People tend to feel one of two ways about fostering. They either feel it is a powerful way to make a difference in the lives of children, or they feel it is part of a system that rips children away from their birth families and is therefore a bad thing.
At Eastern Fostering Services, we feel passionately that we exist to improve the lives of children who, for whatever reason and for whatever period of time, can’t be with their birth parents. And so, we’d really like to address the idea that what foster carers do is somehow against this ethos.
We’d like to start by acknowledging that the social care system is by no means perfect and that there are many people who feel they’ve been let down by it. We have the utmost sympathy for people in this situation.
We’d also like to add that as a fostering agency, we always start with the premise that children are best off with their birth families. There have been countless situations over the last few years where our carers have worked tirelessly to ensure that children’s relationships with birth families are nurtured, encouraged and given the best chance of success. Where contact with their families is a constructive, positive and healthy thing for the child, we’ll be behind the scenes supporting it.
However, there are many children for whom contact with their families is either not possible or causes such distress and trauma that they cannot cope emotionally. In these circumstances our role and the role of foster carers is to support children in having the most positive view of their families and themselves within that context.
Many of our foster carers support birth families to stay together by specialising in parent and child fostering. This can take many forms, but typically involves fostering young girls (or couples) with babies who are in need of some sound parenting guidance in order to allow them to keep their babies and raise them safely and securely. These young parents may have been in care themselves or they may not have had positive experiences of being parented that they can draw from; they may have learning difficulties and need additional support to understand the needs of their babies.
We have carers who support children whose siblings may have been adopted or for whom adoption has not been successful and has led to a separation from siblings. Children in these types of situations can have powerful feelings of rejection or guilt or shame and need nurturing carers to help them deal with these feelings and to encourage positive, healthy contact with siblings.
Whatever the situation, whatever the type of fostering, our concern is always for the child at the centre of it all. We understand the importance of a sense of identity for children in care and how a healthy, positive sense of identity can lead to a more secure and balanced childhood. And it’s always this that we strive for for our children and carers.
The system isn’t perfect but hand on heart we can say that we’re so proud of our carers working within that imperfect system, who look out for and often have to fight hard for the well-being of the vulnerable children entrusted to them. They do an amazing job and have an incredible impact on the lives of children.
For more information on fostering with EFS, why not drop into one of our information events or coffee mornings, see www.easternfosteringservices.com/more for more information. Alternatively call us on 01206 299775 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why EFS? At EFS, we believe we have something special. We’re a small, close knit team and we really (really!) care about what we do. We suppose most foster agencies say that, so here are the things we do that show we’re different. Read more...
Like any family, we're a hotchpotch but all united in one thing: our passion for the children and carers we place them with. Read more...
We know that there are a whole host of things that could be stopping you from making that commitment to fostering. But you may be surprised by what we’ve got to say on the subject. Read more...
"If I’m struggling with a situation, EFS are always there to help me think more creatively."
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode one
Cameron – Cameron shows us fostering through the eyes of the child.
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode three
Tricia – Tricia explains the impact of multiple moves on children in foster care.
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode four
Eleanor – Eleanor introduces the subject of unaccompanied asylum seeking children coming into foster care.