Recent surveys have shown that the current fostering system within the United Kingdom is under strain and is being held together only by the kind gestures and commitment of dedicated foster carers.
A huge increase in the number of children that are being taken into care is putting more pressure on foster carers, increasing long-term social and financial costs.
The survey, which was based on over 2500 UK foster carers, highlighted a number of alarming issues arising in the UK fostering system:
– The number of current foster carers who would recommend fostering to family and friends has fallen 11% in the last two years
– 1/3 of current foster carers felt social workers did not treat them as an equal member of the team
– 42% of current foster carers did not feel that their allowance covered the full costs needed to look after foster children
– 1/3 of current foster carers felt out of hours support was poor
– 31% of current foster carers explained they were never given the information needed about fostering prior to a child’s arrival
Each of these points are extremely valid and important opinions within the fostering community that need to be handled and dealt with in a sensible and efficient way. It’s common knowledge that foster care works and has done for many years thanks to the wonderful commitment and hard work of foster carers, social workers and others in the system. It’s important that we do not risk undermining any hard-won progress and achievements of fostered young people. This year, in particular, is very crucial for foster families in regards to the changes that need to be implemented.
Home education, relationships and general stability play a huge role in the outcomes of fostered children’s lives. Foster carers who are well supported and satisfied in what they do are an essential part of creating this stability for their foster children. The survey shows that there are insufficient foster carers’ finances, foster carers are not being treated as part of a team and are being refused training and support. Everyone within the fostering community needs to recognise the value of the work foster carers do; they are a key professional in the team that helps children in care.
If these issues continue to be unaddressed, many current foster carers will be unwilling to continue fostering and will not recommend it to others. This will, of course, hugely affect the recruitment of new foster carers and will increase costs through the decrease in the provision of foster care.
It is widely recognised that a family setting is often the best option for good foster care, and can completely transform the lives of children in care.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer or want to find out more information in regards to the current fostering situation, you can get in touch with a member of the Little Acorns team by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 01440 732010.