Foster care service providers are now very much in the front line as the numbers of children coming into care rise. What exacerbates the situation is so many of them are suffering trauma caused by abuse and neglect. It is sobering to think that more than half of the children and young people identified as needing the help from Social services, had fallen victim to abuse or neglect. On top of this disturbing statistic, an additional 23 per cent had to be helped due either to family dysfunction, disabilities or illnesses.
According to the chief executive of Barnardo’s, Javed Khan: “A perfect storm is brewing in children’s services with social workers dealing with increasingly complex cases, and too many children reaching crisis point before they receive support.”
Foster carers and social workers need support
The reason that a perfect storm may well be brewing is the presence of other factors that could have a huge impact. Consider: the number of cases that social workers have to confront every day is rising steeply. The chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, Anntoinette Bramble, has called on the government to provide a long-term solution to what she terms a “funding crisis” in children’s services. The LGA is currently estimating that councils will confront a collective £3bn shortfall in their child services budgets by the year 2025 – unless more money is made available. And also consider findings from the recently published ‘ Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing Survey 2018 – UK’. This reveals sixty percent of social workers are looking to leave their current job within the next fifteen months as compared to fifty two per cent last year. If this were not concerning enough in relation to impacting on the continuity of care children need, nearly forty per cent of respondents aim to leave the profession altogether. It won’t matter if money is suddenly produced if we don’t have the numbers of social workers needed. So when the government suddenly announced in the budget that an additional £410m for adult and children’s services would be made available, it all begins to look like a knee-jerk reaction. Despite this, Nadhim Zahawi – the current children and families minister – has responded by saying –
“Every child, no matter their circumstances, should have the care and support they need for a happy, fulfilling life.” Words are cheap: better to judge a government by its actions and these will have played a part in social workers wanting to leave in such numbers. Much of the rhetoric of the government now looks like defensive posturing.
Another claim made by the minister: “We are also investing £84m over the next five years to support up to 20 local authorities who are seeing high or rising demand for children’s social care to work more effectively with their most vulnerable families” has to be seen against the money £420 million allocated for repairing potholes.
If a perfect storm does indeed arrive, the government cannot pretend the gathering storm clouds weren’t visible for a long time.
Team Rainbow is where your foster journey starts…
You might have been thinking about fostering for a while…if you have, we would really like to hear from you and discuss the options we can offer. Foster care provides many career opportunities and the chance to work from home. It can offer a lot of flexibility – as well as the chance to build a career by taking advantage of the considerable training opportunities we provide. The most important thing is that you are dedicated to the idea of really making a difference to the life of a vulnerable child: you might be the last chance they have for a secure and happy childhood.
You can arrange a suitable time for one of the members of Team Rainbow to call you. Call
020 8427 3355 or 0330 311 2845 – our National Line. You can also learn more about the potential rewards of a career in foster care at https://bit.ly/2OkgCzS Rainbow are particularly keen to speak to applicants to foster in these areas: Manchester and Birmingham – visit https://bit.ly/2zdLb4G and https://bit.ly/2SyrFIU for more information about opportunities in foster care.
For our Rainbow news stories about foster care: https://bit.ly/2kJHpsO
2018 Rainbow Foster Care Awards.
This weekend we are looking forward to celebrating the hard work, dedication and commitment of all our foster carers. The theme for the evening is ‘Motown’ – look out for pictures of what will be another memorable event in the Team Rainbow calendar.
And remember, as a Rainbow foster carer, there are other social events for our foster carers to enjoy throughout the year. We pride ourselves on the strength of community our foster care agency has spent twenty-one years developing. Be special…be a foster carer…be one of us!
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