Foster carers are the most forgotten people in the fostering care system. They are lied to, used, and new er told the full story by local authorities and social workers In March 2021, there were roughly 15370 fostering households in the UK, but there were an incredible 80850 children coming into cure. Many children who come into care are forced into homes that are worse than the environment that they were taken from. Authorities have to do this because of the lack of carers. The amount of children who come into care every year is increasing unlike carers, which are sadly decreasing at a fast rate
Why are so many carers leaving the fostering system?
Lots of carers are leaving as they can't deal with the system, and bow it has treated them and the child. The system will very rarely give the full story of a child's background, lear ing carers guessing and struggling and then, when they ask for support their request is ignored. Social workers don't know how it feels to look after a traumatised child (who has been taken away from all they've ever had) so they assume it's not that hard. By assuming and not helping carers with that child, they are "neglecting them of their needs.
Children come into care as their parents have neglected or abused them, but the system does this to carers who are strug gling with that child. Careers need support when they ask for it and, by not giving them this support, it is putting them in a bad place the way an unfit parent would with a child.
Carers join the system to help thousands of young adults or children who need a safe place. They expect the system to be loving and supportive. This, as a whole, can be a very mixed opinion depending on your view. Some organisations are amazing and help their carers and children to the best of their ability but the rest of them are painfully hard to deal with as they don't support, and when they do they are given very little.
Some authorities may treat the children badly, but does anyone think about how they treat the carers? They live with children and help them through the good and bad parts, for most of it without much support. Some children don't need additional support, but a horrific amount of children come into care with trauma and problems.
What would help bring carers back in the UK?
More carers would sign up and stay if they were promised (and given the support they ask for, or is clearly needed. Some carers are scared that they are going to lose their job if they speak up for what they want and need from the system. They don't know what will happen and feel that they are expected to stay quiet and just do as they are told. In an environment like this it is very difficult to speak your mind, and this causes people to leave.
On the fostering network website it says that "carers should be given the same legal and emotional support that is offered to social work colleagues". This doesn't always happen in practice, and some carers feel that they can't do anything without it being turned back on them.
Carers should be treated as an equal to the social worker as they give all their support to the child day and night, but they get little to none back. Authorities need to start treating carers in a professional respectful way otherwise there are going to be too many kids with barely any carers.
Do we blame the system or the social workers?
We mostly blame the system as it is set up to look like an amazing thing, but when you're in it it's hard for carers, children and social workers. Not all social workers are perfect either, and some of them forget they are there to support the carers in looking after the children too. Some social workers never lose sight of their goal which is to keep a foster home happy and stable for both children and carers. Social workers have a choice: they can either play by the system or they can help the homes. The system needs to change so that it works for social workers, carers and children because at the minute all three are being hurt.
I've been in care since 2014. I've been in 7 placements in 8 years and I've seen all the different ways carers have been treated. Some have been treated terribly, like they are nothing and are just there. Others have been treated like they are the most important people at that time as they are the ones who deal with the children on a daily basis who fight through everything. Everything depends on how this system wants to work for them and social workers must choose to either do as the system says or look after the cases they were given in a way that helps both carers and children.