Foster carers are like us all: seekers after truth and knowledge. And these can be pursued more easily when an issue or set of circumstances presents us with questions, conflicts and contradictions. Make any presumption of innocence that you like, and there will still be those convinced by the existence of base motives. To resist the clamour of the mob and thereby risk a descent into ochlocracy, we must rely on logic – the guarantor of dialectical respectability and ingenuity.
We are a long way from 5th century Rome, but we still have to guard against latter-day barbarians storming the gates of reason and moderation. We are all offended by the idea of mortality, certainly when it is far distant. But when beheld at no more than an arms-length; or as we are currently advised to postpone the potentially lethal effects of this virus by keeping to a distance of 2 meters, the danger is reason will desert us in the face of this scarier prospect. Many commentators unwittingly foster the notion that our body politic is at risk from unreasonable discourse – every bit as injurious as a virus – and we can now discern mounting hysteria. Which is itself the usual and understandable response to a global pandemic. At first, one is inclined to submit: fear and panic are as much a threat to reason as they are to supplies of hand sanitizers and toilet rolls. And who are we to hold accountable for the fluctuating states of nervosity the daily crop of headlines elicit? Why the media of course. Our fourth estate can be extremely illuminating, if often unconsciously so, in demonstrating the diminishing returns of ill-judged hyperbole. And to wit, it is now being suggested in certain quarters of the press there is a plot to erode child protection. And more scurrilously, the government is using coronavirus to cloak this nefarious project. The case this rests upon is the government’s removal or dilution of more than sixty legal protections for children in care – this without recourse to public consultation, or indeed parliamentary debate. Included in the cull are social worker visits, six-monthly reviews, independent scrutiny of adoption and foster care, fostering placements of children many miles form home, the notification of criminal convictions, and yet more. It has been reported that a single statutory instrument has been wielded to make approximately one hundred amendments to ten separate sets of regulations. The grim reaper, it appears, has far more in his sights than us mere mortals.
Foster balance and objectivity.
I have but one small wish of my own in this season of public and private concern. It is that we guard against always ascribing stygian and underhand motives to our political leaders. Especially at this time of national crisis. We are all likely to lose out if our collective common sense is unhorsed at this critical moment by the contagion of political opportunism in the media. But others, too, have their blood up, The charity Article 39 has threatened legal action in response to the watering down of regulations. And the new Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer has tabled a motion to scrutinise the changes that have been made. Amidst all these alarums and excursions, the government has responded by saying the changes made are temporary to the 25th September “unless extended.”
It has been taken as read by the prime ministers political enemies that coronavirus is a trojan horse which has been suborned into dismantling statutory protections. We are duty-bound to ask is this likely? A sense of apprehension is always likely to descend upon those who see venality in everything the government is doing. Although it was perfectly possible to record most of the prefigurations and likely consequences of the era of austerity, it was also possible to see misplaced suspicion quickly accreting. What we can all agree upon is that the situation we confront now, described daily as unprecedented, is certainly that. In such circumstances, mistakes will be made and it serves us all badly if nefarious intent is given by way of explanation. So before passing judgement, we must simply question the likelihood of a government embarked on unprecedented levels of borrowing to support wages, being the same one hell-bent on removing children rights on a permanent basis. Should we not take the government at its word when it says any changes made are temporary and time-limited? And that hopefully when the 25th September rolls around disagreeable changes will be ended and we will all be in a better, safer place.
This prime minister has a more controversial and personal style than perhaps we have seen before. And perhaps this is part of the problem. Certainly, he divides opinion. It’s certainly true
that much in the current crisis links the classical age with our own of digital modernity. It’s also true our prime minister has always lived a considerable part of his intellectual life knee-deep in classical references. More than any rival he has become the ne plus ultra of politicians given to classical quotes to frame contemporary issues. He will, consequently, be mindful of a much earlier epidemic: the plague that overwhelmed Athens in 430 BC and carried off Johnson’s hero Pericles. And it is tolerably well known that a bust of said hero adorns the prime minister’s desk. The parallels across the centuries are strange attesting to the enduring and unchanging qualities of human nature itself. Thucydides left us an account of the Great Athenian Plague recording human behaviour that could be base and contemptible contrasting with that which was selfless and heroic. Here we have cast our NHS and key worker heroes set against the panic buyers selfishly filling trolleys with toilet rolls and disinfectant. It is also remarkable that in Hippocrates we had the forerunner of the modern-day exponent of track and trace. It is recorded that his approach to recording the details and experiences of the victims of the plague was detailed and methodical. So, ironically, where this prime minister may be open to criticism is in not applying enough of his classical learning to the problem. His characteristic extempore approach to public pronouncements at the outset of the pandemic did certainly not mirror the studied methodology of Hippocrates. This; as far as the contemporary equivalent of contact tracing and mass testing we did not see until weeks into the lockdown had passed. And it is this that has made the prime minister a tempting target for an increasingly splenetic and philippic press. Whether you agree or disagree, the best position to adopt when so much remains uncertain is one of neutrality.
Foster with Rainbow – we’re still here for you.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause widespread disruption. Many of us continue to self-isolate, work from home, or support others who might be doing so. There will be uncertainty – both today and in the near future. One thing that you can be certain of is that we will continue being here for you. And that definitely includes anyone considering becoming a foster carer. There couldn’t be a better or more important time to act on that decision. This is because a significant number of the country’s foster carers are aged seventy or over. This places them in a potentially vulnerable group. And here are still over 60,000 children who are being looked after in the UK – with more coming into care.
As a large independent fostering agency operating in Hampshire, London, Birmingham and Manchester, our local team members will be there for you. They are dedicated professionals with years of experience. Rainbow Fostering was established in 1998 and has been rated ‘Outstanding” in all areas by Ofsted. We are responsive and able to adapt to these changing and unprecedented circumstances. We have taken steps to make sure we are able to support your application to foster.
Our expert teams of foster care advisors – working safely and remotely – are there to take your calls and answer any questions or queries you may have about becoming a foster carer. we have a wealth of information on our website as well as plenty that can be emailed to you. We can meet you ‘virtually’ via Skype to get your application underway. Give us a call today on 020 8427 3355 or use our National Line – 0330 311 2845 to discuss starting your foster care career today. You can also leave your details with a message and time for us to phone you if you prefer: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/
We encourage people to foster from all walks of life. If you’re married, single, female or male – a homeowner or renting, straight, gay, lesbian trans or bisexual – our recruitment team would love to hear from you. To foster with Rainbow there are some basic criteria to be met: you must be over 21, have a spare bedroom for a child, be resident in the UK or have permanent leave to remain. What’s most important of all, is that you have the interest and motivation to do your best and support the child or young person you are looking after.
And for the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus pandemic and how to stay safe, save lives and protect the NHS visit –
And for an interesting blog –