I love it when Foster Care Fortnight comes around. I love the flurry of media activity as fostering rightfully receives attention at a national level. I always find it inspiring to hear the passion, commitment and dedication from those involved with fostering across the UK, and particularly here in Scotland. Foster carers, fostering services and children and young people who are part of a fostering family all come together to highlight their experiences and tell their own unique story.
While my role within The Fostering Network allows me to hear this passion and enthusiasm throughout the year, during Foster Care Fortnight it is amplified so that the wider public feel more connected to fostering and, in their own way, take a moment to reflect on fostering and perhaps consider if they could be more involved themselves.
Changes over the years
I have been part of a fostering family for almost 30 years and have seen foster care in Scotland transform over the years. Successful campaigning from The Fostering Network – achieved through the support and consultation with our members – recently saw legislative change in regards to placements limits being introduced in Scotland. Discussions are ongoing to explore a learning and development framework for foster carers to ensure consistency of standards. Allowances and fees continue to be on the agenda, working to ensure that foster carers are not out of pocket and that fostering is seen as a viable alternative to other career choices. It’s encouraging that the Scottish Government are leading these discussions and I look forward to the recommendations being published.
Every day I get to see the difference fostering makes
When I’m at work I speak with, and hear from, young people and foster carers about some of the challenges they experience, and what job doesn’t have its challenges? I also get to hear about the fantastic achievements that they are part of. The excitement of a child coming home from school with a positive report card, the pride when they share their latest piece of art, even the joy of skipping out of school playground clasping their first ever invite to a birthday party.
Being foster carers runs through our family – my mum has just been awarded an MBE for her services to fostering. When I head home I pick up my toddler from my parents and have to prise him away from his foster cousins and foster uncles. The girls have taught him to blow kisses and play ring a roses. They are as much a part of his family as his other relatives. Throughout the year my parents are often visited by children who previously stayed with our family, and some visit with their parents. I feel proud to be a part of my family and proud that the links continue long after placements have moved on.
Foster care is rewarding. It makes a positive difference to those who foster and to those who are fostered. As we celebrate this years Foster Care Fortnight I’ll be reflecting on my connection to fostering and hope that others will do similar!
The Fostering Network brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children and young people to lead, inspire, motivate and support them to make foster care better. To support our work visit www.fostering.net/donate or to donate £10 text FOST37 £10 to 70070.