Thursday, 22 December 2011

Fostering

Lots of media coverage of fostering this week after the Fostering Network highlighted the need for more foster carers. I found the item on Woman’s Hour particularly good. As well as Helen Clarke from the Fostering Network and Children’s Minister Tim Loughton, the programme featured a young woman called Claire, who spent all her childhood and teens in foster care. Her testimony was powerful. With forty-two different placements in her early childhood, she felt keenly the absence of a loving home and family. School life was hard: she was always trying to hide her situation from everyone. When she was nine or ten a social worker told her that by the time she was in her teens she would be like every other foster child, on drugs and pregnant. Luckily, Claire was eventually placed with a wonderful foster family that provided all the understanding, support, stability and love she needed. She is now a great advocate for the fostering system.

The Fostering Network itself and all the other agencies involved in fostering have all seen a huge upsurge in enquiries this week as a result of the call for more carers, so hopefully some of the shortfall will be rectified. I am so impressed with foster carers. I have met lots over the years, principally because of the training I give for carers and others on looked-after children’s reading. I always come away from courses and meetings awe-struck by their dedication and care.