Foster carers are as you would expect naturally caring people. Once this pandemic is over the rest of the population will have been affected by notions of care and responsibility that would have been unimaginable a year ago. True, nurses and health professionals – like foster carers – will be caring people – by definition. But what of the rest of us whose daily jobs do not require us to think deeply about what it is to care. Caring is in some ways an abstract concept – unless applied to the particular – such as looking after a sick child or elderly relative. Coronavirus is having the effect of making us think about caring for our fellow man in ways that are perhaps unprecedented. This means we shall all be altered once this devastating experience is at an end. Our common humanity on a global scale is being tested as never before – as is our nerve: that winter cold presaged by a cough or sneeze will make certainly us pause for thought in the future. 2020 will be the year that seemingly innocuous symptoms were anything but.
For the lockdown to work we need to be compliant. This is not our natural state – just think about our usual reaction to the sight of a traffic warden. Worse, when we see a ticket on the windscreen who amongst us reacts cheerfully declaiming – ‘He/she is only doing their job’? And, ‘That’s what’s needed to keep the traffic flowing’. Returning to the present situation: scenes of panic buying and empty shelves show how blindly narrow our own sense of self-interest can be. But in stark contrast are the daily news reports of the heroism of doctors and nurses exposing themselves to high viral loads. And this often without enough or in some instances any (PPE) personal protective equipment. The nation’s foster carers are certainly heroes but so much of their work is done away from the media spotlight. This is not the time to point fingers. When the pandemic ends, rather than being concerned about overzealous policing and the temporary temporary desecration (tipping dye into Lakeland beauty spots to deter people travelling to them), many will be far more concerned by the failure of the government to report the findings of the exercise Cygnus. This took place in October 2016 and was designed to test the nation’s preparedness faced with a pandemic. And now we are, it seems reasonable to ask if the required lessons had been learnt? Infuriatingly, it seems not – certainly if judged by the current acute shortages of PPE equipment. It has to be pointed out that such exercises cannot be done on the cheap. In the months to come it will be the opinion of many that they are not worth doing at all. For the purpose of that exercise, the assumption behind the planning was that we were confronting the H2N2 influenza virus. That surely would have indicated the need for a plentiful supply of masks, and yet they have been in disturbingly short supply for NHS professionals dealing with coronavirus.
Foster carers will find themselves in an altered world.
What will the fallout be? Almost certainly that a parsimonious attitude to the material needs of those we depend on to deliver care will be unsustainable. The doctors and nurses are very much in the front line saving lives. Right now this is extremely visible. But all those foster carers the country relies upon are – and have been for years – saving the futures of vulnerable children. And in many cases their lives as well. But this effort does not have the drama and visibility that attracts the interest of a rapacious 24/7 media. Once this appalling pandemic is over society will be forced to think afresh about the meaning of care. If there can be, this should be at least one of the silver linings in the leaden clouds above our heads.
For the latest information on the pandemic visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus
You can still get your fostering journey underway with Rainbow using Skype.
The current pandemic is presenting difficulties for everyone. People’s lives are on hold but we want to encourage people who have been thinking about a career in fostering to apply to us. Our friendly and dedicated recruitment team are on hand to take the details we need to start the process. When the situation returns to normal we will be a significant way down the line in progressing your application.
Rainbow has been rated ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted. We are proud that this recognises the lengths we go to in providing the quality training and support to our applicants and foster carers alike. And this will continue throughout your career with us. We will strive to meet all your aspirations so you can give the best support to our children.
If you have made the decision to find out more about foster care, please contact us on 020 8427 3355 or use our National Line – 0330 311 2845. We’d love to discuss your plans for fostering. We are making online home visits possible for all our applicants. There is information available for this which we can send when you inquire. And please look out for us on social media and add hashtags #fostercare #fostering #children #foster parents when you comment.
Information is available on our website: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/fostering-and-birth-children/ And we would recommend this blog today – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/foster-the-belief-that-no-news-might-be-good-news/ Read our Frequently Asked Questions section on our website. It will pay dividends!