FosterWiki Opinion Piece

Foster Care Fortnight – Questioning it’s Moral and Ethical Integrity

Foster Care Fortnight Questioning its Moral and Ethical Integrity

Niki Kalisperas, FosterWiki Campaigns Manager

One of the most pressing concerns in foster care is the pervasive gaslighting narrative that suggests all is well for both foster carers and the children they care for, even if it’s just for two ‘special’ weeks – we have a collective responsibility to question it’s moral and ethical integrity.

The offhand dismissive attitude we see played out not only undermines the emotional well-being and mental health of foster carers but also endangers the welfare of the children under their care.

In the realm of children’s care, the role of foster carers cannot be overstated. They are the only ones on the frontline providing loving family homes and the stability and care for children who have been removed from their own homes due to various circumstances.

Yet, despite their vital contribution, the landscape of foster care is in deep crisis. Being a critical friend to foster care doesn’t make me ‘anti’ fostering, or working against it in any way as some would like to suggest, no, I am not only a staunch advocate for foster carers, and a foster carer myself, I actually love foster care – I love the transformational possibilities whether long term or in reunification and most of all I love the children I care for.

However, that does not mean I am not acutely aware of the challenges foster care faces right now. It’s imperative to understand that for a child removed from their home, and once all other family choices have been explored, a trauma-informed, secure fostering family is often the best sanctuary. However, the alarming trend of more foster carers leaving the system than joining it speaks volumes about the dire state of affairs.

The current culture surrounding foster care is one of neglect and indifference. Foster carers are speaking out, but is anyone truly listening? It’s time to pay heed to their voices, acknowledge their struggles, and address the systemic issues that plague foster care.

It’s crucial to recognise that once a child is in the care of the Local Authority their journey is fraught with uncertainties and vulnerabilities. The failure to provide adequate support and resources to those caring for them exacerbates an already precarious situation.

While economic constraints may pose challenges, they should not serve as an excuse for complacency. Without a concerted effort to enact cultural, systemic, and meaningful change, the outlook for foster care remains bleak. Even the most well-intentioned recruitment campaigns, featuring high-profile ambassadors, will fall short if they are not backed by tangible reforms.

We cannot afford to align ourselves with a tired old narrative that perpetuates the status quo. The pretending brigade, comprised of leaders who turn a blind eye to the plight of foster carers and the children they serve, must be held accountable. Their inaction only serves to perpetuate the cycle of neglect and harm.

Effective strategies to safeguard our most vulnerable children require a paradigm shift. This entails listening to the voices of foster carers, acknowledging their concerns, and implementing meaningful reforms that prioritise the well-being of children in care.

It’s time to move beyond rhetoric and take decisive action. In conclusion, the urgent need to revitalise foster care cannot be overstated. It’s incumbent upon all stakeholders, from policymakers to community leaders, to come together and effectuate change. The time for complacency is over. The time for action is now. Our children deserve nothing less.

Is anyone listening?