Headlines: December 18th, 2003

Social workers from Blackburn with Darwen Council have broken new ground to become the first to advertise in the agricultural press to find foster carers.They thought the magazine ‘Farmers’ Weekly’ more usually associated with advertisements for farm machinery or fertilizer could be the perfect place to advertise for a foster family for a boy in the council’s care.Senior Social Worker Karen Wardle said staff believed the 11-year-old would be happiest living on a farm. He had found living in residential care very confining and it was important that he was found a foster placement that would give him the best opportunities to develop.

Councillor Maureen Bateson, the Borough Council’s Executive Member for Social Services, said original approaches were the key to delivering more cost effective services for the taxpayer and better care for children.

A spokesman for the Social Services Department said they did a great deal of work to find foster families and had used a range of publications but he believed the council was the first to turn to ‘Farmers’ Weekly’ in this way. Karen Wardle said the advertisement had brought a number of positive responses and staff would be talking to those families soon. In the meantime the success of the venture means it has already been decided to run a similar advertisement in the magazine again in early January.