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Housing fostered children differently

(57 Posts)
stopandstandup123 Thu 31-Mar-16 14:13:51

Not a foster carer but interested so please be gentle if I am not going in the right direction with this.

With local authorities being strapped for cash, why can we not use large central empty properties in each town to house children in foster care from around secondary school age onwards. I am not talking about the horrific care homes of old with their stigmas, harsh regimes and abuse hidden away in remote places. I hope we have moved on from that towards kindness, support and life skills building in a nurturing environment where children are listened to and part of the planning of the service to them. There may be children still at risk of harm not able to come into a foster home due to shortages of carers and this could be a workable alternative. It would keep children close to their communities.

If the right skilled adults - social worker, support worker, care worker - were put in place (24 hour round the clock), a larger property may be a great place to build those independence skills and life long peer support networks. (Similar to Halls of Residence in Uni's but with more support/staff as the children would be younger). We have a massive shortage of foster carers and many due to leave in the next few years due to retirement.

Just a thought.

notagiraffe Thu 31-Mar-16 19:58:07

We do. They are called Children's Homes. My DSis has worked in one all her life.

SallyDonovan Thu 31-Mar-16 20:00:37

But that's exactly what Children's Home's are OP - or are supposed to be at any rate.

TurnOffTheTv Thu 31-Mar-16 20:03:54

How could you not know that OP?

guerre Thu 31-Mar-16 20:06:17

Large central empty properties? Where would these be, exactly? There aren't any round here. And they closed down all the children's homes, and opened three-bed homes instead as apparently that's better for children.

Houseworkavoider Thu 31-Mar-16 20:06:33

Have you watched 'Tracy Beaker'?
I think children's homes are supposed to be like that.

NerrSnerr Thu 31-Mar-16 20:07:00

Isn't that what children's homes are like-- it is on Tracy Beaker.--

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 20:08:24

There's also a few homes that are bought by the local council but aren't 'manned' by one consistent worker - or used to be. Not convinced by the 'keeping close to communities' argument though.

Feefeefs Thu 31-Mar-16 20:16:50

How bizarre! Where did you think the children went if there was no foster carers or if foster care wasn't suitable?

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 20:21:06

I think on OPs behalf 'she was only asking'

hmm

I don't personally think there's anything wrong with asking a question.

MadauntofA Thu 31-Mar-16 20:26:15

Most areas are trying to move away from large children's homes to actual homes with families or very small homes with 4/5 children at most - most children hugely benefit from being within a family, and not having people "working" to support them. More families in whatever context (including single people etc) are needed, not empty large buildings with "support" These children should be treated in the same way as birth children - not kicked out into independent living at 16/17

BeaufortBelle Thu 31-Mar-16 20:28:46

Why aren't there enough foster carers though. Surely that is the question. When I couldn't have a third child I briefly looked at it. I don't think we'd have been approved. The system didn't seem to be looking for middle class, christian,married white couples to foster.

MTPurse Thu 31-Mar-16 20:31:32

I hope the Tracy Beaker references were sarcasm.

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 20:32:09

I agree mad but there are some cases that just aren't suitable to living with a family.

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 20:32:31

Blimey beaufort really!?

BeaufortBelle Thu 31-Mar-16 20:36:14

Yes, really. 16 years ago and in inner London. We were clearly not what the LA was looking for. I had a brief chat with someone and our lifestyle was unlikely to be compatible with the majority of placements.

LittleNelle Thu 31-Mar-16 20:36:42

My friend is a foster carer and is white, christian and married. Maybe they thought you weren't suitable for other reasons?

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 20:36:56

Could you try to explain in what way? (Apologies, my 'really' wasn't doubting you, it was a cluck of annoyance at the system.)

drspouse Thu 31-Mar-16 20:44:30

We are adopters but looked into fostering first and went through the training. We're white, middle class and married. And Christian. There are reasons why people might not be suitable foster carers ("we won't talk positively about homosexuality" is one of them) but those aren't them.

I was out collecting for Christian Aid once and at one terraced house in a normal residential street a man answered the door and said "oh sorry this is a children's home!". Knowing the other houses in the street there are probably 4 or 5 bedrooms, one for the worker and the rest for the children would be a normal home life. Though not very "family".

MTPurse Thu 31-Mar-16 20:49:50

I agree mad but there are some cases that just aren't suitable to living with a family

Which cases?

The child who is not used to having a supporting family?
The child who is violent?
The child who uses drugs and alcohol?
The child who has been abused so is sexually seeking approval from anyone and everyone?
The child who kicks off at any opportunity?
The child who runs away at any opportunity?
The child who would rather live on the streets than be in children's home?
The child who has asd?
The child who has an eating disorder?
The child who has no friends?
The child who has a criminal record as long as their arm?
The child that is gay?

The list is endless. But every child deserves a chance.

So which child would you say did not deserve to live in a loving family home
raininginspringtime?

LittleNelle Thu 31-Mar-16 20:56:08

It's not that some children don't deserve to live in a loving family, but it isn't always possible for a child or young person to live safely in a family home for many of the reasons you mention. A child who is very violent or sexually abusive may not be able to live in a family home, particularly if there are other children. If a single adult or couple cannot keep themselves and the child safe, then it isn't a suitable placement. And that's whether it is a foster placement or a birth family.

Feefeefs Thu 31-Mar-16 20:59:33

Mad aurora where is this? Also where kicks them out at 16/17? Presuming you are not in the UK?

She said "aren't suitable" Mta. There are children who have had multiple "failed" foster placements who require alternative accommodation. Some children can be so damaged by what has happened to them that a "loving family environment" is not possible.

raininginspringtime Thu 31-Mar-16 21:03:07

Thank you, Little

MT your post beautifully demonstrates how it is possible to entirely change someone's meaning by altering just one word: I did not say 'deserve' (and never would) but what an emotional response it indeed put us in mind of.

Some young people are not suitable (or, more accurately, suited) to living with a family and in some extreme cases can actually find living with a family has the opposite of the desired effect for young people who have been badly traumatised in the past in the same setting.

I am interested to know how you equate a child attracted to people the same sex as him or herself with 'a child with a criminal record as long as their arm' hmm

MTPurse Thu 31-Mar-16 21:09:41

I am interested to know how you equate a child attracted to people the same sex as him or herself with 'a child with a criminal record as long as their arm'

I was just asking in which scenario you believe a child does not deserve a family and for what reason. Why would you pick those two examples to throw at me?

Nevermind, I'm hiding the thread now and shouldn't have posted in the first place.

I spent many years in CH and they were the worst years of my life.

LittleNelle Thu 31-Mar-16 21:12:00

Has anyone said any child doesn't deserve a family? It's more that it isn't always safe and possible.

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