FosterWiki Opinion Piece

Why do we do what we do?

Foster carers - why do we do what we do?

Author: Carolyn Moody MBE, FosterWiki Ambassador

What is trauma? “trauma is a person’s emotional response to a distressing experience”.

What is a foster carer? “a situation in which for a period of time a child lives with and is cared for by people who are not the child’s parents”

What foster carers do can be incredibly challenging emotionally, complicated and may at times feel like a thankless task. However, even providing a safe place for a child to be nurtured & championed even for perhaps a day a year, or more can revolutionise a child’s life.

That’s a gift worth giving.

What do we need as foster carers to help children achieve in all areas of their lives? Well I can honestly say in the years I have fostered I have met so many foster carers who are amazing human beings, give constantly and ask for so little in return for themselves except the tools to do the work in hand. And this is where foster carers really struggle so what we need is:

Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Valued: Held in great esteem for admirable qualities, especially of an intrinsic nature.

Supported: People show emotional support for others by offering genuine encouragement, reassurance, and compassion.

To achieve a goal: “If you achieve a particular aim or effect, you succeed in doing it or causing it to happen, usually after a lot of effort”

All of those! There are many negatives out there about the children’s social care system and rightly so because it has been neglected for so long. Foster carers are working alongside vulnerable children, they are ‘more than parents’ who have so many other demands placed on them in today’s era of fostering.

Foster carers deserve better in how they are viewed, spoken about and treated by other professionals who haven’t got time to build relationships anymore, quite often change or just don’t know the children we care for as well as we do.

Foster carers see this reflected back at them in advertising, and social media visits and meetings.
As part of our work we are scrutinised and sometimes end up in allegations, many not supported and more often than not unfounded yet treated awfully during this process.

Everyone has an opinion of what good enough care looks like but rarely asks listens or acts on foster carers’ voices. So foster carers especially are hoping for real change in how we can improve the current system for children and the foster carers who care for them.

There are many people working hard to influence this change from all sides, care experienced, foster carers and those directly working with foster carers and children because they are warm human beings who care deeply. What I think the majority of us want is a care system that cares!

FosterWiki is a great resource for foster carers or for those who have an interest in fostering in general or maybe are thinking about fostering now or in the future. What’s good about this is it is written by foster carers, for foster carers and this is evolving all the time with subjects that really matter to foster carers. There is a union NUPFC The National Union of Professional Foster Carers union and this is an approved and certified trade union for foster carers.

At FosterWiki the team is positive and excited that change is coming. We are excited about trauma-informed training, real qualifications that count not just in a fostering role but are transferable and absolutely essential to have. That the bar will be raised and we will see professional foster carers.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual every day for the thousands of foster carers who carry on and do what they do best in championing children and wanting the best for them to succeed.

Becoming a professional foster carer on my journey I can honestly say from children to careleavers and well into adulthood, they have all touched my life and all matter.

To have been part of a journey for many years supporting children who came to us with much pain & loss, lots of sleepless nights and tears, and not just on their part. To now experiencing feeling safer, being confident, happy, supported and going on to do great things.

As a foster carer, it is our ongoing work in championing, giving stability in building that relationship which gives children the chance to thrive into successful adults -now that is the most humbling experience ever and this is what foster carers do.