The pillars of society will crumble if we think not of our future. Humanity’s greatest resource is its children and as responsible members of the community, you and I need to keep an eye on the welfare of the younger generation.
The UK has one of the most comprehensive child care networks and its social workers work day and night to ensure that children are receiving the right environment to grow up in. However, the struggle is constant and children go into care across the country every single day.
Why Do Children Go Into Care?
Let us follow the story from the beginning. Why are thousands of children taken from their original environment every year and put into care? The reasons, unfortunately, are aplenty and all of them are serious manifestations of the problems our society faces.
The decision to take children away from their families is not an easy one. Certain observations need to be made and facts determined. Are the children being nourished according to basic requirements? Are they physically safe? Is there emotional and mental trauma that they have to face regularly? These are some of the basic questions asked.
Are The Parents In Capable Of Taking For The Child?
There are cases when parents are too ill to take care of their children and there are no other relatives willing to take the responsibility. These cases lead to children being put into foster homes or children’s homes.
Some parents are suffering from mental conditions and cannot provide their children with basic needs. Parents who have been incarcerated for criminal activity or parents who are drug abusers are also the main reasons for children being taken away by the fostering system. Many children have faced physical abuse and thus are put into homes.
Abuse could also be sexual and mental in nature. Neglect is considered as abuse when such cases are being evaluated. The trauma that these children face is very considerable and if not taken care of at an early stage will have a debilitating effect on their development and functioning as adults in the future.
Prepare To Be Caregiver
When you decide to become a foster carer, you will be offering a very precious resource that the system needs very badly. You will have the chance to be a guiding light for a child and help the individual feel secure and confident again.
Foster caregiving is considered a very satisfying experience. It also comes with a lot of details – from the parameters that qualify you as a foster carer to the fair bit of training required before you assume the role.
The process of becoming a foster carer is not complicated but there are many necessary steps to ensure that the child’s interests are safeguarded. Check out this resource – https://perpetualfostering.co.uk/insights/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fostering-before-you-apply/ to learn more about fostering and the responsibilities you should be ready to shoulder.
The Responsibilities Of A Foster Carer
The responsibilities of a foster carer are congruent to the requirements of the ward. Some children with special needs will need additional care and supervision. The functions of the carer also differ according to the age of the child.
As a foster carer, you will need to stay in touch with the social worker who has been assigned to the child. The social worker will give you all the necessary background information on the child and include you in meetings where you can connect with other foster carers and raise important queries. There will be times in your foster care period when you will need immediate or urgent advice – there is a social worker in place who is just one call away.
Points To Keep In Mind
Here are some pointers that a foster carer should keep in mind all the time:
- All children deserve the feeling of safety and security. Growing up, every child deserves the feeling of being cared for and your role is important in ensuring this.
- Every child has potential and the trauma of being put into care can smother this. Foster carers will have to nurture the potential in their wards and build their confidence through love and empathy.
- The foster carer takes on a parental role – and this includes giving advice. The child is part of the family and cannot be treated as a guest.
- Children need a healthy and hygienic environment and a good diet. They need space and privacy and a fair amount of leisure time. Providing them these things is the primary responsibility of the foster carers.
- Older children also need to be prepared for adulthood. Teaching them essential skills or observing their development in that regard is the responsibility of the fostering network – via the carer and assigned social worker.
- Foster carers also act as bridges between the child and the family. This is very important as children need to know that their parents and blood relatives are out there and trying to provide an environment fit for them.
The stats on children in care in the UK point at glaring deficiencies in several areas. The effort to give them the best platform is often thwarted by a lack of proper platforms and an over-burdened system. Lack of foster carers is one of the issues faced. The number of children involved is steadily rising – from around 47,000 in 2010 to more than 55,000 in the year 2018. This growth in numbers is a worrying manifestation of social problems at the grassroots of our communities.
Academically too, children who have moved around under care tend to suffer more. This affects them in their later years as the job markets get more and more competitive. Children who do not get foster carers are placed in homes where they are vulnerable to bullying and physical abuse.
The fostering networks, whether agencies or government regulated provide certain incentives (cash and tax breaks) for foster carers along with adequate funding to take care of the child and you can reach out to the experts to learn more. Consider opening your home to a young child and gaining a beautiful relationship that will be cherished by all involved. Be a foster caregiver.