Calling For Change in Foster Care

Calling For Change in Foster Care

We are all aware, from the research conducted by Foster Care Angels and other academics, that Foster Care in New South Wales is in crisis.

Foster carers and case workers are leaving the system meaning that already traumatised and vulnerable children are enduring further trauma and hardship through not having a stable, loving home to grow up in.

At the end of the day we all want what is best for these vulnerable children and this means that something needs to change.  If we all want what is best for the children, why is the system not working?  Why are foster carers seen as the enemy and being pit against the biological family? 

These children need support, as do the biological family from which they have been removed.  Why are diabolical decisions being made that further traumatise children instead of their being a holistic view with biological families being encouraged to embrace the additional love and support for their children that foster parents can offer?

At Foster Care Angels we would like to see a change in attitude.  We would like to see caseworkers facilitating meetings with foster parents and biological parents that see them working together, where possible, to really put the needs of the children first.  Surely the more positive relationships a child witnesses and is a part of the better the outcomes for these children?  Encouraging biological family to see carers as an extended part of their family that also loves and carers for these children is a positive thing but this rarely, if ever happens.  Time and again we are seeing children being removed from carers where they have lived for 8 years or more, being restored to family or moved to new carers with no contact being permitted with their previous family.  This adds to the trauma they have already endured, reinforces feelings of instability and further impacts on their ability to form meaningful, long term connections and relationships.

At Foster Care Angels we want to see the needs of the child being put before the needs of the biological parents and other workers in the system.  We believe this can be done through increasing training, support and awareness in all areas of the fostering system and we are ready and able to do that NOW!!

The following training and support is ready to go:

  1. Training for caseworkers to develop empathy and to gain an understanding of a carers day to day experience. Changing caseworker perceptions of foster carers to help facilitate better working relationships between carers and caseworkers.
  2. Improved training for foster carers entering the system that provides them with practical skills to adequately prepare them for the children they are likely to become carers for.
  3. Training and support for foster carers. Foster Carers are leaving the system at an unprecedented rate.  The reasons are lack of independent support, poor working relationships with caseworkers and the detrimental impact fostering has on their biological children.
  4. Training and support for the biological children of foster cares. Biological children are front line carers who receive no support or recognition for the front-line services they provide.
  5. Mental health education and support for foster children. Life outcomes for child who have experienced out of home care are poor compared to their peers.  Our early intervention, life skills program aims to change the life trajectory’s for children in foster care.

As one of our carers says it is not the system that is broken but the people who are working within the system that are ego driven and do not consider the wider impacts of decisions they are making daily.  We know that through training, advocacy and support real changes can be made in the system that can be cost effective and without the need for massive, costly change.

For further information on the services of Foster Care Angels please visit our website www.fostercareangels.org.au or email wendy@fostercarenangels.org.au

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