to boost carer numbers in the town.
Rotherham Council wants more foster carers on its books to look after local children and admits that its foster carers used to receive a 'significantly lower' allowance than those in neighbouring areas.
The lack of foster carers has meant local children in need of care leaving the area.
Deputy Council Leader, Coun Gordon Watson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “Our foster carers are real heroes and they need to be recognised for the brilliant work that they do.
“No one goes into foster caring because they want the pay, but if we are serious about attracting people to help us achieve our ambitions for this council, then we need to make sure we are the place of choice for people to come.
“We need to ensure all children who need a place in a foster home have access to one here in Rotherham.
"These children are going through enough issues as it is, and if we can lessen some of their burdens then we must aim to do this. If young people are able to stay with a local foster family then this gives them the chance to stay on at their own schools and with their friends, limiting the impact on their young lives.”
Foster carer and mum-of-four, Emma Darby, who is currently fostering twin toddlers, said: “This is a really great idea and one I welcome very much.
"Foster children have often been through quite traumatic ordeals in their short lives and so they need the stability a family-based foster placement can offer.
"It can be quite hard to go out to work as well, as you really need to be around to meet these children’s needs, especially the very young ones. An increase in the fee will help people overcome a barrier which just might have been putting some off.”
A six week consultation process is underway with current fosterers on what might attract more people.
Anyone interested in fostering in Rotherham should call 01709 823976.