Fostering children requires knowledge of online safety 3

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Fostering children requires knowledge of online safety 3

Foster carers and online safety 3

Foster caring and online safety 3

Fostering children requires carers to have the confidence to deal with a whole range of situations. Some can be anticipated and others not. All will require a response. In this series of blogs, we are looking first at online safety starting with sexual abuse. It is common for parents, as well as foster carers, to wonder when abuse comes to light, why a child didn’t tell them. It’s easy for them to think this is their fault. But it is important to understand it is normal for children to conceal or delay telling anyone. This can be for a variety of reasons. The most usual is the feeling of embarrassment or shame. A recent report produced by the Office of National Statistics revealed this is the most common reason for not disclosing in 58% of cases. Some children fail to recognise they are being abused. Being groomed before any abuse starts can make them feel what is happening is normal. When a child begins to feel worried, it’s easy to see this might be a difficult subject to raise and it can be hard even finding the right space. Another reason can be the fears that go with people finding out – and not just their parents or foster carers. The following is a list of thoughts children are likely to have. Appreciating these makes it clear how difficult it can be to admit to abuse taking place.

  • No one will believe me and nothing will be done.
  • I might be seen as being different.
  • I don’t want social services or the police to know as I might be taken away from my home.
  • I will be blamed – it’s all my fault.
  • This will cause problems for me in my family.
  • I could have problems at school.
  • I don’t want the abuser to get into trouble (this happens if the abuser is a family member, relative or family friend).
  • The embarrassment will be too much as I know nude pictures I have shared will be found.

Fostering children: getting the response right.

When a child or young person discloses to a parent or foster carer it can be seen what a difficult step this might have been. Giving full recognition to this is important as it should prompt the right series of responses. There is research that highlights that the initial response should be supportive. This can help a child to disclose fully and is the start of them being able to move on from abuse. The fostering training carers receive stresses how important this first response is. Having a supportive mindset will prevent a judgemental or angry reaction: abuse is never the fault of a child. 

It can be extremely difficult controlling your responses. Apart from giving that all-important support, a parent or foster carer can make things easier for themselves if they concentrate on the most important objective which is to help a child move on. Thinking this way will give rise to responses that will help and reassure a child. These are creating a safe and private space for a child to talk; show that you believe them; allow time for them to find their own words – don’t attempt to fill silences and awkward pauses; they might want to write some things down so have a pen and paper available; don’t ask ‘closed questions’ – ones that can be answered only with a yes or no; give child-led support – it helps to provide a plan of support by talking with them about the strength they have shown and different kinds of support they will get such as ChildLine and the Mix.

If you are a parent or are fostering a child who has disclosed, proceeding in this way will help you to cope better. When sexual abuse comes to light it can be a traumatic shock. Remember there is a wide range of support services. Foster carers will be supported by their agency or local authority. There is a wide range of counselling services available including the NSPCC helpline.

Remember: child sexual abuse is a crime whether past or current and should always be reported to the police. The number to call is 999.

Join our Rainbow Fostering family and change lives.

Established for over two decades, we pride ourselves on the high-quality support we give to our foster carers. Everyone at Rainbow Fostering is focused on the wellbeing of the children on our care. We work alongside for local authorities across London, Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire. The professionalism and motivation of our team and the way we support our foster carers and their placements have been recognised by Ofsted. Rainbow has been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’. We have streamlined our application process to enable us to continue recruiting foster carers through the lockdown. Our initial ‘home visits’ are being conducted over Skype. It’s very easy and we can help you set this up in a matter of minutes. You can be Approved to foster within 16 – 18 weeks and start making a much-needed difference.

Eligibility for fostering.

Fostering is open to people who are (over 21) married, divorced, single or cohabiting. You can foster children or young people whatever your sexual orientation, ethnicity or cultural background. There is no upper age limit to being a foster carer. You should be reasonably fit. You do not have to own your own home.

Fostering is something some people find to be incredibly rewarding. Many children coming into care exhibit particular emotional and behavioural needs. They may have suffered trauma,  abuse or neglect. Security and stability may be unknown to them making them mistrustful. They may have had several homes or experiences frequent and chaotic moves. Foster carers – perhaps you – can make the difference enabling a child to overcome past negative experiences and start to flourish.

Fostering a career people can still apply for despite the current lockdown. So are you at cross-roads in life – perhaps looking for a new direction? For the right people fostering can meet all their needs as they meet the needs of others. Work from home and receive a generous allowance. We provide all the support and training you will need – just what you would expect from an independent fostering agency rated ‘Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted’.

Call us on 0330 311 2845 today. We know our children need warm, welcoming, nurturing and supportive care – and that’s exactly what our foster carers can expect from us too!

And today’s recommended blog can be found at:

Please make sure and check the latest advice and guidance to stay safe and well – visit – Everyone remember: Hands, Face, Space – protect the NHS. Rainbow putting the focus on fostering.

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