Foster carers, and service providers, should know there is a new broom in town in the form of the incoming children’s commissioner. Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England. She will be launching a once-in-a-generation review of the future of childhood by the Children’s Commissioner’s Office. ‘The Childhood Commission’ has, we are told, been inspired by the ambition of William Beveridge’s pioneering 1940s report. This laid the foundations of the post-War social security system. ‘The Childhood Commission’ has promised to identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their full potential. They will then propose policy and services solutions – as well as develop targets by which improvements can then be monitored.
Foster carers and fostering service providers – together with all those with a professional interest in supporting disadvantaged children should welcome and support this commission. It has set itself the task of focusing not just on the problems thrown up by the pandemic, but on past policy shortfalls that have held many children back for decades. The opinions of foster carers will shed much light on this. For it is they who have been at the sharp end of dealing with the problems head-on of vulnerable children. Sitting at the heart of the commission; at least initially will be the single biggest consultation ever held with children in England. Not altogether unsurprisingly then, it will be going by the name of ‘The Big Ask’. Foster parents – all parents – can help their children or youngsters to get involved by visiting the dedicated site.
Children will be asked to give their opinions about how the pandemic has changed their lives for better or worse. That will include them saying what their aspirations are as well as what they think might hinder them. Children will also be asked what their home lives have been like as well as how their communities and the local environment can be improved. On a larger scale, they can say what they think about the world, its future – including the challenges they face.
This consultation is scheduled to begin after the Easter holiday. It will be advertised on social media, children’s charities as well as other media and communications channels. An online survey will be sent out to all schools in England as well as being posted on the Oak National Academy.
Because some children will be outside mainstream settings, they will be reached via CAMHS units and youth custody organisations. It is also intended that face-to-face interviews – as well as focus groups – will be held with children who are under-represented.
Rainbow are urgently looking for people to train to foster with us. There is something of a country-wide crisis in foster care at the moment. On 31st March 2019, there were some 44,450 fostering households and this represented a 2 per cent rise compared with 31st March 2018. The same period has seen a 3 per cent rise in the numbers of children being placed in foster care. Every year there is a shortage of foster carers. This year it stands at slightly over 8,000.
If you enjoy good health and might be looking for a new career path in life, then fostering might suit you. It has a great deal to offer: carers enjoy job flexibility and the chance to work from home. No daily commute or mixing with crowds at what is a worrying time for us all. You do need to be committed to providing the best care and emotional support for vulnerable children. Our foster carers are all dedicated to the idea of building their knowledge, skills and experience to be the best they can be. And we support their ambitions by providing high-quality training and a wide choice of career opportunities. Rainbow has been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted. We take great pride in this and in the work all our carers do supporting children. This means you can be confident that we will always do our best for you and your fostering family.
The children we are supporting in London, Birmingham, Manchester and in parts of Hampshire are diverse and of all ages. We need foster homes for teenagers, sibling groups and children with complex needs. We are also getting asked to provide homes for young mothers and their babies – known as parent and child fostering. Whatever path you take, you will know you are making a tremendous difference – possibly all the difference in the world – to children who need stability, love and a second chance.
You do not need special skills or qualifications to foster. You do need to have a spare room. Call us on 0330 311 2845 to find out more. If you like the sound of what fostering can offer, we can start the application process by contacting you over Skype. It’s very easy – one of our friendly recruitment advisors will give you all the help you need.
And in the words of one of our foster carers – now with us for over ten years:
“We never looked back after approaching Rainbow who gave us all the help and guidance in making such a life-changing decision.”
Another of our blogs covering a fostering topic:
As children and young people have returned to nurseries, schools and universities, it’s advisable to check the latest advice and guidance to stay safe and well. For the latest information
Contact details and for Rainbow Fostering Services can be found at http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/
Rainbow putting the focus on fostering.