At The Fostering Foundation, our mission is to help children in care find safe and supportive homes in which they can thrive. Working in the South West of England, we specialise in recruiting and training carers for long and short term foster care as well as specialist fostering such as resilience care and parent and child fostering.
We offer training for all our foster carers emphasising therapeutic approaches. These skills include training in Attachment Theory, PACE and Therapeutic Parenting, to ensure carers and families are prepared to meet the needs of children and young people who may not have had the best start in life.
Sadly, the UK is currently experiencing a shortfall of 25,000 foster homes over the next five years – which means it’s more important than ever for us to find foster carers who can provide safe and stable homes for children in need, whether that’s for a few months while families recover from illness or other issues, or long term solutions for young people who cannot return to their birth families.
Why do children need to go into care?
One of the most common questions our team is asked is how and why young people come into care in the first place. There are many reasons why a child might need care, and what kind of care they need through difficult times.
Children can come into foster care from birth to the age of 18, though 40% of children in care are aged 11-15. Every child’s experience is unique, however it is true that many children come into care due to experiencing neglect – either physical or emotional – which is one of the reasons our Skills to Foster training focuses on therapeutic parenting styles.
Young people who have not come into foster care due to neglect might still have experienced trauma from problems within the family – some may have witnessed family breakdown due to domestic and/or substance abuse, for example – while others may need short-term respite due to a family member’s illness or crisis. We also believe it’s important to place siblings together wherever possible (as long as it is healthy for both children) so children can maintain those crucial family bonds.
Specialist skills for at-risk children
There is also a need for foster carers with experience caring for children with specific learning difficulties and disabilities as well as those who have experienced severe trauma and exhibit poor mental health – such as children who have experienced significant abuse or exploitation.
At the Fostering Foundation, we also work closely with local authorities to find foster homes for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), who might be dealing with adjusting to a new country, language and culture on top of the traumatic experience of being a child refugee.
These specialist carers are known as Resilience Carers, and this challenging but rewarding form of care is well suited to people with experience in medical or emergency services, social work or even the military, for example.
While many might think of children or young teens as the most in need, we are also proud to specialise in parent and child fostering. This form of fostering is a short-term programme that matches new (often young) parents and their baby with an experienced foster carer so that they can learn essential life skills and parenting skills.
This rewarding programme ensures that new parents, sometimes children themselves, who have experienced difficulties – such as having no parental support or having experienced mental health issues – can learn to successfully care for and raise their children in a supportive environment.
The important thing to remember is that all children have had unique and individual experiences and will undoubtedly have experienced loss in some form during their transition into foster care. This is why we are so committed to providing the support each child needs and, with your help, making a positive difference to young people through The Fostering Foundation.