Foster Care Fortnight: It takes a village
18 May 2023
18 May 2023
This Foster Care Fortnight, we are raising awareness of how vital having a supportive community is for our foster carers. We know it takes a village to raise a child, and we walk beside our foster families making sure they are never alone.
Here our CEO, Rachel Cowdry explains why our foster families our so important for the young people we support:
Every child deserves to feel loved, to belong and to feel safe. However, there are some children and young people that have a traumatic start in life as their birth family cannot give them these three essential elements. Imagine feeling scared, overwhelmed, hurt, abused, unloved and unworthy of love in the place that is supposed to support you to be the best you can be; your family.
We know that young people enter the care system in traumatic circumstances and often they behave in a way that endangers them and those around them which can be hard for us to understand. Sometimes this means that they have to move from home to home before they find a place to call home. This can cause even more hurt, more trauma and sets them back further.
Many thrive when they begin to feel safe and loved and this is thanks to the incredible work that foster carers across the country do. But with over 100,000 children and young people in care in the UK, there are simply not enough high quality, loving, understanding, patient families to support them.
Following the independent review of children’s social care in May 2022, the government response this year pledged to invest over £27 million into fostering so care can be available for more children who need it. Although these changes are welcome, with thousands of new foster families needed every year they lack the urgency the current broken system requires. That’s why this Foster Care Fortnight, we are raising awareness of the great work our foster families here at Break do, and how this can change a young person’s life.
We know that fostering can be difficult and challenging, but it can also be hugely rewarding. It takes a village to raise a child, and at Break we have a wonderful fostering team that creates a whole family around each foster parent and child.
Fostering is just one of many services we provide young people, and we act as an extended family, walking alongside them every step of the way. Working through a trauma informed lens, we support our foster carers to parent therapeutically by seeing behaviour as a form of communication rather than something that needs to be managed. Our foster support carers are available to offer foster families some much-needed time and space for themselves, whilst giving their young person a loving place to stay. And we have a range of activities that help that young person find their future – from job taster sessions, apprenticeships and learning skills such as being a barista on our CoffeeBreak van, to our Mentoring team that offer informal relationships to guide young people through life.
Young people in our fostering service go on to achieve great things in their lives – some have joined the police, others have gone to university, many are living independently with the support of the Break extended family. Some have told us that moving to Break’s fostering service was the first time in care they felt loved and like they had a home. And this is why we do what we do.
However, it is not enough. More young people need what we can offer. And we can only offer more if more families come forward to be foster carers.
The best foster families come from all walks of life and have a variety of motivations but most of all they want to offer is stability, love and time to a young person who really needs it. It is hard – but it is very rewarding to see, hear and feel the progress each young person makes. It is amazing.
As one of our foster carers told us “I remember the panel asking us ‘why do you want to foster?’ and my answer was ‘well why wouldn’t you?’, because I think if you’re a calm, warm person, who can provide empathy, you can make such a difference to even just one child who needs it.”
Rachel Cowdry, Break CEO
Would you like to find out more about being a foster carer? Break are running informal online information sessions where you can find out more about fostering opportunities in Norfolk and the extensive support available.
Visit the Break Fostering page or call 01603 971293.