A RECORD number of children have been put into care in Bolton following the Baby P tragedy.

Since Baby P died in August 2007 after months of abuse, and neglect, vulnerable children, classed as “looked after” have soared to 520 in the borough.

At the end of 2003 there were just 306.

There were record surges in the numbers of children being classed as looked after children between 2009 and 2011.

Town Hall chiefs admit there is a shortage of foster carers, particularly those who are willing to look after teenage children.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The increase in the number of looked after children is as a result of a number of factors and is in line with the national trend.

“There is an overall tendency for social work services and partner agencies to be more risk averse following the death of baby Peter. In Bolton our strategy is to ensure effective and timely intervention with younger children in order to promote legal permanence at an early stage when it is not possible for their parents to safely care for them for the rest of their childhood.”

This year 23 foster carers were approved, up from 15 last year.

Following a campaign there are now 141 mainstream foster carers along with 68 family and friends.

This is up from 120 mainstream carers and 50 family and friends last year.

A council spokesman said: “We have run targeted advertising campaigns in order to increase our number of foster carers for teenagers but the response has been less positive than we had hoped.

“We have been very successful in our recruitment of foster carers overall.

“We are delighted we have continued to recruit foster carers so successfully over the past 12 months and are very pleased the increase in the number of looked after children has been managed within Bolton's own foster carers.”

Bolton Council said it was improving the training programme, despite limited resources, which is “insufficient to meet the needs of fosters carers that require training.”