“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she didn’t know what to do….”
Foster parents used to be mostly volunteers; salt of the earth folk who took in waifs and strays, the needy, and were recompensed by the good feelings of helping those who need it.
Of course there are downsides to that.
The kids who were too difficult didn’t get helped, and instead went to children’s homes. And if your only remuneration - your good feelings - come from helping the needy, there may be some conflict when those needy start to become more able and don’t need you any more. Or with the kids who are too angry to be grateful to you.
But that’s a very last century profile.
Let’s be clear - fostering is a sophisticated, high risk, low supervision, ambitious task. We have come a long way and children who would otherwise have no alternative to residential, institutional living are now often helped to achieve and sustain family life, education and a positive place in society.
This hasn’t happened by accident.
High quality training, professional development and accountability are now mainstream. These must be accompanied by a level of pay for foster parents that enables them to be available and providing effectively for their foster children at all times… thinking about them, recovering, sustaining themselves emotionally to be available again today when they come home from school.
The needs of our fostered children are not those of children from regular, stable homes.
The skills of our foster parents are not those of regular parents.
Other professional helpers get paid...
Nurses and social workers get paid.
Teachers and police officers get paid.
Junior doctors protest and strike when feeling they are not paid enough.
We raise money for MacMillan nurses because of course they must be paid, everybody knows that…
Dudes...what are you thinking???!!!
There has been incredible progress through the work of the independent sector over thirty years to recognise the professionalism and credibility of the stunningly committed few who step in and bring unique skills to care for our most vulnerable children.
Haven’t you noticed? Or is the problem that you have?
Image credit: pixabay
Last modified on Monday, 27 June 2016 14:55