According to the Fostering Network, children in the East of England need approximately 700 additional foster carers. Moreover these children are paying a hefty price for the shortfall.
The importance of being local
Many children in foster care have a powerful need to be near the familiar. Often, school or friendship groups might be the only positive thing in their lives. Therefore, when children are taken away from both family and friends or school they are devastated.
“We believe that children in foster care deserve a sensitive matching with carers,” says Eleanor Vanner of Eastern Fostering Services. “However, we are finding it increasingly hard to match children because of a lack of carers. This means we are unable to help many children which is heart-breaking.”
Professionals working in fostering want to provide stable, long-term families who can help children reach their potential. They want to work towards a plan for that child. For example, the child might be working towards reunification with their birth family. Or they may be looking for long term fostering until independence. The smaller the pool of local carers, the more difficult it becomes to see the plan through.
“Children in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are crying out for local carers,” says Lucy Stevens, Foster Carer. “Indeed, they need carers who can offer them the continuity of positive things and the sense of stability that brings.”
What qualities do foster carers need?
Foster carers need to have a spare room available for fostering. Moreover they need an understanding of the challenges that children in foster care face. Foster carers do not need qualifications.
“Indeed we would much rather see kindness, compassion and empathy,” says Eleanor. “If you feel you would like to help children and make a difference to society as a whole, fostering is a good place to start.”
How to get in touch?
If you are interested in fostering and live in Essex, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via Facebook.