The Fostering Network raises the profile of the importance of foster carer’s maintaining an ongoing connection with children formerly in their care.

The Fostering Network’s latest campaign is about keeping foster carers and children connected. In fact, their ‘Keep Connected’ campaign is “calling on everyone – including governments, social work professionals, fostering services, foster carers and adopters – who plays a part in enabling children and young people to move within, or out of, the care system to support them to maintain their most important relationships.”

The Fostering Network has conducted research on children and young people maintaining relationships with their former foster carers. It makes for interesting reading and you can see the results and their recommendations on their website. Although, take a moment to read a couple of the statistics that stood out for us:

  • Over one in five children and young people in care, and care leavers never keep in contact with former foster carers, with reasons cited including ‘not being allowed’.
  • While around one third of children and young people in care and care leavers have been prevented from having contact with a former foster carer.

When the foster care of a child or young person comes to an end which could be because of adoption, they’ve grown too old for the system and are now adults, or moved to live with a family member, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship should be over with the former foster carer. The foster carer will have spent time listening, guiding, supporting and encouraging that child or young person to grow. So, if the child or young person would still like contact, there should be means to allow this. One of the reasons why a child or young person gets fostered, is so that they get to feel part of a family. So it’s not far fetched to think that they would like to stay in touch with a former carer, as that person may be perceived as family by that person.

Continuous support

Keeping in touch, remaining interested in a foster child or young person’s growth and to be there to offer support if necessary, can be so beneficial. It can help maintain that level of stability during a transition to another new phase in a young person’s life. Fostered children have already had to deal with so much in their life. So, not being able to continue being in contact with a foster carer they have grown to trust, could be detrimental to their continuous development and pathway to carving their own life.

Susan’s placement

Susan, who was approved to be a foster carer in 2014, has had seven placements and is presently fostering a 15-month-old girl who is waiting for adoption. In 2015, she fostered an 11-year-old boy for 6 months who had already had several placements and went on to have many more.

Two weeks ago, she answered the door and there he was. As she was welcoming him with open arms, he was asking her ‘do you remember me?’ She was delighted to see him and to hear how he was getting on; he was there to apologise for his challenging behaviour and to thank her for his time in her family. Susan says: “It was a lovely and totally unexpected meeting, when he left, we both felt energised and happy”

Read more about our foster carer stories and find out about the challenges and rewards of fostering.

We foster children from inner and outer London Boroughs so are always looking for new foster carers. If you think you have what it takes to be a foster carer or if you’re already a carer and would like to work with us, get in touch today on 020 8313 3304 or via our online contact form.

If you’re a foster carer interested to find out more about the Fostering Network’s campaign to Keep Connected visit The Fostering Network.