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The importance of foster carers and listening to them

Deborah Ennis

Foster Care Fortnight is an opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate foster carers and those individuals who support carers and children and young people. The theme of 2024 is #FosteringMoments, giving all individuals involved across the fostering community a chance to share moments that have mattered most to them.

Over the last year, IMPOWER has supported six local authorities through focused interventions to improve foster carer recruitment, retention, matching and support, using our ‘Family Values’ approach. We have delivered this approach with more than 20 local authorities.

Absolutely crucial to this work has been working alongside and listening to the views of committed and hard-working foster carers and local authority Fostering Service staff.

We have engaged extensively with foster carers across the country and this has highlighted why residents decide to become and continue to be foster carers, and why they choose to foster for local authorities over other options available to them.

“Listen to us as foster carers, after all we are living the experience 24/7.”

A consistent theme across our engagement is foster carers wanting to feel valued and respected. Foster carers want to be consulted and involved in decisions, and be considered as part of the team around the child that they are supporting.

Fostering comes with challenges but foster carers consistently told us that making a difference to the life of a child was the key reason they kept fostering:

  • “We continue fostering for the children we take care of.”
  • “The emotionally and personally rewarding experience of making a difference.”
  • “I love working with the teenagers”.
  • “The pleasure of continuing a close family relationship with one of the first young people who came to me and being an extra grandmother to her 2 year old daughter.”
  • “Foster caring is the hardest role I have ever had…the main reward is keeping the young people out of trouble and hopefully guiding them to becoming well rounded adults.”
  • “You break your heart so that they can go on to live happy and full lives – it’s worth it.” (Comment from a foster carer about foster children moving on to another home or back to their family home.)

We know that foster carers are the best ambassadors a local authority has to support the recruitment of new foster carers to look after children in their local community and we are continuing to work with local authorities to support foster carers in this role.

We want to thank all foster carers for the important work that they do, and in particular those that IMPOWER has engaged with and worked alongside this year to continue to improve services and support for all foster carers.

Written by

Deborah Ennis

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