England needs to find and train 7,000 new foster carers this year
That’s the message from The Fostering Network, who have just released new figures for the number of foster carers needed in the UK to ensure that every child in need of foster care has a safe, stable and supportive home with a foster carers that have the right skills and qualities to meet their needs.
The figures include allowances for the increased number of children being taken into care (1% in England) and for the estimated 12% of carers who leave fostering each year.
The shortage of foster carers has far reaching consequences for children in foster care, and not just for the ones that have to remain in institutional care homes rather than live with foster families. Without enough foster carers, children can often find themselves miles away from their home, birth family and friends, or living with carers who lack the ideal skills and experience to suit their needs, or, agonisingly, split up from their brothers and sisters. All of which can make the experience of being fostered even more traumatic for young people, and the chance of breakdown in the fostering relationship is more likely, which in turn can often result in emotional and other difficulties that persist into adulthood.
Although fostering agencies like Family Fostercare and local authority fostering teams succeeded in recruiting over 7,000 new foster carers last year, this does not always translate into improved chances for all children to find the right foster family. The shortage of foster carers is not just a numbers game. The make-up of the fostering workforce is a cause for concern too.
Young people come into foster care from all different walks of life, and from all kinds of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, and for a vast range of reasons. There needs to be a foster carer pool which is just as diverse so that there is every possible chance for fostering services to find every child the right home, first time.
Are you interested in fostering but think that you don’t come from the right background, or don’t have the right lifestyle to be able to foster? Please don’t rule yourself out. Call us or contact us today for a confidential, friendly and open chat about whether you could be eligible to foster.
Some 2,000 children with disabilities are living in care simply because their parents can’t fully meet their specific needs at home. More foster carers with the right skills, or prepared to develop the right skills, are needed for these children. There is a real need too for foster carers with the right skills, experience and commitment to give foster homes to young people, especially teenagers, with challenging behaviour. Around 38,000 (75%) of the young people living in care in England are over 10, and foster carers willing and able to look after these often damaged young people are desperately needed. The irony is that without enough foster carers around the country skilled and willing to look after children with challenging behaviour, they are more likely to experience a succession of failed fostering placements which frequently results in more behavioural difficulties as the young person suffers loss of self-esteem and of faith and trust in the care system.
Do you have the right skills or previous experience in working with people with disabilities or behavioural problems? Have you recently retired from the police, ambulance service, prison service, armed forces or other roles where you might have developed the right skills needed to foster more difficult teenagers? Please help us help them toward a better future. Call us or contact us today for a no commitment, no pressure chat about whether fostering could be for you.
Space & Time
Too many children (approximately 450 last year in England) have had to suffer the additional trauma of being split up from brothers and sisters when they have been taken into care. All too often siblings can find themselves living miles away from each other with different families. Witnessing the disintegration of families in this way is perhaps the most heart-breaking aspect of the current foster carer shortage, and more foster carers with sufficient space (bedrooms) and time to take sibling groups are desperately needed.
Does the thought of children being separated from their brothers and sisters affect you? Do you have enough space in your home, time in your life and compassion in your heart to help? Please call us or contact us right now to discuss how you could become a foster carer specialising in fostering sibling groups.
Robert Tapsfield, Chief Executive of the Fostering Network says:
“Children and young people come into care for a wide range of reasons, but all come needing professional, dedicated and compassionate support. Foster carers are remarkable people who open their homes to some of society’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people…. We urgently need people who believe that they have the right skills and qualities to foster to come forward and make a long lasting positive difference to the life of a child.”