This year’s awareness campaign runs from May 9-22 and it showcases the commitment, passion, and dedication of foster carers
The annual Foster Care Fortnight awareness campaign is organised by The Fostering Network to raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives. It also supports the ongoing need for more foster carers.
This year’s Foster Care Fortnight theme is #FosteringCommunities to celebrate the strength and resilience of fostering communities and all they do to ensure children are cared for and supported to thrive, and you can follow the campaign on social media with the #FosteringCommunities and #FCF22 hashtags.
The numbers of fostering households and foster carers in England are at their highest ever levels, but this increase has not kept up with the increase of the number of children in foster care in England. Foster Wales states that there is a need to recruit an estimated 550 new foster carers and families across Wales every year to keep up with the numbers of children who need care and support, whilst replacing carers who retire or are able to provide a permanent home to children.
The Social Workers Union (SWU) General Secretary John McGowan said, “I am from a family who fostered – my parents were foster carers for over 100 children in their journey and I grew up in the world of fostering alongside these children. Later when I became a Fostering Panel chair I really focussed on the experiences of sons and daughters of foster carers as they can be overlooked when support is required. Fostering is a terrific way to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children but it is essential that foster carers are properly supported, and this includes the children of foster carers because fostering is a family endeavour.”
This year SWU is pleased to invite FosterTalk to speak to our social work community about fostering and ways to support the foster carers who transform children’s lives and enable them to flourish.
At FosterTalk we feel privileged to be counted as part of the support network of 40,000 foster carers across the UK. We cannot stress enough the importance of support in the retention and recruitment of foster carers and can support fostering services in these aspects through our services.
Foster Carers regularly tell us there is always more support they could use, even when professionals might tell them there is already an abundance of support in place. We must question whether what we traditionally view as ‘supportive’ is truly helpful or whether we need to be more creative and dynamic in our approach. By actively listening to foster carers’ views and being curious about the things they may not be able to communicate verbally to us, can help us to develop genuine empathy with their day-to-day experiences and needs.
The role of the Supervising Social Worker is a complex and fundamental one within this community. They are immensely important to foster carers who tell us that a consistent and supportive SSW often makes the difference between them continuing to foster during challenging times or feeling like they may ‘give up’. They navigate the many facets of their role on a daily basis from supporter, to supervisor, assessor, advocate, mediator, safe guarder, planner and partner of other professionals and organisations involved in the foster carer and child(ren’s) lives to name but a few.
In recognition of the vital importance of support, FosterTalk have introduced a new award this year for Fostering Supporter of the Year. You can view all the categories and show your support for the fostering community by nominating by 31st May!