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MORE than 40 young children in Wigan are in desperate need of a permanent and loving home.

But as the number of youngsters searching for a family are rising, the amount of adults willing to adopt is falling.

Now, in a bid to find families for the 43 children currently in foster care in Wigan, the Evening Post is backing a campaign by the WWiSH (Warrington, Wigan and St Helens) Adoption Service, to persuade more parents to come forward.

The crusade, based on the notion of providing a ‘forever family,’ follows figures released by Adoption 22, the North West consortium of 22 local authorities, which revealed a shortfall of 260 families for the number of children needing adoptive placements.

This has increased dramatically since 2009, when it was 61 families.

WWiSH currently has 63 children from all three areas, with the vast majority - 43 - from Wigan.

This includes 39 tots up to the age of three, 22 children aged between four and six and two over the age of six.

Not all youngsters needing a family are on their own, as there are 17 sibling groups of two and one sibling group of three.

Ten of the youngsters have disabilities, ranging from developmental delay, learning disabilities and behaviour problems.

Ruth Fitzgerald, team manager at WWiSH, said: “A lot of people think we don’t have babies available, but we do have children aged between six months and a year.

“We have children who want to stay with their siblings and youngsters who are disabled. We have children whose parents have a mental illness.

“We do find it difficult to place children whose parents have schizophrenia. It is all about giving people enough information to make an informed choice without being put off immediately.”

For WWiSH, finding the right family for a child is the paramount aim and Ruth is urging people to make a commitment to them.

Ruth added: “As social workers, we do get very emotional and can become very attached to the children,

“We do care and want to find families for them. We don’t want to see them spend the next 15 years on foster care. We want them to have families that will be with them through adulthood and beyond.

“We have a big adoption support service which provides financial assistance, group meetings with fellow adopters and families and advice.”

Help give a child a home, see the Wigan Evening Post (Monday) ...