Over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. But the number of approved fostering households continues to decrease steadily.
Children need to live in an alternative home, away from their family, for so many reasons. Each child has a different story and each child needs a different family to help them through a difficult time.
But every child is vulnerable, scared and struggling to understand what is happening. They may be separated from their brothers and sisters, unable to stay at the same school and desperately missing the life they have left behind.
But we strongly believe in how good quality foster care makes a real difference to children's lives. The benefit of being established nearly 25 years means we have seen the long term difference we make in young poeple's opportunities, in the choices they make, the education they achieve and the families they are now raising.
As an agency, although a range of homes are provided, as an agency we place a strong focus on caring for younger children. Particularly sibling groups.
As of Jan 2020 1/3 of the children living with our families, are under 11. And half of those are under 6.
"matching processes seek to thoroughly examine referred children and young people's aginst the skills experienced and needs of foster carers. this...improves the liklihood of childrena nd young people settling into their new foster homes with carers who can meet their needs"
The length of time a child stays with you isn't always known at the beginning. They may stay one night, until a family member comes forward to care for them. They may stay with you for two years. This is still short term fostering. The child or children often still see their parents during this time and there are often court proceedings taking place until it is decided what is best for the child long term. A lot of the wonderful work you do is about reassuring children, making them feel safe and secure. Helping them understand what is happening and offering a calm and nutring environment.
Long term fostering is when a family make a long term commitment to the children in their care. These children may have come through the court process and the judge has decided that they are to remain looked after until they enter adulthood. Many of these children do have contact with their birth families although it might not be as frequent. This commitment is a huge investment for a family, but suits lots of people as they see the long term benefits of offer good quality consistent care, being part of making a sustained difference to someone's life.
This is a specialist type of fostering. This type of fostering involves the mother or father, or both, and their baby or young child being placed together in foster care.
Not everybody has the support they need when they have a new baby. Raising toddlers and young children isn't always easy for everybody. Our families know that they have to exhibit a great deal of patience and understanding. They understand the importance of being non-judgmental and supportive.
As a fostering agency will support and guide you at every step. You will receive additional support and training to enable you to successfully support a parent and their child.
It is an amazing commitment and can be incredibly rewarding to help a new or struggling parent realise their strengths and meet the needs of their baby or child.
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Families often go into fostering expecting to look after babies or very young children. But the reality is that 62% of children looked after are aged ten or over. They are often overlooked as being problematic but this isn't always the case. Teenagers bring with them their own challenges, but welcoming a young person into your home who is at such a vulnerable time of their lives, and showing them an alternative family experience, will often make the difference between continuing on the same path and making positive and lasting choices.
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All types of fostering is challenging, rewarding and a massive commitment your whole family has to make. All our families feel it is worth it.