NINE more extra foster families will be able to look after children by the end of August, councillors were told.

The  good news from Powys County Council’s (PCC) Children’s Services comes at the start of the national campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until May 26.

But councillors want to know how the success of finding nine new foster homes stack up with foster care recruitment campaigns elsewhere in Wales.

On Tuesday, May 14, members of the health and care scrutiny committee were given an update on how the service is doing with “improving outcomes” for looked after children (in care.)

PCC has 246 children in care at the last count on March 31.

Strategic commissioning project manager Children’s Services, Ann-Marie Davies, said: “As of March 31 we had 71 generic carers offering 135 beds and 22 connected persons for children and young people living near family members.

“We’re hoping by the end of August we will have nine foster households to add to our current numbers.”

Cllr Susan McNicholas (Labour – Ynys Cedwyn) asked: “You mention that we have recruited nine new foster carers, so can you tell me how do we compare with other local authorities?

“I know we have difficulties with geography, but how do we compare to similar authorities?”

Head of Children’s Services, Jan Coles, replied: “It’s really difficult because all the benchmarking data that used to exist isn’t there anymore.

“Comparing ourselves across authorities has become really very difficult.

“What we are involved with is regional fostering arrangement, so we are working more closely with our regional colleagues.

“I don’t know how we compare with them, but I will happily find out.”

Ms Coles asked: “What would you like to compare?”

Cllr McNicholas, responded: “Numbers.

“Are we recruiting as well as other authorities?

“If not, what are we doing to change that?”

Ms Coles noted the questions to ask her regional colleagues.