Urgent appeal to find new home for East Lancashire schoolboy

James's social worker Nazia Pervez. (S)
James's social worker Nazia Pervez. (S)

An urgent appeal has been launched to find a long-term home for a 12-year-old Lancashire schoolboy.

James (not his real name), was taken into foster care aged just four. He was placed with a foster family where he stayed for four years but his carers had to resign due to ill health.

James subsequently stayed with short term foster carers before being moved to a residential unit in Heywood three years ago where he is being looked after by specialist care workers.

James is now thriving at his school in Rossendale, he has made lots of friends, formed close bonds and, though originally from Huddersfield, has become a real part of the local community.

Sadly, attempts to find a suitable long-term foster family have so far proved unsuccessful. Unless one can be found locally, James could be moved away from the place he calls home, away from his friends and everything he knows.

James’s social worker, Nazia Pervez, said: “James is a lovely, engaging child; a natural performer with a great sense of humour who likes getting involved in day-to-day activities and experiencing new things. In his spare time he enjoys bike riding, going to cubs, dressing up and fencing.

“It is a sad reality that many children who enter the care system have experienced some degree of trauma and upheaval. James is no exception and, when he first came into our care, he’d been left with some emotional and behavioural problems.

“However, despite such a difficult start to life, being in a stable, caring and familiar environment has been instrumental in helping James to overcome most of these issues.

“There’s no doubt that James has come a long way, but he now needs help to continue on his journey. Indeed, keeping him close to what he knows will make a big difference to him and being able to stay at his local school in Rossendale will ensure that he can maintain that continuity in his life.

“His care workers have done an amazing job, but a residential home can never be a long-term solution and is no substitute for being part of a permanent family unit. Although James is anxious about moving, he understands that he cannot stay there forever so he now urgently needs a family who can look after him until he reaches adulthood or is able to live independently.

“Ideally he would be placed in a family with some experience of caring for children with complex behavioural needs and in a home where there are no other children, so that he can receive the one-to-one attention he requires. He would also benefit from a family that enjoys being around animals and doing outdoor activities.

“James is proof that with a little patience and understanding a child’s life can be transformed. He has so much to give and with the right family he can lead a happy and fulfilling life. I would urge anyone who thinks they can help to give James the start in life he deserves, to get in touch.”

Could you be the foster family that James is looking for? You would receive full training and support, including help with practical day-to-day issues such as transport and allowance.

Payment is negotiable depending on skills and experience and would also include a percentage of a disability living allowance.

To find out more contact Nazia Pervez or Catherine Hill in the fostering team at Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire on 01484 221000. You can also email: nazia.pervez@kirklees.gov.uk or catherine.hill@kirklees.gov.uk