A wide number of themes were explored at the recent IFCO Foster Care Conference. This is the first of a series of pieces that follow up on some important topics aired at the conference. All are central to the ongoing debate focusing on how best to develop international foster care provision. First, some background contact into IFCO and its aims and objectives.
International collaboration has to be the best way to ensure that moving forward, standardisation and consistency of approach, will lead to quality alternative family-based foster care across the world. This is IFCO’s remit and by facilitating global regional and national events, pressure can be maintained to ensure proper foster care provision remains high on the agenda of all nations.
Children represent the future, their energy, imagination and natural optimism are vital resources. All children deserve, irrespective of their circumstances, the right to contribute their potential to the future of the world. They can only do this if equal opportunity is a right and a reality. The seminars and conferences arranged by IFCO, provide a multi-cultural platform where foster carers, young people, social workers, researchers, academics, media representatives and policy makers can congregate and contribute. If there is a collective failure to invest in the futures of all children and young people around the world, it becomes a less safe place for us all. Radicalisation and rejection must be countered: this is best achieved by offering hope for each and every generation. In a different era, and challenging different dangers, the exhortation made by President John F. Kennedy in his famous Berlin speech, was that we should “lift our eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow.” These words resonate powerfully in the context of the goals of IFCO and all who work collaboratively to achieve them. IFCO has a history spanning three decades during which it has been a pioneer in advocating for the rights of children in care. Achieving excellence in alternative care, will require a continuing investment: this comes in many forms – the ideas, passion and vision of all who embark upon this mission.
Financial investment will also be called for – both from governments and organisations. It is in the spirit of this need, that Rainbow International is delighted to have made a financial contribution to support the work of IFCO. And through its ongoing work in India, Rainbow International will also be continuing its efforts to bring a global focus on the need to provide foster families for vulnerable children.
One of the key tenets contained within the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, is that the views of young people and children should be taken into account in any decision likely to affect their wellbeing or position in life. In recent years there has been a shift where research projects are concerned: the experiences, views and opinions of children and young people in care can positively inform both practice and service delivery. So the issue has moved beyond whether participation takes place, to one which examines how it is managed without their welfare being compromised. In a study conducted in 2007, the problem appears to turn upon the willingness of adults to involve children as opposed to the ability of children to become involved in the decision making process. In fact, just like adults, it emerged that children in the study demonstrated that they were prepared to be intelligent and active consumers of care services. Moreover, they indicated they were able to understand when their participation was appropriate and when it was not. Some degree of conjecture is permissible: what seems likely is that to improve participation, regulatory frameworks need to promote the importance of good communication. Best practice should then incorporate this within the guidelines that are produced. This is not just about establishing and observing management structures that facilitate communication in terms of the observance of meetings, contact numbers and written agreements. Rather, a ‘spirit’ of communication needs to be established. This is one that can exist within any defined management structure since it is about perception, involvement and attitude. Whatever the age of an individual, the desire and willingness to engage and communicate, can always be sensed. It most definitely does not occur within an environment of ticking boxes or achieving pre-conceived and measurable outcomes. After all, if the approach is wrong, all that may be facilitated by adherence to complex management structures, is the measurement of failed outcomes. In some countries; and this includes the UK, social workers have high case loads to manage. This alone can militate against the facilitation of effective communication. Why? Because time itself is a key element: it takes time to create trusting relationships and these are a pre-requisite for effective participation. There are real implications here for training and service delivery. Encouraging children and young people to participate, so they can help improve practice and outcomes, cannot be done in a ‘time poor’ environment. And as time moves at the same rate across the globe, these considerations will always pertain wherever the participation of children is being encouraged.
2018 could be the year you become a foster carer?
This year in the UK, there is a shortfall of 7,000 foster families. We need to place children from a whole range of different ethnicities. This means that whatever your religion, background or cultural heritage, you could be making a difference to the lives of some very vulnerable children. At this time, there are many teenagers who are desperate to find a secure and loving home: adolescence is a challenging time for youngsters – even when they are fortunate enough to have their own supportive family. Imagine what it is like to not have a family to depend on during what can be a confusing and difficult time. Whatever information you want before deciding to apply to be a foster carer, our team of expert advisors is here to answer all your questions. These are some of the questions we are often asked –
Approved carer? Foster with Rainbow!
If you already have a long term placement and have been thinking of transferring to another foster agency, this could be the time to take advantage of the benefits of being a Rainbow foster carer. We make the process trouble free and if you do transfer you will be eligible for our special
‘Rainbow Reward’ bonus. If you would like more information, simply phone 020 8427 3355 – or our national number 03303112845. Rainbow fostering
also pay a bonus of £500 if you are a foster carer and are able to refer a friend/relative to become a foster carer with us. Once their first placement has been made, you will receive your special bonus.
There is good news at the end of today’s foster care rainbow…we have finalised the design for the special awards we shall be presenting at this year’s Foster Carers Awards.
Catch up with our foster care news page
Visit our news page on the website: this provides the opportunity to find out all the latest foster care stories:
More mental health support recommended for foster children and their carers
November 7th, 2017
The Social Care Institute for Excellence has just launched its ‘Improving Mental Health Support for our Children and Young People report’. This contains expert recommendations (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK