Fostering children is a journey for everyone concerned. Each foster carer will be creating a unique story…and it’s one that can last a lifetime. The issue of fostering children is presenting our society with real dilemmas: we live in a culture where many of us are conditioned to expect short term gratification – it is a generational issue, since the availability of more or less any consumer choice is both ubiquitous and instant. The rewards of fostering children are most certainly not instant: they are considerable, life changing and perhaps one of the most profound things a human being can do. But they are most definitely not instant. So here a special plea is made for the power of the oldest media that we have – the book. If a foster carer can inspire a love of reading, the young person in their care will be guaranteed a lifetime’s supply of different journeys into the world of their own imagination.
To read a book is a unique experience allowing for reflection and the digestion of ideas and concepts. It is an experience that creates its own pace, allowing the impact of the words on a page to work in the mind in a way that the information presented whilst ‘surfing’ the net never can. A web page will almost certainly be full of advertising – ‘pop ups’ and all manner of digital ‘hooks’ that can distract. A book is powerful precisely as it precludes distraction; it demands serious engagement and, if written about a subject such as how to foster, it will take the reader on a journey – albeit someone else’s, but, and here is the point, it will convey the lasting impression that fostering children will always be a journey. And it is this fundamental truth, that fostering children is a journey is what needs to be communicated. Today, there is an acute shortage of foster carers to look after teenagers and disabled children – anyone considering fostering children within these groups, should only approach fostering from the standpoint that it will definitely be a journey – ultimately a most rewarding one, but with plenty of challenges along the way.
It is refreshing to come across a recent piece written by Lynn Findlay highlighting the wealth of literature available covering the experience of people fostering children. This has resulted in the launching of the Foster Care Co-operative book group whose raison d’être is to promote “learning about fostering through popular non-fiction”. The aim is to direct people who may already be fostering; as well as those so important new people needed for fostering children, towards literature that ‘tells it as it is’. Foster carers write under a pseudonym meaning the identities of the children they care for are protected. Carers that record about real-life experiences are a relatively new genre in this area of non-fiction. And it is a self evident truth that they have inspired a new wave of experience-based writing.
Authors with direct experience of the UK foster care system highlight their experiences of fostering and residential care. What is revealed is the appreciation of their experiences; as well as reactions and feelings to the UK care system in general. Writings from social workers, who provide insights into the work of other care professionals who play a role in supporting a child living at home, are of great value. Some of the best writers covering subjects from the categories include Cathy Glass, whose book ‘Damaged’ draws on her fostering experience of more than 25 years; Rosie Lewis, whose first book, ‘Trapped’ is from a writer who has been fostering children for more than 10 years – during which time she has cared for more than 20 children.
Wanting to foster children – or young people? Then explore ‘Rainbow Rewards’
We are an independent fostering agency that will pay a bonus of £500 if you are in a position to refer someone to be a foster carer: you’ll receive the bonus once your referral has been approved to work with us and the first placement has been accepted. People who already foster, if they transfer to Rainbow, will also qualify for a special bonus: this will be a payment for foster carers who are already caring for youngsters on a long-term basis.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…we have had a great response to our Twitter campaign aimed at attracting followers from the literary world. The work of promoting literacy goes on…it is the fundamental life skill. We are currently working hard to promote literacy and there are some reading recommendations for children on our Facebook page – visit and scroll down: http://bit.ly/2csBXVd
More News if you foster – keeping you informed
We have a special news section on our web site. Here you will find the stories that are making the headlines in the world of fostering: simply visit http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK for regular updates