Children of all ages and backgrounds come into care requiring the nurture and support of a foster family. Whether it is for one night, a few weeks, or their entire childhood, it’s important to have enough foster families to look after these children and to meet each child’s individual needs.
The Fostering Network currently estimates that there is a need for more than 8,600 new foster families across the UK over the next 12 months.
Most of the children coming into care are over the age of 10, meaning that there is a high demand for foster carers with the skills and expertise to care for older children and teenagers. There is also a particular need for foster carers who can look after children with complex needs and groups of brothers and sisters.
Sibling relationships can be one of the most important and long-lasting relationships of our lives; and while it might not always be in the child’s best interest to be placed with their siblings, it is often crucial to try and keep them together. Unfortunately, because there are not enough foster carers who are able to look after sibling groups, too often brothers and sisters end up living apart when they come into care.
The reasons for children and young people coming into care are wide-ranging. It can be because of a long-term illness to a parent or as a result of experiencing abuse or neglect. Each child’s circumstances are unique and foster carers are trained to deal with their individual needs.
To ensure every child or young person is placed with the foster carer that can best cater for their particular needs, it is important to increase the number of foster carers. This enables the placing authority to find the best possible foster family for every child and increases the likelihood of a successful placement where the child or young person can thrive and reach their full potential.
Foster Care Fortnight celebrates the transformational power of foster care and highlights the work of foster carers across the UK so everyone can see the passion, dedication and expertise of those who care for fostered young people in their own homes. This year’s theme #changeafuture shows how foster care changes futures – the futures of fostered children and the futures of the foster families who look after them.
Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to find out more about fostering by visiting our website. If you're not a foster carer already, ask yourself could you foster?