A thank you from our chief executive
This Foster Care Fortnight is an opportunity for us to applaud the amazing work of foster carers and fostering services - to acknowledge their work in making our communities and society a better place by offering support, security, love and understanding to the children in their care.
Foster care has come a long way in the four decades since the formation of The Fostering Network. Today it is a caring, dynamic, professional, loving community that changed the lives of thousands of children who through no fault of their own have had some of the most challenging starts to their lives. Foster care repairs that early damage and enables children and young people to have high aspirations and the best possible start to adult life.
As the chief executive of The Fostering Network, a charity which seeks to champion the role of foster carers and which brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children, I want to say thank you to all foster carers for the invaluable work that you do for the children in your care, enabling them to have a proper childhood, high aspirations and the best possible start to adult life. I want to say thank you on behalf of the 64,000 children in foster care. I want to celebrate all that you do and all that you give.
Of course, foster carers could not do the vital work they do without the support of their fostering services; so a huge thank you to every fostering service for the support that you offer in helping foster carers succeed in their roles.
Together, as foster carers, fostering services and The Fostering Network, we make a difference - we’re a powerful catalyst for change, influencing and shaping fostering policy and practice at every level.
But, this Foster Care Fortnight isn’t just an opportunity to say thank you to those who are already involved in fostering. It’s also a chance to encourage more people to come forward to foster.
A typical foster carer?
I am often asked who is a typical foster carer.
We know that foster carers are passionate about what they do, that they want to make a difference, that they like working with children and young people.
We know that they are generous of spirit, kind, caring and tough!
We know that they have been assessed, trained and supported to do the challenging and yet rewarding work they do. We know that they come from all sorts of backgrounds and have all sorts of family compositions.
We know that some care for many children over their fostering career whilst others may choose to only care for one child or a sibling group long term.
We know that they live in different types of housing from flats to farms, from countryside to inner city. We know that they have different education and work experiences from college professors to cleaners, from journalists to juggernaut drivers.
We know that they laugh and cry, they have good days and not so good days. We know that they are touched by the stories of the children that they care for. We know that they change lives.
The views of young people
But don’t just take our word for it. We have recently run a survey of fostered young people asking them what they consider makes a good foster carer. The top three characteristics were:
- Someone who makes the young people they look after feel safe and secure.
- Someone who helps and supports the young people they look after.
- Someone who loves the young people they look after.
There is an advert on my local bus that says “Could you spot a ticket inspector? No, they are just like you.” Who is a typical foster carer? Well, they are just like you.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer visit thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/could-you-foster
You could not only transform a child’s life but you could transform yours.