Foster care is likely to be increasingly in the news – especially when the majority of children return to school this September. The signs are worrying. Only in the last few days, it has been reported that Kent County Council is anticipating an increase of 250% in the numbers of referrals they handle. The corporate director for children and young people – Matt Dunkley – stated –
“What we are looking at is a huge surge in September in children needing to be seen, families needing to be assessed, when they are at the end of their tether after six months being locked down or being out of the eye of their school…that leaves us with a huge budget problem.”
Setting aside the financial costs; which will be considerable, the problem many authorities will face will be having enough foster carers to deal with what could be an explosion in demand. More than ever, agencies like Rainbow Fostering, need to recruit new foster carers. Many think the country is facing something of a crisis. And children, the most vulnerable, are facing the brunt. Just under 2,500 children have been hospitalised in the first six months of 2020. This is a consequence of having shown signs of malnutrition. And this is double the number compared with the same period in 2019. There is now widespread concern that the coronavirus pandemic has increased pressures on families that were already facing difficulties providing food. Following requests for Freedom of Information from around fifty Trusts in England – representing one-hundred-and-fifty hospitals – it has been revealed over 11,500 children and young people have been admitted to hospital suffering the effects of malnutrition since 2015.
Layla Moran MP, the Liberal Democrat leadership contender, has registered her shock at the figures stating –
“These figures shocked me and make me angry that in Britain, in 2020, people can be hospitalised due to malnutrition. We need to move forward and create a system of social security that helps everyone and makes sure no one goes hungry in our country.”
These kinds of news stories seem to belong to another era altogether. One that Charles Dickens would recognise. The challenge of finding new foster carers and articulating the differing needs is going to become increasingly important in the coming months.
The anticipated demand for fostering households is going to be unprecedented. But it has to be remembered that there still remain particular categories of placement that urgently need to be addressed.
Fostering teenagers and young people.
The teenage years are a time of great change. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood presents emotional challenges. Worries about identity and being accepted are typical of the teenage years. It can be challenging finding people willing to foster teenagers. Often there is a lot of baggage. But providing a positive role model for a young person dealing with the complexities of growing up, can be extremely rewarding. Someone caring for a teenager can very quickly see the kind of valuable difference they are able to make. People who have had professional experience working with young people often make exemplary foster carers for teenagers and young adults.
Fostering sibling groups.
Keeping children together can mean protecting relationships that will be lifelong. One of the things that is often said about fostering siblings is that you get an ‘instant family’. In some ways that’s true, but there are still unique challenges when it comes to providing foster care for siblings. When children can be kept together it usually makes it easier for them to settle into a new home. This does to a certain extent depend on their relative ages. Siblings who come into care will have had a shared experience and the importance of that cannot be overstated. They have a bond: foster carers who play a part in preserving that are
Parent and child.
Clearly providing parent and child foster care will call upon particular skills and life experiences. This is one particular area of foster care where being able to call upon the experiences of looking after your own children from birth will be helpful – but it’s not essential. This kind of fostering placement is unique: the carer has to provide practical and emotional support for a young adult – as well as ensuring care given for the baby will meet all its needs. This means striking an important balance. This is all about enabling the young parent to develop the instincts and abilities to care for her/his own child. It also means the parent and child foster carer is required to make a continuous assessment of the mother’s – sometimes father’s – parenting skills. All too often these are almost non-existent or minimal. So this means the role of the foster carer is very much concerned with transferring knowledge, whilst being able to assess how well the parent is learning to respond positively to their own child’s needs.
The assessment made by the carer is fundamental to the placement and the primary aim is to help the parent to recognise need to place the baby’s needs above their own. And this will mean learning to be organised and responsible: making sure important appointments for the baby – such as with health visitors – are always kept.
Join Rainbow – you can become the difference!
Why choose Rainbow? There could be a great many reasons why Rainbow could be the best agency for you. We’d certainly like to think so. The following are some of the reasons we think we would be a good choice. And we never forget you have a choice. Firstly, we have been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted. This means you are assured of a high level of support with plenty of varied training opportunities. Our professionalism, expertise and care mean we take great pride in best practice – along with investment into the professional development of our foster carers and staff.
Our highly professional and experienced staff are skilled at developing therapeutic courses which deepen understanding of childhood trauma. Fostering can be challenging but our foster carers are empowered to succeed and develop their careers for the betterment of all. We care for our carers so they can provide the best care for the children and young people they look after. We need individuals who are committed to sharing their lives and supporting children – many of whom are traumatised when they arrive in care.
There is no upper age limit to being a foster carer. You will need to be reasonably fit to cope with the demands of caring for a child. Carers can be any gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. They can be married, cohabiting, single or divorced. You must have a spare room for a child or young person.
Fostering career opportunities in Rainbow Fostering London; Rainbow Fostering Birmingham; Rainbow Fostering Manchester and Rainbow Fostering Hampshire. Simply Call our National Line 0330 311 2845 to speak with one of our advisors.
Please visit our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page. A lot of general information about fostering can be found on our FAQs page below – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/frequent-asked-questions/
And for a general blog on a fostering topic –
To make sure you remain safe visit the government site below for the latest advice and guidance – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus