Back in November of last year we noted: with the shortage of people coming forward interested in child fostering becoming ever more acute across the UK, it will be interesting to keep track of the efforts that are being made to alleviate the situation. The shortages make the headlines but within fostering, there are issues that militate against successful outcomes for children placed in care. The Charity ‘Action for Children’ recently reported that one in four foster children have had to move home two or more times within the past year. This information came to light following a Freedom of Information request submitted by the charity. The figures are depressing given that stability is so important in relation to successful fostering outcomes.
Of the 64,372 children in care between April 2014 and March 2015, 22.7% were put into placement with a different carer more than twice. This is according to data released from local authorities.
The charity is running an appeal whose aim is to identify the best homes for vulnerable children and the message is centred on finding those foster parents who will for the children in their care, be prepared to “stick with them through thick and thin”.
The director of children’s placements at the charity, John Downing, said while it was “appropriate” to move a child in care, behaviour could also play a part in causing placements to “break down”.
At Rainbow Fostering we would support any move from any organisation geared toward maximising the longevity of placements. We place particular emphasis upon strategies for resilience in our Rainbow fostering training programmes.
So eight months later there are some very encouraging signs that within the fostering industry, initiatives like the Head, Heart , Hands programme being run by The Fostering Network’s will be making a big difference: https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/policy-practice/head-heart-hands
With recruitment of new carers into child fostering proving such a challenge, it is vital that the existing pool of carers is regarded as the most precious resource. So new approaches aimed at improving support, and perhaps revising the entire model of the way foster care services are delivered, have tom be taken seriously. This becomes even more important as child fostering will routinely be losing carers to retirement.
And the good news at the end of this rainbow…our Youth Participation Worker, Richard reported that our latest child fostering day out at ‘Kidzania’ was a great success and will definitely be repeated london.kidzania.com/