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Lucy Stevens - 17th August 2020
…perhaps lockdown has at once emphasised a devastating problem and revealed a source of hope….
For many hundreds of children, lockdown has exacerbated a reality that many of us will never have to face. As restrictions have slowly eased, we have seen the tip of an iceberg that is the reality for our most vulnerable children.
Many have been locked into abusive and neglectful homes with no hope of help and no ear to hear their voices. We know that reports of domestic violence have increased and we believe that the strains of lockdown on mental health, addiction, finances and relationships will have had a significant impact on children living in already difficult circumstances. Whilst many families will receive help to emerge from these problems, we worry that many children will enter the care system over the coming months. We desperately need more foster carers to provide a safe space for these children to heal.
Anecdotally we know that many people have used lockdown to re-evaluate their lives. You may have asked yourself, “What is my purpose?” “How can I make a difference?” You may feel a strong desire to use your skills and qualities for the good of others.
So perhaps lockdown has at once emphasised a devastating problem and revealed a source of hope.
Could you foster?
Fostering is perhaps one of the hardest, yet one of the most rewarding things you can do to make a long term difference to children and wider society. When done well, with good support and a genuine desire to help and advocate for children, fostering is transformative.
Foster carers are all different and possess a range of skills and qualities. Perhaps the most important of these are warmth, a nurturing personality, a genuine desire to help children, a non-judgmental attitude, empathy and an ability to listen and hear. These qualities help give children their voice.
Children need a secure base in order to form healthy relationships and in order to overcome the trauma of their early years. If you have a spare room and the desire to promote and advocate for vulnerable children, you are already half way there.
How do I become a foster carer?
If you have a spare room and the desire to promote and advocate for vulnerable children, you are already half way there.
We have produced a 5 step guide to help demystify the fostering process. There is a lot of information out there and so we recommend that you contact fostering providers in your area and chat to them about fostering. Good providers will take the time to answer your questions and give you as much information as possible. They should also be able to put you in touch with other foster carers so that you can get a good sense of the reality of fostering.
You could be the hope in these difficult times. Do something precious – find out about fostering.