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Council / Councillors keen to keep fostering in housing policy

Lerwick Town Hall.

THE VALUE of foster carers and adoptive parents was raised at Lerwick Town Hall on Tuesday morning during a discussion on council housing policy.

Specific consideration of people who foster or adopt children and are struggling with their accommodation will be retained in Shetland Islands Council’s housing allocation policy after concern was raised by councillors.

Lerwick members John Fraser and Peter Campbell both thought that a plan to remove the section on fostering and adoption and amalgamating it more generally elsewhere in the policy would send out the wrong message at a time when the council is looking for more foster carers.

A refreshed housing allocation policy was brought to members of the council’s development committee, with a number of changes suggested in response to a consultation undertaken with tenants and applicants.

Previous policy assigned 40 points to applicants with fostering/adoption arrangements which could not be fulfilled due to their housing situation.

Housing manager Anita Jamieson said the points was a relatively low amount, adding that the council gets “very few” applicants eligible for fostering points.

But Campbell said he did not think fostering and adoption should “get lost” within the policy in other areas.

He said “we are all aware of the difficulties” in Shetland at the moment in recruiting foster parents.

“I think we should not be seen in any way to be discouraging this,” Campbell stressed.

An amendment from Fraser to approve the new policy but retain the fostering and adoption section was approved by councillors.

He said “as local authority we have a duty of care as a corporate parent to look after vulnerable children”.

The Lerwick North councillor said he hoped it could “encourage people to come forward and give up their time and give up valuable parts of their life, to provide a secure, nurturing home for vulnerable young people”.

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General Election - 12 December 2019