Celebrate those that make a difference. Changing the tone in 2023!
We recently circulated an article from the NAFP (National Association of Fostering Providers) between us at The CFT regarding the OFSTED Foster Carer Data report. Journalists had reduced what was quite an important response from CEO Harvey Gallagher into a short couple of sentences for a national newspaper.
Regardless, the full response was posted and it makes for some very interesting reading. Check it out here.
As independent fostering agencies and charities, our position as ‘fostering facilitators’ requires us to act with responsibility, with the best interests of the children and carers top of mind at all times.
When the issues of retention and recruitment of foster carers in the UK are raised it’s always a question of ‘why?’ Why don’t more people come forward? Why aren’t enquiries escalated for assesment? Why are carers dropping off?
Not a question of why but who?
Operating with responsibility means taking steps to ensure we recruit quality foster carers with ‘stickability’. As a not-for-profit organisation, we don’t have profit margins to meet so extra focus on the suitability of individuals to the varied, challenging and wonderful world of foster care. Allowing people the space to make informed decisions prior to assessment is a sign of an organisation working with the carer’s in mind, and not for a quota.
As Harvey Gallagher states in his response, IFA’s and Charities take on only a portion of children placed from a Local Authority. We have the capacity to focus on matching children with appropriate families so that breakdowns can be avoided. Ensuring social workers are not overwhelmed with case loads means we can listen, action and improve services with speed. If a new carer is struggling or lacking confidence, we will conduct a daily visit to reassure and guide when required.
In 2022, the discourse around the care sector has been less than desirable. The tragedies of high profile cases, the number of asylum seeking children going missing, the financial crisis facing local authorities, families and everyone in between – the list could go on.
Those are realities that cannot be avoided, the implications having an obvious impact on the ability of some to become carers, however, fostering provides such a wealth of positivity alongside the challenges. The priority is to encourage those who can, to hit the ground running and become outstanding carers! Training, visitations, the entirety of the assessment and panel are requisit parts of process aimed at how an individual will overcome the difficulties of fostering, balance that against how we communicate the joys of becoming a carer and you’ll find it swings heavily toward the negative.
Over the next 12 months, we hope to communicate the stories that we see daily – the wins that make fostering worthwhile, the young people overcoming adversity to thrive in adulthood and the carers discovering the strengths and talents they didn’t know they possess.
See ya later, 2022
Reflecting on the passing year, we want to thank everyone who has taken the time to be inquisitive about foster care, those that have engaged with our services and the incredible team of foster carers, social workers and admin teams that make up The Children’s Family Trust.
You’re all exceptional.
2023 may potentially magnify the difficulties of 2022, but with our unwavering support services, our adaptability and focus on advocacy for carers and care-leavers,bwe hope to change the face of foster care in this country.
One small victory at a time.