Figures released today by charity ‘The Fostering Network’ state the need to recruit an additional 9,070 foster carers across the UK during 2016.
The issue facing all fostering providers such as Blue Sky, is not that they don’t have foster carers, it’s that they don’t have the variety of foster carers to meet the needs of all the children and young people referred to them.
“Children and young people are referred by local authorities all over the south of England and beyond. All have very specific needs and individual experiences.”
explains our Placements Manager, Marcus.
Figures released by the Fostering Network in June 2015, indicate:
- 1 in 4 (25%) fostered teenagers are living with at least their fourth family in care;
- 1 in 6 (17%) fostered teenagers are living with at least their fifth family in care;
- 1 in 20 (5%) fostered teenagers are living with least their 10th family in care.
“Many are teenagers have moved foster carer homes, many times. It’s rarely through any fault of their own or any fault of the people who’ve fostered them. Usually, it’s due to the fact that, at the point they were in desperate need of the security of a foster home, the only available foster carer didn’t live in the right area or was only able to offer short term care. Obviously, it’s better to offer the teenager the safety of a foster home which didn’t quite match their needs rather than leave them in a situation where they could be in danger, but it has the knock-on effect of being only temporary and the teenager will have to move again. Often, these situations are compounded by the fact that they are split up from their siblings, have to change schools and move away from established friendships which all adds to the chaos of their young lives. It would be wonderful to always have the right carers in the right place at the right time to end this disruptive cycle and allow our foster children to have the balanced lives they desperately need. That is why we more people to become foster carers.”
Parent and child placements
“Then there are the parent and child placements. Usually, these are young people, sometimes a young mum, sometimes a young dad, sometimes they come as a pair with their baby. They need guidance and practical support to provide the best care for their infant. Foster carers providing this type of placement have additional training to enable them to assess the young family's progress. The foster carers written and verbal observations will contribute to any decisions regarding the baby’s future care. Once our parent and child foster placements are all in use, we have the unenviable task of turning young parents and their babies away. Urgently, we need more people to come forward to become foster carers for parent and child placements.”
According to government statistics*, there are 15,130 looked after children and young people in the care of the 32 unitary local authorities working within the Blue Sky region, a figure that has risen by nearly 16% since 2011.
“Local authorities elsewhere in the country refer children and young people to us too and we’ve seen a steady increase in those as well. Foster homes for young people aged 12 plus, sibling groups and parent and child places are especially sought after and we can only see this trend increasing. The need for good, stable, caring, homes for young people with additional needs is a growth area and here at Blue Sky, we offer enhanced training, respite and fees for people who wish to take up the challenge of caring for children and young people with additional needs. The rewards for both the foster care and the young people can be immense.”
If you would like to bring calm to the chaotic life of a child or young person, or you feel you could use your experience to keep a family together by helping young parents care for their baby, please get in touch. We know fostering isn’t for everyone, but virtually everyone could change lives for the better through fostering.