The State of Foster Care

Fostering Network's 2016 report...

I’m a passionate believer in the value of foster care.

In fact I think it’s the Gold Standard for helping troubled kids who can’t live at home.

Image courtesy of ©123rf/Kateryna Davydenko

So what sort of state is the nation’s fostering system currently in?

So, how’s fostering doing?…

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Why foster carers deserve more respect

And how the rest of us can give it...

Three quarters of children in the Looked After system are living with foster parents.

Foster carers provide this country with an unequalled service.

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Alena Yakusheva (adapted)

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Alena Yakusheva (adapted)

So why are foster carers not more respected?

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Family Contact for LAC Children

When enough is enough...

Do I believe in human rights? Absolutely.

Do I believe in parents’ rights when their kids are in care? Absolutely. But…

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Katarzyna Białasiewicz (adapted)

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Katarzyna Białasiewicz (adapted)

Are there times when parents’ rights should be limited and contact should stop? I believe there are.

Here’s why…

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Why foster care is the Gold Standard…

...for helping troubled kids to recover...

Troubled kids need help. But what is the best way to do this?

Image courtesy of ©123rf/Frenk & Danielle Kaufmann (adapted)

Image courtesy of ©123rf/Frenk & Danielle Kaufmann (adapted)

I’ve worked with kids in a number of roles, including: as a youth worker, a social worker, a case manager, a court officer, a therapist, as a YOT supervising officer and review meeting chair.

But I reckon there’s one approach, one role that beats them all.

Why foster care is the gold standard of child care…

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Why foster carers should have all the info on each child they look after…

Surely foster carers know everything they need to know before a child comes to live with them… Don’t they?

Well, no. Not always.

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Oleksandr Nebrat (adapted)

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Oleksandr Nebrat (adapted)

In fact, quite often they are not told key things that relate to safety.

Why we should come clean with foster carers…

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Why finger-wagging doesn’t work…

Worse than our shame at doing something wrong, is the knowledge that someone we care about is unhappy with us.

Parent telling off a child...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/_Ella_

This is the case with young people too. They know full well that they’ve done something they shouldn’t have.

But they also know that we, and others, are unhappy about it.

Why our unhappiness is crucial (& dangerous)…

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Foster care – agenda for change…

Today there are about 64,500 children being Looked After by local authorities in the United Kingdom.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/AlexRaths

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/AlexRaths

Some of these will be “in care” for short periods, whilst families push through their problems and the children can return home.

For some, their stay in the care system will be a lot longer.

Sadly, for a significant minority, local authority care will be permanent.

Why these kids need foster families…

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Myth-busting fostering & adoption…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/LisaValder

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/LisaValder

I met a woman the other week. She approached a stall I was working on; we were trying to recruit foster carers.

We talked briefly and I shared a little of my personal experience of fostering and adoption.

She and her partner had been through the whole shooting match of heartbreak that surrounds childlessness. At the end, she said they had no emotional energy left to adopt. It would all take too long and they just couldn’t face it.

What a great shame. Someone who really wanted children. Lots of children in need of families. But no happy ending.

Myths that spoil the happy ending…

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Kinship care: the abuse of grandparents?…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Stu99

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Stu99

One day, Rose received a phone call from social services.

They asked her a question. Could she look after her grandchildren as their mother was unsafe?

“Yes,” she said, “of course!” Which grandparent wouldn’t?

She became a “kinship carer.” Years later, she’s still a kinship carer…

Great for the kids, but what about Rose?…

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Looked After children – safe on social media?…

Thumbs up image

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/alessandroiryna

“He’s writing horrible things about me on Facebook…”

Sound familiar? I’ve spoken to two people recently who’ve had problems with children they look after being exposed to problems on Facebook.

Like any platform for communicating and sharing, Facebook is brilliant, but it has its perils.

This can be particularly acute when relationships are already a problem and where contact is limited. Like when children are in the care system or being looked after by kinship carers.

We are pretty hot on keeping our kids safe on the roads, from strangers, etc. But how about online?

Social media: keep the good, avoid the bad…

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