*This is a paid collaboration*
As a parent, and actually just as a human being, I strongly believe that ALL children have the right to a safe and loving home, and to have adults in their life who care for and guide them respectfully as they become independent little people. Unfortunately due to a variety of different situations and circumstances this isn’t always straightforward for every family. Occasionally children aren’t able to stay in their current homes, and other services have to step in and help find and provide either temporary or permanent homes for these vulnerable kids.
Obviously leaving your home and family is incredibly difficult regardless of the situation there, and lots of these children will have experienced trauma and will need extra love and support. Foster families are hugely important in this process, and are able to help provide comfort, warmth, safety and love to these children who really are in need. Compass Fostering are one of the companies who work to find supportive and loving homes for the young people who need them, and they rely on those who can offer up their homes and their hearts. Compass Fostering recently conducted a survey on the public perception of fostering within the UK, and they were really struck by the current lack of awareness on the subject. They recently got in touch with me and asked me to help share the survey’s findings, to discuss some of these misconceptions and raise awareness of the real foster care situation currently.
Foster Care in the UK – The Reality
Raising awareness of the current reality of foster care in the UK is important for organisations like Compass Fostering, as they are always in need of more caring homes. Currently there are around 53,000 children and young people in the fostering system, but over 3/4 of those surveyed were completely unaware that the numbers were that high. Almost the same amount of people had no idea how many foster homes there are in the UK – that number is as low as 0.2% of households.
Compass Foster Carers
Compass Fostering also surveyed current foster parents, most of whom have been fostering for between 1-5 years and some for over 10. 78% of the carers have fostered more than one young person, 44% have cared for five or more and 22% have cared for more than ten children or young people. It’s amazing to have been able to have a positive impact on so many young people, and they have undoubtedly had a positive affect on the carers themselves too.
The carers were also asked to rate which factors were important to them when deciding to become involved in fostering. 88% selected to help children/young adults have a secure family environment, 29% listed previous involvement with the care system, 28% said past experiences in their own lives and 24% said it was a way to challenge themselves. I think that particularly those who spoke about their own personal history within the fostering system really illustrates what an impactful and special role it can be, and I genuinely admire those who have been inspired by people who perhaps helped to support them as a young child or teen. Compass Fostering also discovered that 86% of those asked were still in touch with either some or all of their fostered children and young people, which shows how amazing the bond between child and foster family can be.
Becoming a Compass Foster Carer
Becoming a foster carer is a huge task, and something that requires a massive amount of someone’s time, patience and strength, but is ultimately an incredibly rewarding thing to take on. To provide a safe and loving environment for a young child who is at their most vulnerable; who may feel like they have no one else in the world and may be struggling with trauma or demons of their own, is probably one of the most amazing things someone could do. Over half of the people surveyed said it’s something they would possibly consider, and they listed wanting to help others have a secure family environment as a reason they would want to get involved with fostering. When asked about the values needed to successfully care for vulnerable children and young people the majority of respondents listed patience, kindness, empathy, resilience and being motivated – qualities we are strive to have and be.
To find out more about fostering, including the allowance, benefits and support available to carers, head over to Compass Fostering.