The last blog – as part of the background to Rainbow International Fostering’s initiative in India – looked at the way family structures have been organised in India. Most families have been organised – as the benefits have long been considerable – into the ‘joint family’. This has provided a robust framework countering the need for private fostering agencies on a widespread scale. Put very simply, the demand/need for fostering has not existed on a major scale. But this is changing quickly due to the powerful economic and demographic forces that are reshaping Indian society. India is a young country: more than 40% of the Indian population is aged between 14 and 25. This younger generation is more likely to form the type of ‘nuclear’ families – where children live only with their parents. Such families are far more prone to circumstances that can result in children suddenly finding themselves alone and needing a foster care. The need is growing, but can it be met? Analysing this question means paying attention to the importance of economic change and its importance in facilitating the growth of an affluent middle class. It will be from this group that private fostering agencies will, in the medium and long term, be targeting their efforts to recruit.
The paradox is clear: as the economy develops it will mould families and family life. Rising prosperity – leading to improvements in living standards generally, will mean more people will be in a position to foster. This could, over time, trigger a growth in the number of private fostering agencies. And this is why it is timely to create a robust standard model for the arrangement and delivery of foster care services. Starting with a blank page and incorporating best practice from a country such as the UK, means the most efficient model can be implemented.
Certain conditions need to prevail for the creation of a vibrant fostering sector. The signs are auspicious: India’s economy is positioned to take-off: there are a number of encouraging factors – GDP is rising and the rate of inflation is the lowest it has been for a number of decades. The World Bank is currently predicting that by the end of this decade, India has the potential to be the world’s third largest economy. It is the potential development of a middle class in India that has so much significance. Globalisation has brought benefits to India’s consumer class which comprises the top 20% of wage earners.Their prospects, in terms of income and job security, have seen marked improvements. The poorest people have also benefitted from various government programmes and initiatives. Such positive effects have had less impact of the great swathe of Indians forming the group known as Middle India. This is the 60% of Indian families in the middle income group. It is this band that will ultimately form the ‘middle class’ of the nation. They are the greatest in number and most likely to be where the foster carers of the future will be drawn. Their circumstances and prospects are key considerations. Today, ‘Middle India’ still struggles in terms of generating income: around 28% report having enough income to comfortably meet the basic needs of their family. But, and this is significant, this group is rapidly gaining grounds in terms of education. They are aspirational and confident – they also feel resilient and self-reliant. Although they may not be experiencing the income levels of a true middle class, this itself could be important. Fostering could offer an income stream for many who would relish the idea of being thought ‘professional’ in practice and outlook. Consequently, new private fostering agencies could potentially have large numbers of applicants. And with high levels of support and training – people likely to be well motivated – fundamental to fostering children successfully the world over. It will be motivated, well trained and properly resourced foster carers who will ultimately deliver positive outcomes for the children and young people in India.
The right kind of support from the government for this proto-middle class will be essential. It will drive real economic growth if it can catch the tide of globalisation. A growing and prosperous middle class is crucial for the economic strength of any nation. And the proof: according to the Pew Charitable Trust, the global middle class spent $33 trillion in 2015 representing two-thirds of the world’s consumer spending. A vibrant and dynamic fostering industry can make an enormous direct contribution to the economy, as well as caring for the nation’s most important resource – future generations.
Keep our ‘Rainbow Rewards’ in mind
You might know someone giving thought to fostering children right now – or fostering babies? Rainbow is a fostering agency providing a wide range of high quality fostering services. Our latest incentive scheme will pay you £500 if you can refer a friend. The money will be paid over once that person has been approved and had their first foster child placed with them. And, any existing foster carer thinking of transferring to Rainbow Fostering Services will also receive a bonus under our scheme. This will be a £2000 bonus once approved for carers who have children already placed with them on a long-term basis, and £500 for any foster carers who do not have children placed with them. As an independent fostering agency we plan our Rainbow Rewards to certainly be worth considering: Interested – act now: call our fostering recruitment team on 020 8427 3355 for more information.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…you can now refer to details on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/2csBXVd for the latest in our fostering news – all about our exciting winter competitions. And they all have great prizes to be won.