In this year of the national fostering stocktake, there will be many view and opinions expressed from the ‘fostering establishment’. But If you talk to most people in the general population about their ideas of what it is like to foster, probably their likely reaction will be fostering is a confusing world. It doesn’t touch upon the lives of most people. It is important now – especially as there is a current shortage of over 9,000 foster families – that foster care is paced front of mind. The costs of failed futures is enormous. Children who have been in the care system are disproportionately represented in the prison population. We, as a nation, spend hundreds of millions of pounds on care services and yet only 6% of looked after children and care leavers in England progress to higher education as compared to 40% of the population at large.
Rainbow are an (IFA) independent fostering agency, and our first task when we are contacted by an applicant is to deal with confusion and mis-perception about foster care as quickly as possible. Our goal is to maintain the enthusiasm of any new applicant, whilst giving them a realistic picture of what foster care involves. As an agency, we are hugely encouraged by the fact that 90% of people who begin the full assessment with us, stay the course and become foster carers. The remaining 10% is made up of those who make the decision they are not suited to becoming foster carers, as well as those that fail to become approved. This statistic is extremely positive – and we are justifiably proud – as once the commitment has been made, the applicant(s) are likely to progress all the way through to becoming approved to foster care. It is necessary to understand what drives this statistic for it ultimately means adding to our pool of available carers. The answer is simply the close support that we provide: the idea exists that if you foster, it can be an isolating experience. This could be a potentially huge disincentive for applicants to come forward. It pays dividends, therefore, to make it clear from the initial enquiry, that we will always offer the best support available, and that this will be on a 24/7 basis. Support also means taking account of the career ambitions of our carers. We support all carers who wish to build their professional skills so that can go on to look after children with complex needs or a disability. Rainbow offer an extensive range of up to date high quality training courses. These are delivered in a relaxed, friendly and stimulating environment by some of the best foster care trainers in the industry.
Delivering fostering services effectively depends upon the support of all stakeholders. Our collective goal is to achieve the best in terms of outcomes for our children as well as our foster carers. To do this, we have to think about what support actually means – as it can mean many different things at different times. There are the day to day routine contact calls – clearly important; but then there is a valuable premium on being able to provide applicants and carers alike with access to a friendly and vibrant support network. Membership of this is of particular significance regarding the retention of carers. When carers feel that they are part of a wider community that is proud of its team ‘spirit’, they feel a genuine sense of ‘community’ belonging.
In 2017, over 9,000 new foster families are still needed across the UK. The situation is still one of shortage – there is a particular problem finding people interested in wanting to look after teenagers.
The same difficulty exist finding carers who will care for sibling groups. Placing siblings together within the same foster family can be far from straightforward. Brothers and sisters may already have various relationships in place. Some get on well together and are keen to be together, some others do not, and jealous tendencies are not uncommon. Children from sibling groups can present a particularly wide range of needs, which some carers can find hard to meet. At Rainbow we ensure that the support we provide families who care for sibling groups is second to none.
At some point in the fostering process, carers may feel that they have taken on too much – especially if they are caring for a sibling group – it is easy to feel overloaded with the responsibilities and demands that are made. This can be the first stage of stress, our social workers are trained to recognise this may be happening and are always on hand to organise additional support. One of the many treasures at the end of our Rainbow, is the love and care needed to know when anyone in our community of carers needs extra help.
Good news at the end of our summer rainbow…A big thank you to all our followers on Twitter who have helped us maintain a focus on fostering in July. Don’t forget to continue following us!
A ‘Rainbow Rewards’ care bonus scheme to consider!
Rainbow Fostering urgently need new carers! We are happy to pay a bonus of £500, if you are a carer and in a position to refer someone to become a carer. After the first placement has been made – following your referral – we will pay you a bonus. Are you already an approved and experienced foster carer with a long term foster placement? Then we’ll certainly make it easy for you to transfer to us: and if you do, you will also be in a position to qualify for a bonus. Rainbow Fostering are always happy to provide information on a whole range of fostering topics – such as foster carer requirements, how to become a foster parent uk? Can I claim benefits if I become a carer? Are payments for foster care taxable? Call one of our specialist advisors on 020 8427 3355 if you want to move forward into fostering.
Rainbow fostering: news about the issues affecting foster care
Long term foster placements coming under pressure
August 3rd, 2017
There is now a rising incidence of long term foster care placements breaking down. The main reason that is given is the failure of Social Services to meet the needs of the placement. This has meant that in certain instances, children have left long term placements to go into residential care. This trend seems to be on the increase across the United Kingdom. Too often carers have to fight to access services for their foster children. Having success is dependent upon how much support and time they get from their local authority social worker (cont) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK