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Why are we so short of foster carers?

(110 Posts)
Fosterangel Thu 16-Aug-12 20:38:27

Our LA admits that it is desperately short of foster carers. Where are all the amazing potential foster carers? What is the reason for holding back? Why are we not recruiting enough foster carers or retaining the foster carers we have?

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 10:31:49

Why wouldn't it happen MrsD ? When I started fostering I was in a rented small house for 3 yrs until our divorce settlement and we moved back home and I had babies in my bedroom, sometimes 2 babies and sometimes under 3 yr olds. It wasnt ideal but it worked for us and sw were very reasonable. You have a lot of love to give and would be ideal smile

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Tue 21-Aug-12 10:40:15

Thanks bonnies that is very kind smile

I have made several enquiries and the lack of spare room has always been a big no no.
I have tried local LAs and agencies and had the same answer.

They have all been really enthusiastic because of my experience but we can't get past the room.
As I have 3 dcs at home (youngest only 2) and one with SN in a three bedroom, we won't have a spare till the two youngest move out and that could be 20 years away yet!

I would live to do family link fostering but we don't have that service in our borough. We really, really need it. I work with the families who would benefit most.

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 11:26:11

I like the look of the family link fostering, not seen it before. Think NanaNina would like that too!

What a shame about the room situation. Have you explained it is actually recommended by professionals that you share a room when the child is under 6 months. Also it does make it so much nicer for a child who might be disturbed being in a strange environment to know there is someone there at night. I hate all these rules and regulations that don't take into account the childs best interest.

NanaNina Tue 21-Aug-12 18:40:38

In the LA I worked in, it was fine to have a baby under 6 months in room with carers, in fact it was encouraged and as you say Bonnie it is recommended by health care professionals.

Not sure what the family link fostering is Bonnie, especially as you think I might like it!!

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 18:57:38

Hi NanaNina I just did a search and this is a quote from the website

*Fostering Together has a strong reputation for caring for children with Disabilities and Attachment difficulties. The 'Attachment Project' is run by very experinced and highly qualified staff with direct therapeutic parenting experience. The project works across adoption and fostering placements to enable good outcomes for children and their carers.

Foatering Together does not believe in making money out of children’s disadvantages, therefore whilst Foster Carer’s and staff are paid comparably to other Fostering Agencies, our profits are channelled back into developing our services for children and young people, Foster Carer’s and Local Authorities.*

So I thought it was probably up your street grin

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Tue 21-Aug-12 19:07:58

nana but would the LA have approved a prospective FC for assessment if they didn't have a spare room? The reason I have been given is that you wouldn't be only approved for babies but for 0+ so you have to have the room. Perhaps more specialised categories of FC before approval rather than after is the answer?

Family Link is when a FC is allocated to a family who need regular and long term care. It's is for children with disabilist rather than purely CP reasons.
So the child can be with the Carer every other weekend for the whole of their childhhood (for example)

Unfortunately where it doesnt exist families can be offered s.20 which is totally inappropriate and puts them off asking for support again.

Bonkerz Tue 21-Aug-12 19:13:49

I would live to foster. I am currently a childminder and have lots of experience with children who have extra needs etc as my own son has autism and I've worked with lots of children over the last 16 years in my career. I am overweight and don't have a spare bedroom! That's it! I can look after a child all day everyday but I can't foster!!!!! angrysad

Vaginald Tue 21-Aug-12 19:17:56

I would low to foster, I personally feel I'm too young to take all ages currently (I'm 25 as is dh). Dh also worries about the impact it may have on family as a foster child could potentially need a huge amount of one to one nurturing depending on their background, which would be harder while our children are young. I hope I can foster in around 10 years time.

Vaginald Tue 21-Aug-12 19:18:52


Oh & also, lack of spare room!

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 19:25:38

ooops maybe I have it wrong I was looking at

hanahsaunt Tue 21-Aug-12 19:27:46

Fostering is something I'm seriously considering at the moment, once we've moved house. I need to speak to our LA but I wonder if I would have too many caveats - we would like 0-1yo (mainly for the room sharing thing - no practical spare room since the one we have is in an annex at the bottom of the garden), sensitive to the impact on my others with one just starting at secondary and one at primary having an older child (at this point in time) is potentially disruptive in an already disrupted (and peri-pubertic) time. I also wonder if it's possible to specify that we would like emergency, very short-term placements. That all sounds terribly demanding but painfully aware of the very long term impact of parachuting older children into a peri-teenage family and the ability to hand back at the end of the placement.

