Unfortunately, the numbers of ‘looked after’ children in England are currently over 72,000. The setting that best meets the needs of these children is foster care.

Foster care provides the family environment that gives the best chance of stability for children. This is true both for short-term placements while longer-term plans are put in place (such as returning home or adoption) and long-term placements (where a child stays in foster care until adulthood).

As it currently stands, we are deeply concerned about the future of care when we look at the numbers of foster carers. The numbers of available foster carers have been increasing over the last decade. This is fantastic news. However, the numbers of available foster carers aren’t increasing enough to meet the increasing demand.
The reality is that this isn’t just about the numbers. Behind the shortage of placements are individual children desperately in need of the right care for their needs. When viewing it in terms of individual children, we are keen to recruit increasing numbers of suitable foster carers. Every one matters.

Why do children come into foster care?

The reasons behind a child entering the care system are as diverse as children themselves. Each case is unique. However, there are some commonalities in the stories behind these children.

A larger number of children entering care do so due to abuse in their birth family. Children who have witnessed domestic violence, or been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, make up a large proportion of the children in care.

These children have all experienced trauma, and they are in need of a safe and secure home where they can be protected, heal, and thrive. Many will be part of ongoing investigations, and long-term decisions cannot be taken until these investigations are concluded. This means short-term foster care is the most appropriate option for them.

However, perhaps less understood are the children coming in to care due to neglect in their birth families. Neglect is a form of abuse, not always so easily understood. Children who have been neglected have frequently not had their basic needs met. They may have lived in a home environment where there was abuse of drugs or alcohol. They may present with attachment difficulties as a result. This is where our therapeutic fostering can really help to transform their life.

Even less known and understood are the other reasons why a child comes into the care system.

Children of parents who have been sentenced to a term in prison, and have no other suitable family members, will be looked after in the care system. It is also unusual, but possible that a court may determine that a young offender should be cared for in foster care in preference to institutionalised care, or the family home, in an attempt to minimise reoffending.

Parental death can again, unfortunately, lead to children coming in to care. This may be temporary whilst a family member or close friend comes forward.

It is also possible that children may need short-term foster care to provide respite for a parent if they are struggling with the disability needs of the child, or health needs of themselves.

In some situations, particularly in older teenagers, a young person themselves may request to be placed in a foster family.

Why is foster care the best solution?

Foster care is frequently the most ideal solution for adequately meeting the needs of all the children in the different categories detailed above.

Children need security and nurturing in a home environment where their needs are met. Foster care is most suited to providing this environment, particularly while longer-term arrangements are made. They provide a settled space where a child can recover from the reasons they have come in to care and face the future more positively.

Are all types of foster carers in short supply?

Different foster carers can provide different types of care and environment. For example, some will specialise with babies, and others may specialise with teens. Some may be able to take sibling groups, and others only have room for one foster child. Some are trained to meet the complex needs of disabled children while others aren’t.

Unfortunately, this means that certain groups of children are harder to place. This particularly applies to children with behavioural problems, teens, sibling groups and those with complex health requirements.

Foster carers are needed and welcomed from all walks of life. To find out more, get in touch.

Author bio: David Milsont is an ardent writer, who inspires the readers by writing highly factual and informative posts.  When he is not busy with his writing assignments, he loves to spending time with his loved ones.

 Posted by Charlotte on November 20, 2018 Blogging For Good  Add comments

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