Foster Care Fortnight is the annual awareness campaign by the Fostering sector’s largest charity. It is now up and running and this year’s theme is ‘This is Fostering’. The campaign was originally established back in 1997. Its purpose is to showcase the passion, commitment and dedication of the nation’s carers. The campaign is also focused on supporting fostering services in their efforts to highlight all the different aspects of fostering. And just what a fantastic and positive impact it makes on the daily lives and prospects of some of the most vulnerable children in the country.
One of the most important aspects of the annual campaign; apart from talking about fostering generally, is to explain the different types of care that are in demand. At the current time, there is a real need to recruit more people to foster sibling groups, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, teenagers, parent and child as well as children with complex needs. As the campaign has been running for a number of years it receives a considerable amount of media attention. It is also extremely welcome that the campaign gets considerable backing from politicians and celebrities from across the country.
The campaign theme is ‘This is Fostering’. The idea behind it is to communicate just how varied and authentic are the contributions of people involved in foster care. As well as to convey just how fostering really does transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people. In the Charity’s own words:
“We want wider society to understand and value fostering and the positive difference it can make to young people’s lives. We hope this increased awareness will build support for fostering, challenge stigma surrounding children in foster care and encourage more people to consider foster care.
Ultimately we want to create the momentum for change, both inside and outside of the fostering community, that we know is needed to make foster care the very best it can be.”
Why people should consider fostering.
There are currently over 65,000 children in care and around 55,000 fostering homes in the country.
Every year more children across the UK need carers while they are unable to live with their own birth families. Amazingly, a significant proportion of the carers we have are aged over seventy. Many are retiring which means thousands of new carers are required even year. The annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign strives to get this important message across. And it needs to attract people from a whole variety of different backgrounds and with different life skills and experiences. Because there is now such diversity in fostered children, foster carers need to be found from all the different communities that make up society.
The vital role played by carers in our society has been set out by the chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams:
“Foster care transforms the lives of children and young people as well as those of the foster carers and their families. This has never been more important. Carers help children and young people flourish and fulfil their potential, as well as provide a vital service to our society. Because this happens mainly in the privacy of their own homes – especially at the moment – their contributions too often go unnoticed. Foster Care Fortnight is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the work of carers and their families as well as recognising how transformational fostering can be for the children and young people who need it.”
There is no doubt that the lockdown imposed during these unprecedented times will mean this year’s campaign will be like no other. The restrictions placed on social gatherings will mean the online environment will be more important than ever before. Everyone concerned with bringing the work of carers – as well as recruiting more of them – to the attention of the rest of us will be using the digital world with plenty of enthusiasm and ingenuity. This will make the campaign of 2020 one that will long be remembered. The pandemic has made everyone in the country much more aware of what it is to care. Never before have we had to think so much about the need to care for ourselves and others. Perhaps this will mean that more people will consider looking after children who do not have the good fortune of growing up in a secure, stable and loving home.
The next step in your fostering journey could even involve a friend or acquaintance!
It’s quite common that people who have been considering fostering for some time have friends or acquaintances who become interested in fostering as well. If that applies to you, we would be delighted if you could put them in touch with Rainbow because there is such an acute shortage of fostering households in the UK. If you refer someone to Rainbow who becomes ‘Approved’ with Rainbow, we will pay you a bonus of £500 when they accept their first placement from us. Rainbow is now recruiting in London, Hampshire, Birmingham and Manchester. It’s possible to become a carer if you are a British citizen or have permanent leave to remain in the country. And to become a carer with Rainbow, you must also be over twenty-one years of age. You will also need to have a spare room. You don’t have to be straight – you can become a carer whatever your sexual orientation. And we welcome people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds to take up fostering. You will need to be reasonably fit and very committed to supporting a child or young person through their education. Everyone at Rainbow cares passionately about making brighter futures for our children.
Remember this is #FosterCareFortnight please lend your interest and support in any way that you can!
To find out more visit – https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/get-involved/foster-care-fortnight For the latest information on coronavirus and how to stay alert, stay safe, save lives and protect the NHS you can visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus At Rainbow, we would always recommend that any applicant seriously considering fostering care visits our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page on our website to be found at – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/frequent-asked-questions/