Finding more foster families for Dorset is making progress – but more recruits are needed.

It has been claimed that being able to attract an extra 50 could save Dorset Council more than £1.5million and reduce its reliance on agencies and out of county places. An independent fostering placement typical costs £30,000 a year.

The rising expense of fostering has made the county look, once again, at recruiting its own.

Cabinet spokesman for education and looked after children, Andrew Parry, told fellow councillors this week that the authority now had 428 young people in its care, some of them with complex needs.

To date the council campaign to attract more foster families had found 72 potential families, of which 21 had been approved, a rate much higher than the estimated one in ten at the start of the process. In addition 19 family or friends had been approved to foster a specific child, or children, usually related to them.

Cllr Parry told the council cabinet meeting in Dorchester on Tuesday that the recent ‘fostering fortnight’ in the county had used traditional and social media, posters and a range of other means to attract more recruits – and these were always needed because people did retire, or move away, or simply decide not to foster any more.

“There is a significant amount of work to do…there has been a lot of work to do and we hope to gain momentum as we move forward,” he said.