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Tue 21-Aug-12 19:29:48

I doubt you are wrong bonnie different names are used for different schemes and they change over time smile

bronze Tue 21-Aug-12 19:30:43

For me it's money/space. I have considered it in the past but we can barely to house our own children.

expatinscotland Tue 21-Aug-12 20:25:14

Money and spare room. We have to downsize soon as we are now under-occupying since our child's death.

Vaginald Tue 21-Aug-12 20:29:07

Oh expat, sorry to hear that sad

SecretNutellaMedallist Tue 21-Aug-12 20:29:14

Expat- they are making you get a smaller house because A has died?

Shocked beyond belief.

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 20:36:12

So sorry to hear that Expat sad

Like SecretNutella I am very shocked at the callousness of this.

expatinscotland Tue 21-Aug-12 20:37:25

We'll lose too much of our HB to stay.

charlottehere Tue 21-Aug-12 20:40:14

part fo me would like to do it. reasons for not, DH is dead against, impact on my own Dcs, currently couldn't as pregnant, haven't got a spare room, not sure I could cope.

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Tue 21-Aug-12 20:41:54

Expat I am so sorry. I had no idea. How cruel. sad

wonderstuff Tue 21-Aug-12 21:12:14

I would love to foster, but not having a spare room is the issue here. Money would be tight too. In days gone past I understand that foster carers qualified for council housing with the space to allow them to foster. It seems the whole system supporting looked after children is underfunded and neglected. It isn't a vote winner is it. We as a society need to step up because the consequences of getting it wrong are so dire. I do think there is an element of ramping up failure in order to privatise in all sections of the public sector. We are seeing it in schools. So sad to watch these kids in school being pushed from pillar to post with inadequate support. Need more funding, more support..

Gatorade Tue 21-Aug-12 21:35:41

I am hoping you all might be able to tell me that the Health Visitor I happened to talk to about fostering is wrong....

Basically I would like to be a foster carer once my DD is 2 years old (I believe she needs to be at least this age) if I decide not to go back to work. I wouldn't be doing it for the money, I would happily take in children (short to medium term) for no remuneration at all. We have plenty of space/spare bedrooms and if I don't return to work plenty of time to support a child.

Now for the issue, that I am hoping is a HV mistake. The HV said it is very unlikely I would be considered for two reasons:
- Firstly, we are a mixed race couple (my DH is British but ethnically Chinese, I am white British), she said that we could only foster a child of the same ethnic mix as our own DC and there wouldn't be any demand (I can't believe this is true, although I have heard that this does have an impact on adoption).
- Secondly, we would be offering a child 'too much' and it would be cruel to put a foster child into our family as they may then have to go back to less (I again find this odd, especially as I would be looking to take babies who wouldn't be aware of 'material' surroundings etc)

Can anyone who is more clued up about this than me shed any light? Is it worth applying anyway?

scarlet5tyger Tue 21-Aug-12 22:31:51

Gatorade that sounds ridiculous. I'd definitely speak to your LA as I don't agree with anything your HV has told you.

I think to some extent Family Link fostering is being used by my LA - in that FCs are encouraged to keep in touch and be there to support families once their FC have been returned home. I'll quickly point out that there is NO financial reward, or true support, for this though. Once again SS are relying on the strong bond that develops between FC and child and the correct assumption that it's hard to let a child go even when they physically leave us.

And to all those people being put off fostering because of the no spare room "rule", you definitely need to check this out with more than one LA as it certainly isn't the case where I live. It may be more that your LA doesn't need baby foster carers, most LAs are in more of a "crisis" for older children (who obviously do need their own room!)

Vaginald Tue 21-Aug-12 23:37:09

I would ideally like to foster an older child, so again the spare room issue comes into play. Very hard!

bonnieslilsister Tue 21-Aug-12 23:42:53

Gatorade I would definately speak to your LA. I think your HV is wrong.

Scarlet I can think of some families who would only be interested in ongoing support if there was money involved!! Also, how do you do this when you have another child?

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