As the UK’s leading fostering charity, the Fostering Network brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children. They support foster carers to transform children’s lives, and work with fostering services and the wider sector to develop and share best practice with a view to ensuring that all fostered children and young people experience a stable family life. Like us, they are passionate about the difference foster care makes. As a foster care provider, we therefore read with interest the Fostering Network’s response to the Children’s Commissioner for England’s annual Stability Index (see there response here).
The care system in which we operate has changed over recent years, as more and more older children and teenagers with complex needs have entered care with the result that fostering services up and down the UK have been highlighting the need for people with the right skills and experience to come forward to foster. The figures released in the report (see here) emphasise the immediacy of that need, as well as the need for the Government to invest in the children’s social care system in order to offer the right practical and financial support for existing foster carers who are looking after these young people with increasingly complex needs and traumatic backgrounds.
Three-quarters of looked-after children are in foster care, which we all know has the potential to transform the lives of children and young people, and the basis of that potential is stability. The Care Inquiry found that relationships are the golden thread that run throughout the child care system, so where a young person has a stable, nurturing foster home, they are much more likely to flourish; and we must remember that the vast majority of children in foster carer – tens of thousands of children – have this experience. However, the figures produced as part of the Children’s Commissioner’s Stability Index show that too many children, especially teenagers, are experiencing instability. This is often a result of a move of home or school, or a change in social worker.
At the Acorns, we work hard to ensure that our foster carers are properly valued, trained and supported in order for children and young people to receive the security, stability and support that fostering can offer. The stability of the placement is of paramount importance, which is why we undertake a matching process before a child is placed. Our comprehensive training and development programmes are also conducted to develop the carer’s skills, so we provide a higher quality package of care. Delivering holistic care packages that meet the needs of all our young people and financially rewarding our carers is all part of the package too.
Think you could help provide stability for a young person in need? Then please get in touch today.