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Foster Carers.. Why are they so Important?



There are 87,000 children in care homes in the UK and with children coming into care at a rate of one every 22 minutes, the foster system in Britain is at breaking point. Right now, 62,000 children live with foster carers and at least 9,000 more foster homes are needed immediately.

Number of foster homes on the increase

The case of Baby P, who died after suffering 17 months of abuse at the hands of his at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's brother, has meant that local authorities are acting with much greater speed to remove children from potentially dangerous family situations. 

In addition to authorities being more vigilant, the global economic recession has contributed to an increase in the number of family breakdowns, which could explain why more children are finding themselves in care homes and living with foster carers than ever before.

Fostering solutions

So what are the fostering solutions available to help ease our creaking system?

Provision of foster care relies on people from all walks of life and all backgrounds offering a supportive home to a child who is no longer able to remain in their birth home.

Fostering can take many different routes, and it is up to the fostering agency or local authority and the potential foster carer to arrive at the solution that works. Some children will need long-term foster care, while others will need support for just a few days, before returning to their birth family.

A foster carer becomes part of a support team around the child; other members of the team include the social worker, health workers and education officials.

Who can foster?
  
On paper, most people can foster. Religious beliefs, culture and sexuality will not prevent you from fostering, although every effort will be made to place children with carers from the same cultural or ethnical background.

Age is not a barrier: legally you can become a foster carer from the age of 18, although most authorities will stipulate you be older. You can even be retired - the only stipulation is that you are healthy and able to cope with the demands of being responsible for a young person. 

You will need to go through extensive checks to ensure that the home you are offering is one that will give a child a stable, supportive and safe environment in which to grow. 

Becoming a foster carer is not always an easy task. You may be dealing with children who have complex issues and difficulties and may well have been raised thus far with very different values and had different cultural experiences.

Preparing for fostering

If you feel that fostering is for you, then it is advisable to establish a network of support by telling your friends and family all about your fostering plans. 

If you already have children, then talking them through every stage is vital so they feel fully involved - but enlist the support of the wider family, too. There may be times when you will need a supportive shoulder of your own to lean on.

Fostering is a noble profession. And if it’s something that you feel drawn towards, simply click here to find out more about the process and begin making a difference in the lives of children in need of support, today.

2 comments

  1. I know so many people who foster and it is such a challenging yet rewarding thing to watch x
    Beautyqueenuk xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful post! We live in the U.S., but fostering is something my husband and I would really like to do in a few years when our kid (s) are out of the baby phase. Great things to think about.

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