A CHILDREN’S charity is appealing to North Tyneside families to help look after youngsters rescued from sexual abuse.
Barnardo’s North East is on the lookout for foster parents for children, some as young as 12 or 13, taken away from perverts out to groom or sexually exploit them.
The charity is to be part of a pilot scheme run by the Department for Education’s safer accommodation project.
Shirley Storey, a member of the charity’s north east fostering and adoption team, said: “We have so much more knowledge of child sexual exploitation, as a society, than we used to have, and it is a growing problem.
“It was hidden for a number of years, and the signs of sexual exploitation were often not really recognised when referrals were made for young people needing foster care placements.
“Now, everyone is much more aware of the signs and the issue as a whole. It is recognised now that very young girls, for example, coming into the care system are not having consensual sex with their boyfriends. They are being groomed and exploited.
“These young people coming into care need to be helped and given chances and opportunities to turn their lives around, preferably before they’ve gone down the road into drug abuse.
“We need foster placements for them which take them out of that environment, and often out of their home area completely, to give them the care, security, therapy and stability they need.”
If you think you might be able to oblige, contact Barnardo’s on (0191) 492 9000.