Coram Voice says children’s views should be at the heart of the National Fostering Stocktake
Coram Voice has responded to the Government’s call for evidence for a National Fostering Stocktake, saying that the success of foster care should be measured on how well children and young people themselves say that they are doing.
The charity said that children and young people should themselves help identify the qualities required of foster carers, and be included in recruitment and training to ensure there is a focus on what is important to them.
The response comes after the charity listened to children and young people via its ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey, a tool for measuring the quality of looked-after children’s care experience and their sense of wellbeing.
The survey found that looked after children and young people want carers whom they can trust, who are willing to care for them in the face of adversity, set boundaries, forgive mistakes, and give second chances.
What children want from their foster carers
It also found that foster carers have an important role in helping children and young people to recover from their past, develop resilience, and thrive. This may include enabling the relationships that are important to them by facilitating birth family contact, taking in sibling groups, keeping pets, and supporting their friendships.
The children and young people surveyed said that good carers give them opportunities to have fun by involving them in activities and encouraging them in their own hobbies. They ensure that they have access to the outdoors and opportunities to learn skills they need for the future. They are sensitive to how they feel and notice and support them with their worries.
In brief, children and young people appreciate foster carers who are willing to have a laugh, give love and make them feel like one of the family, who ensure they have bedrooms they like and that they are included in family.
What looked after children want from professionals
Children and young people want their wishes and feelings to inform the decisions that are made about their care. Understanding what has been decided and why decisions are made is essential for them.They also want the professionals around them to help and support them in developing trusting relationships.
What children in care said:
Family, friends, and pets
"I live with two of my brothers but my little brother and sister are fostered by someone else. I miss them and would like to see them more often." (child, 8-10yrs)
"I like my foster’s dog. When we go for a walk together, it’s like being in a proper family." (child, 4-7yrs)
"I would like to go on holiday with my foster cares and family which would make me feel more included. They will let me go but social worker has said no." (child, 11-18yrs)
"Being in care is the best thing that has happened to be because now I feel safe." (child, 11-18yrs)
"I just keep being moved around. I have moved I think 7 times in the last 6 months. This makes me confused and scared. It has been dark and scary when I move and I am told where as we drive. I never meet the people beforehand and my things take time to catch up with me." (child, 8-10yrs)
Find out more
You can read the full response from Coram Voice here and find out more about the Bright Spots project here. Or for more information, contact Linda Briheim-Crookall, 07471 350044, firstname.lastname@example.org