There are now many issues attaching to fostering children that need to be firmly on the public agenda. And the list, it seems, continues to grow. Private fostering agencies have to be aware of every risk to the well being of children: new threats have to be brought to the attention of carers – and those interested in becoming foster carers. And this, for all private fostering agencies, often means the provision of additional training and support. The latest concern is the looming epidemic of obesity that could soon overwhelm our health services. Or mean that the resources available for other health conditions are squeezed beyond measure. People need to be aware of the profound implications for the provision of health care that are likely to affect us all, if the issue of obesity is ignored. Projections have been modelled which suggest that the indirect costs of obesity could be as much as £27 billion in 2015 – the cost to the economy of people being overweight and obesity, was estimated at £15.8 billion per year in 2007. These are eye watering sums of money – so it is strange that the impetus for changing attitudes seems to be being led by a celebrity chef.
Jamie Oliver has recently heavily criticised the government’s decision to pull back from using regulation to combat the risks of overeating. The current government strategy fails to limit the advertising of junk food, or impose a ban on the heavy promotion of sweets at supermarket checkouts: anyone fostering children, will like all parents, probably dread the ‘challenge of the checkout’. But there has to come a point when the pursuit of profit, has to be balanced against the health of the nation. We have a particular responsibility to children, as they are unaware of the long term consequences of a very poor diet. And when poor eating habits become established, there is much to suggest they last for life.
Jamie Oliver, the campaigning chef, is to be admired since he has been consistently campaigning for good nutritional habits. His 2005 Channel 4 television series ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’, began to bring the subject of good nutrition to the attention of the nation. This means the topic has been an issue for at least a decade. There is, quite rightly, huge focus and attention on issues such as drugs, alcohol and child sexual exploitation. Certainly, these provide headline grabbing stories that shock the nation: obesity is posing huge risks, but the difference is one of time scale, with the effects showing up over the medium and longer term.
Private fostering agencies are likely to be aware that a group of foster carers has recently got together to form their own trade union. This would be the first ever trade union for foster carers: they are dissatisfied for a whole range of reasons, but fundamental to their grievances is the lack of ‘professional status’ that goes with the role of being a foster carer. Thinking about the current ‘crisis of obesity’, carers have a vital part to play in encouraging the health and well being of youngsters in their care. As government explores new ways of providing foster care provision, it is important they also pay serious attention to elevating the status of foster carers. There are so many issues relating to fostering – all providing opportunities to further ‘professionalise’ the role. The harsh economics of rising obesity levels are just such an issue: carers must be motivated to ensure youngsters are encouraged to form healthy eating habits. For more information about obesity, visit
If you have a spare bedroom and want to offer a child a future please contact us. With over 9,000 new foster families needed this year, we urgently need dedicated people to come forward to foster. Individuals who may have worked professionally with children can offer invaluable experience. As one of the leading private fostering agencies, we will provide outstanding training and support to anyone wanting to take up fostering.
Not all private fostering agencies are the same: Rainbow rewards
Our incentive scheme pays £500 to anyone recommending a friend to become a foster carer. The money will be paid as soon as that person has been approved, and had their first foster child placed with them. Additionally, any existing foster carer with another organisation wanting to transfer to Rainbow Fostering Services is also entitled to a bonus under our new scheme. They will receive a £2000 bonus after approval, for carers who have children already placed with them on a long-term basis and £500 for any foster carers who do not have children placed with them.
Call our fostering recruitment team on 0208 427 3355 for more information.
And the good news at the end of this fostering rainbow…as one of the leading private fostering agencies, we are delighted to have secured the interest of a major sporting organisation to assist us with our youth training opportunity programme.