Foster carers will be interested in research conducted by Stirling University. Their Permanently Progressing study reveals that over eighty per cent of youngsters entering Scotland’s care system have experienced significant abuse and/or neglect. This has to be extremely concerning as it is considerably higher than the figure that is given for the UK as a whole. This is recorded as slightly over sixty-five per cent of children coming into care being traumatised as a result of abuse and/or neglect. There is a growing understanding of the effects of trauma along with ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in terms of their long-term effects on children. And that these can impact on them throughout their school days. The research means we have to recognise that the impact of early childhood trauma can have lifelong effects. Trauma creates vulnerabilities and leads to disadvantages and this can be irrespective of the child’s placement type: returning home, moving into adoption, kinship care or a long-term fostering arrangement, will still see those adverse experiences that resulted in them being taken into care in the first place, continuing to affect children.
Adverse childhood experiences will result in the emergence of needs which can be expressed in a variety of different ways. This will all need to be identified and supported. Unsurprisingly, outside of the home environment, the place where children’s needs become visible is in the classroom. This will be something foster carers will be aware of. Social, behavioural and emotional difficulties can quickly become apparent when compared against peer behaviour. These are likely to be caused by a range of different reasons: the impact of early trauma, sensory processing problems or attachment difficulties. Particularly disturbing is the rise of children suffering the effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Care experienced children, foster children or youngsters who have been adopted, commonly have to manage the consequences of such issues. The Scottish government has recognised the unique challenges faced by this marginalised group of children by allocating additional funding. This is aimed at improving the educational outcomes of care experienced children and young people. This addresses the situation where all too often these children’s needs for additional support have gone unrecognised. More information on FASD can be found at https://www.surreyplace.ca/programs-services/developmental-disabilities/fasd-services/
It is encouraging that in Scotland that there is now a lively debate centring on the need for more creative and impactful practice able to make a real difference. Schools will be supported to become more trauma-informed and attachment-aware. Opportunities for the facilitation of outdoor learning will be increased. The goal here is to create learning environments that are more in tune with the learning needs of such children. These initiatives can only be welcomed by all this concerned with the provision of foster care – and, of course, the foster parents themselves.
Foster carers and adoptive parents in Scotland should make themselves aware of the upcoming conference ‘Thinking Differently About Education’. This is being organised by Adoption UK in Scotland. The conference will be chaired by Nicky Murray – the former headteacher of Burnside Primary School – renowned for implementing its ‘attachment-aware’ principles.
All fostering service providers – IFAs and LAs – as well as foster carers should benefit from the knowledge sharing that will proceed from this conference which will be taking place in Falkirk on Friday 6th December.
Being a foster carer means opening your heart and home to children in urgent need. they need a loving home because, for whatever reason, they cannot for the time being remain with their own parents. No two family situations are ever quite the same. Sometimes foster care is used by a local authority to provide a temporary solution – there might be short term problems in the family home that can be addressed quickly. Other children may need to be fostered on a long-term basis – perhaps until they are old enough to live an independent life.
Deciding to become a foster carer with Rainbow means you can be confident our experienced, helpful and knowledgeable team will provide support and guidance with every step of your fostering journey. You can contact us on 020 8427 3355 or 0330 311 2845 which is our National Line.
Ofsted has rated Rainbow as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas. This means that you can have complete peace of mind that all your needs as a foster carer will be met by us. The training and support we give are designed to enable you to meet the challenges of fostering as well as experience the rewards it has to offer. As a leading agency – established for over twenty years – we have the expertise to help our carers develop their professional skills and fostering careers. And there are different choices. You can specialise in fostering teenagers, parent and child, sibling groups or care for children with complex needs – in which case you will be trained to be a therapeutic foster carer.
When you first get in touch, we’ll spend some time having a friendly and informal chat. This is so you can learn more about fostering with Rainbow. It’s important we can get to know about you and your motivations to foster.
Rainbow now want to attract applicants in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire.
We are committed to providing as much information about fostering as possible. You will find many topics covered in detail on our website. And for fostering news go to http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/news/ We have many thought-provoking blogs – a suggestion: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/foster-care-teenagers-can-challenging/