You don’t have to be a good cook to foster, revealed children and young people in foster care as part of a new survey conducted by The Fostering Network to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight 2016 (16-29 May).
Instead the overwhelming call was for foster carers who can provide them with security, support and love.
261 care experienced children and young people were surveyed on a range of issues aimed at identifying what they consider to be the key qualities and skills needed to foster, and about the difference these qualities made to the lives of children living in foster care.
The top three qualities that these children and young people identified as key to making a good foster carer were:
- making them feel safe and secure (67 per cent)
- supporting and helping them (61 per cent)
- loving them (54 per cent).
While important for some, only 14 per cent thought that being a good cook was an important skill in a foster carer. Stars of The Only Way Is Essex, Debbie Douglas and Lydia Bright, took place in a 20 minute bake off to highlight the fact that a child comes into care needing a foster family every 20 minutes in the UK. Debbie, who has been a foster carer for more than 20 years and understands what the children in her care need, said: ‘We’re certainly not a baking family, but every child who has entered our home has enriched our lives, as we hope we have enriched theirs. I think sticking to reality TV and making sure that the children who come into our home feel loved and secure works best for us!‘
You don’t have to be a superhuman, you just need to be loving, understanding and resilient. Becoming a foster carer can be daunting but it’s something that many people would be capable of doing. I urge anyone who thinks they have the skills and personality to make a positive impact on these children’s lives to talk to their fostering service about becoming a foster carer.
‘Stop thinking, just do it and pick up the phone. Being a foster carer is knowing that you’ve made a difference.
’Lydia Bright, who grew up in a fostering family from the age of two, said: ‘I’ve never known a life without being part of a fostering family. My friends at school used to complain it was boring at home, but being a part of a fostering family meant I never felt alone as a child.
‘No parents have a child and don’t want to look after it, but some can’t. That’s why you should never stereotype, because every child has come into care for a reason that’s nothing to do with them.’
The Fostering Network is calling for 9,070 foster families to come forward right across the UK to give loving homes and supportive family environments to children (7,600 foster families in England, 800 in Scotland, 500 in Wales, and 170 in Northern Ireland).
In particular there is an ongoing need for more foster families to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and sibling groups.Without more foster families coming forward during 2016 some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who does not have the right skills and experience to best meet their specific needs. There is then a significant risk that a child’s placement will breakdown, further disrupting an already traumatic childhood.
If you believe you have the skills that children and young people want in their foster carer, contact us today on 0800 652 6955 or click here to visit our iFoster pages