In advance of a series of blogs going into more detail about the particular issues surrounding Foster care and looking after children with disabilities, this is just a brief overview to introduce some of the main factors.
Finding enough people to become Foster Carers can be uphill. The effort has always to be ongoing – the proof being the need for this years annual Fostering Network’s campaign ‘Foster Care Fortnight’. At the start of the year around 9,070 new foster families were needed; as Christmas approaches, this figure has reduced to 7,000. Progress has therefore been made. The particular challenge becomes even more daunting, when thinking about the ever present need to find foster carers wanting to look after disabled children. The statistics show that such youngsters are nine times more likely to become ‘looked after children’, than non-disabled children. This means foster carers really do need to have a special interest and commitment to taking care of disabled children. This is because the demands faced are going to be significantly greater. The kind of love and care needing to be given is going to be of a different type: the fostering experience is, as a consequence going to be more intense.
There will be many more routines than need to be observed on a day to day basis – especially with regard to care and medication. Additional support can be given to foster carers with the provision of respite care. This recognises the unique burdens and pressures involved in providing this kind of foster care.
Sending the right signals to potential foster carers
As we have an urgent need for these special people, it is especially important that; particularly at this time of ‘austerity’, the climate of perceived cutbacks is challenged. The right signal needs to be sent out, since any potential new foster carer – especially one who might be thinking of fostering a disabled child – will probably be thinking such care does not come cheap. And of course they would be right: it can often be necessary to make significant structural changes to a home in order that foster care can become a practical proposition. A common example of this being the installation of a downstairs toilet. But there are many more hidden extra costs: these can include heating, significantly more washing and cleaning.
Foster care: the nation must now decide
Disability is, after all, a very blanket term. More generally, there is an urgent need to find people with special qualities, prepared to care for children and young people with less severe health problems. Much more common are conditions such as ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders, learning difficulties, hearing and/or visual impairments.
Foster carers need to be strongly motivated as well as extremely dedicated to help a disabled child to reach their full potential. We need to think seriously how, as a nation, we go about creating and sustaining that motivation. In the first place we have to attract the right kind of people to come forward and do what is a very challenging job. So, a large part of this will be about funding, but it is also about the public recognition that to provide foster care for a disabled child requires remarkable qualities. Lip service cannot be paid to this idea: later this year the national fostering stocktake will be reporting its findings. Recruitment is difficult at the best of times, so it will be interesting to see what special recommendations will be made to address this specific area.
It’s a great experience fostering with Rainbow
At Rainbow you will be joining a team of dedicated professionals who never lose sight of the fact that, despite the challenges, foster care should be about fun!, After all childhood is a very special time. We need to find people who really have an interest children and supporting them to achieve their ambitions. Many of the children we care for have come from difficult and chaotic backgrounds. This means the chance to be given a secure, stable and loving home can mean the world to them. But because life has been difficult, they can often present quite challenging behaviour. We work to train and support our foster carers so that they can turn these young lives around. Doing this successfully can be intensely rewarding. We welcome people to apply – regardless of ethnicity, religion or cultural background. Please call us today on 020 8427 3355 for more information on developing a fostering career with Rainbow.
There is a pressing need to find more foster carers: we regularly provide an update on the figures so that potential applicants can see just how much they are needed. The country at this present moment in time is facing a shortage of some 7,000 carers.
The situation in England relating to foster care recruitment:
• 44,625 fostering families are now caring for children and young people in England;
• the leading charity, The Fostering Network has estimated that will be a need to identify a further 5,900 foster families in England over the forthcoming year.
Read about the issues impacting on foster care on our website
Court rules in favour of foster care victim
October 19th, 2017
In a landmark ruling, a woman who experienced abuse from her carers as a child, has won a battle against Nottinghamshire County Council. The court ruled against the council, judging it was “vicariously liable” after placing the her with two foster couples during the nineteen eighties (for more visit)
‘Rainbow Rewards’: bonus payments available
Qualify for a special bonus of £500 by simply referring someone to us who progresses to become an approved carer with Rainbow. The money will be paid once your referral has received their very first placement. And for existing carers – please have chat with us if you are thinking of working with a new agency. Carers who transfer to Rainbow, can also qualify for our special ‘reward’ payment: please note that this payment will only be made for carers who are currently looking after a child on a long-term basis.
And the good news at the end of this rainbow…we are putting together our plans to ensure that this years Annual Foster Carer Awards will provide a night to remember. Invitations have been sent out, so don’t delay in replying and letting us know you will be attending what should be a ‘rip roaring’ evening!
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