So after much information gathering and deliberation, Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers have concluded the nation’s government sponsored Foster care stocktake. Their goals at the outset were to better understand what is working well and why; where improvements are needed to achieve better outcomes for children and then identify areas where further research is needed. Can one detect a lack of urgency in the way these goals are described? The language feels rather languid – almost casual: it doesn’t fit well with what those with a passionate interest in fostering provision know and understand about the current state of affairs. The endeavour seems to be more of a gentle stroll through the sunlit countryside, with some handy long grass into which the more difficult findings can be pitched.
It might have been much better to start the stocktake with a stark and unpalatable truth about foster care in twenty first century Britain. And there are more than one to choose from. This would have provided the missing sense of urgency and forced the need for focus and impetus. Then we might have expected solutions to have been identified – along with time scales for results. Instead, the rather gentler exercise of fact finding seems to have been the result.
What are the agents for radical change? Well, usually, a feeling of injustice and outrage combined with a refusal to accept things as they are. Paradoxically, we are at present celebrating the anniversary of female suffrage. This was an issue in its day that caused feelings to run high – to the extent that windows were smashed and laws were broken. Today, after a comfortable interval of ten decades, politicians from all parties are queueing up to celebrate the accomplishments of the suffragettes. They seem to have forgotten that in their day, these redoubtable ladies broke the law of the land in their efforts to get the vote. Theirs was a feeling of outrage. The issue was simple for a public to digest: men could vote, women could not – could that be right? It was easy to adopt a position. It seems that a single stark fact can contain within it the spark for meaningful change. No one is advocating laws be broken, just bemoaning the fact that this has in many instances been the only recourse for change. A stocktake that generates only reams of opinion runs the risk of convenient obfuscation and a Byzantine response. Simply put, there is no spark and we are left with the kind of damp squib that results in the maintenance of the status quo. Clearly a concern for Kevin Williams, the chief executive of The Fostering Network who has reacted by saying –
“Today’s report appears to be a thorough stocktake of the current situation in fostering. However, despite some suggestions about how to refocus funding away from bureaucracy towards frontline support, we are disappointed in the report’s lack of vision and ambition for the future of fostering. While we are pleased with a number of the recommendations we are concerned that overall we will be left with a continuation of the status quo.”
Foster care needs more than the status quo continuing into the future
Is all this a touch cynical? Possibly. What drives such a reaction is the initial verdict of the leading charity, The Fostering Network, for they are registering the foster care stocktake as a missed opportunity. And one could in no way doubt the passion and desire the charity demonstrated to seize this opportunity to bring radical reform to fostering provision.
Was there a missing spark – a single stark fact – one that with the potential to galvanise opinion and force change. A simple fact objectionable to every right thinking person in the land. Something that politicians of all hues would collectively be forced to act upon. The answer is yes! In a recent article it was revealed that –
just 6% of young people with experience of the care system will attend university, compared to almost 50% of the general population.
This is the kind of inconvenient truth that by itself should have stirred the authors of the stocktake report into action at the outset of the exercise. Why? Because it is the proof that the government is tolerating a situation which; in any other arena, would precipitate a clamour for action. It is significant that such a statistic hasn’t been given the prominence it deserves. Could it be that having to address this fact would really mean turning the system on its head. Much easier – as The Fostering Network fears – to simply maintain the status quo.
A career in therapeutic foster care with Rainbow Fostering
Fostering is changing – significant numbers of referrals from local authorities – and this is the case countrywide – are for youngsters with complex needs. Many are now coming into care traumatised having been abused or neglected. This means they need special provision which is why Rainbow are seeking to expand its pool of Therapeutic Foster carers. Being a therapeutic foster carer means you will receive specialist training to support these youngsters. As their problems can be deep rooted, helping them to make a success of their lives can be incredibly rewarding. Becoming a therapeutic foster carer means being a part of a dedicated team. Support is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round.
At Rainbow we can help you to find out a lot more about therapeutic foster care training – what it involves: this can be face to face or group training – supported by online training, therapeutic foster care uk or training for therapeutic foster care. For more information, call 020 8427 3355, or our National line 0330 311 2845.
Rainbow news –
The nation’s foster care stocktake – a possible missed opportunity?
6th, February 2018
Today is a landmark day in the fostering calendar: after a year of investigation and deliberation, the fostering stocktake has been published by The Department for Education. There will be a range of reactions and time will (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK
Good news at the end of our Rainbow…some more birthdays to celebrate this month – many Happy Returns to our foster children and foster carers.
The post Foster care: a missed opportunity? appeared first on Fostering London - Blog.