FosterWiki Opinion Piece

Independent body will deliver much-needed change

An independent body for foster carers will
deliver much needed change

Author: Carolyn Moody MBE

An independent body for foster carers will deliver much-needed change

The urgent need for improvements within the fostering system is well documented after many reviews. However, it is important to acknowledge that very little has changed. The fostering system itself is in need of real change for it to be a care system that actually does care long past 18 and continues through adulthood.

Every day, foster carers embark on a remarkable journey of compassion and dedication, providing safe and nurturing homes for children who need it most. They carry on despite the challenges they face, they are driven by their commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

While foster carers work tirelessly to provide the best care possible, they often face obstacles and limitations within the system that hinder their ability to fully support the children in their care. This doesn’t just affect Foster carers but also social workers.

Many foster carers want to continue supporting their children and young people as they become young adults, however, we also know that there is reduced support as a young person starts to transition usually around 16 which puts extra pressure on foster carers, at 18 they feel unequipped to meet the increased demands and complexity of supporting a young adult without the same level of external support and resources.

Young adults face unique challenges which you can understand, but this impacts foster carers as they feel unable to continue to meet their needs, with such little resources at hand and often having less income which can impact them continuing to foster other children.

By acknowledging the challenges within the fostering system, we can advocate for necessary changes to better support foster carers and the children they care for. FosterWiki is unique it’s a free resource, free to join, it actually cares about foster carers in highlighting the need for an ‘independent body’, increased resources, including financial support, excellent training and access to specialised services that address the needs of children today in foster care It’s crucial to say that despite these challenges, foster carers continue to persevere, demonstrating unwavering commitment and resilience. Their dedication is a testament to the importance of the fostering role and the impact it has on the lives of children.

Through FosterWiki raising awareness about the challenges faced by foster carers and the need for improvements within the system, we can encourage support and engagement from the wider community. Together, we can work towards creating a fostering system that provides foster carers with the resources, recognition, and support they deserve, ultimately ensuring better outcomes for the children they care for.

There are challenges as it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new carers and many are transferring trying to find the family feel of fostering that respects that they are advocating for the child and want to be seen as a fellow professional. The way fostering is advertised and portrayed solely as a parenting role does not effectively attract new foster carers in today’s society because it does not fully convey the unique challenges and rewards that come with the role.

FosterWiki has been proactive in discussing the need for an ‘independent body’ for foster carers for some years and this has the potential to address some of the challenges and gaps in support within the system. By prioritising the needs and well-being of foster carers, it could contribute to improved retention rates and see improvement in recruitment. Foster carers need to be really supported, valued, and recognised in this critical role of caring for vulnerable children it is the core of the work we do.

An independent body could be a collective voice for foster carers, advocating for their rights, needs, and concerns. By representing foster carers the body can work towards improving their working conditions, access to support services, and recognition within the wider system. Good quality training and professional development and providing a central point of contact for advice information and real support throughout the whole process of an allegation.

Real professional support can contribute to foster carers well being, confidence and job satisfaction which are crucial for retention. A professional body could promote professionalism among foster carers collectively. By establishing standards of practice, a code of ethics, and ongoing professional development opportunities, the professional body would help foster carers to improve their skills and knowledge.

The body could work in partnership with the local authorities to enhance the overall support and effectiveness of the foster care system in policy development which would include foster carers’ experiences and expertise in shaping policies that are friendly for fostering families and do actually work in the fostering practice.

The professional body could serve as a platform for foster carers to provide feedback and input to social workers. This feedback can help social workers gain insights into the experiences and perspectives of foster carers, leading to improved practice and better decision-making. It can also foster a sense of partnership and shared responsibility between foster carers and social workers.

This makes sense and would contribute to a higher quality of care for all children. I hope reading this you can understand the importance and validity of the points I am making and I am not alone in this thinking. To sum up, the issues surrounding the fostering system and the need for improvements, as well as the potential benefits of an independent body for foster carers are significant considerations in addressing the challenges faced by foster carers, and in improving outcomes for children in care.

It is essential to continue the conversation and explore potential solutions to create a fostering system that better supports foster carers and the children they care for.

Carolyn Moody MBE FosterWiki Ambassador
Carolyn Moody MBE