A reflection on fostering in Scotland

Director of The Fostering Network in Scotland, Sara Lurie, reflects on how foster carers have risen to the challenge of caring for children throughout a global pandemic.

A foster carer recently said to me ‘The pandemic is scary for all of us. If it is scary for an adult living in lockdown, imagine what it is like for a child.’

Over the past year, our lives have been spun into unprecedented, scary and surreal times. Across the globe, families everywhere were finding ways to manage lockdown, home-schooling, home-working, unable to see family and friends, worrying about loved ones, worrying about one’s self, feeling scared and missing everyday activities that many of us took for granted. 

I have been touched by the countless conversations I have had with foster carers over the past year. Along with your own fears about COVID19, becoming ill, or facing loss of family members, you shared how you have risen to this challenge, creating ways to ensure your homes continued to be filled with love and laughter, warmth and care, and most importantly, with hope. 

You told me of the creative ways you supported children to connect with people they love and miss, of home schooling achievements, and of the challenges of filling each day when you just wanted the pandemic to end. Your focus has been on the children you are caring for. You have seen strengths and a positive future for each and every child who has come to live with you. You recognised you cannot undo a child’s pain, but you strived to be part of their healing. You have had the understanding to know that some children will not accept your love and you have known the grief when you have had to say good bye. 

You have also shared with me, and with Fosterline Scotland your questions and concerns relating to fostering at this time. I want to assure you that we have been in continuous dialogue with the Scottish Government, Care Inspectorate, and Social Work Scotland, highlighting the issues you have raised and will continue to advocate on your behalf. 

As we celebrate Foster Care Fortnight 2021, I want to personally thank all of Scotland’s fostering community for how you have embraced the challenges of this past year. I want to thank foster carers for the incredible difference you and your family have made, and continue to make to the lives of children who come to stay with you. I want to also thank those children who have come to live with you, who have enriched your lives in ways you probably never could have imagined.

Together, Scotland is stronger and it’s prouder because of you.