Foster carers are a mixed bunch. This means they are a good reflection of society at large. Their passion and opinions vary widely. It’s what makes working with such a group of people vibrant and interesting. The same is true of the professionals who work in fostering services. But social workers, recruitments teams and foster carers all share one thing in common: the drive to support and do their level best for vulnerable children and teenagers. And this commitment means they are sensitive to the wider fostering landscape. This means the issues of the day that have a direct, and sometimes indirect impact on this shared objective will give rise to comment. This is to be welcomed as it is the sign of real engagement. We expect our foster carers to be vocal advocates for the children they look after. This means keeping up the pressure and contributing to the general debate.
Thanks are due to our foster carers and their friends who have taken the time to point us in the direction of a topical issue or simply emailed us with their thoughts. As you would imagine – being Rainbow – we sometimes attract colourful opinions. Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality and the views expressed are personal ones. All are welcomed as they inform the ongoing fostering debate in this country; hopefully always a lively one! This helps to keep fostering high on the public agenda to focus on what matters most – giving the children we care for the support to succeed.
I have been fostering for a number of years now with Rainbow Fostering. I, like many others I suppose, was attracted to foster care by the desire to care for children in a vulnerable state. It seems unimaginable that in the 21st-century children are going hungry in our country. I feel particularly sensitive over this issue. And why? Well, if you’re a foster carer you get quite pre-occupied with food. That’s because when a foster child is first brought to your home, food can be that very first bridge into their world. A lot of the children we have looked after have arrived hungry – especially if they have been an emergency fostering placement. Disoriented, children are often reluctant to talk about themselves when they first arrive. But that first simple question “what would you like to eat – tell your favourite meal?” is often the way of breaking the ice. It draws out that first response on which, hopefully, everything else is built on. I am sure this will strike a chord with most foster carers. And so, probably, will the current debate on free school meals. It has been disturbing to read in the press that poverty campaigners estimate that 1 million school children have signed up for free school meals for the first time.
What has intrigued me is that it has taken the footballer Marcus Rashford to bring about such a change of thinking with his campaign to end child food poverty. And then I read that in this country we waste a huge amount of food. It is shocking to discover that it’s estimated that nearly 10 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually – food is just thrown away – and that seventy per cent of this could have been eaten. What staggered me is that it has a value of over £20 billion!!! Such a sum would go a long way to feeding all our school children – certainly the ones that qualify for free school meals.
I think this pandemic will have made people rethink a great many things. One of them should certainly be how we manage a precious resource like food. Foster carers like me have a good understanding of just how many vulnerable children there are out there. We shouldn’t as a society tolerate a situation where children are going hungry when so much id going to waste.
Name changed to protect privacy
Rainbow: the fostering agency that cares for its children by caring for its carers.
Foster a child and you’ll certainly know what a challenge is! But then that’s what’s so rewarding about fostering. Doing something that really makes a difference. A foster child will depend on you to give them the care they need to flourish. Foster carers up and down the country are making huge improvements to the lives of vulnerable children and young people every day. You could be one of them.
Call us on 0330 311 2845 Or you can leave your details online and arrange for us to call you back. We welcome everyone irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, gender identity, race or religion. As we are in the midst of a pandemic we have streamlined our recruitment processes and are holding online interviews via Skype. Easy to set up – we’ll do it for you: one of our recruitment team will guide you and then be available to answer any questions you have. If you then decide to go ahead and we are in agreement, the process of becoming an ‘Approved’ foster carer takes around 16 – 18 weeks. All applicants have to complete the standard ‘Skills to Foster’ course – a basic introduction to fostering.
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As children and young people have returned to nurseries, schools and universities, it’s important to check the latest advice and guidance to stay safe and well. Make sure you regularly
visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus All our agency contact details and office locations can be found via the link below. If you prefer, you can leave your contact details and arrange for a member of our team to call you back at a time to suit you. We look forward to hearing from you soon! And remember Hands, Face, Space. http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/