By Allison Poyzer, Placements Officer
As we’ve shifted to a new way of living our lives during social distancing, Team Fostering has adapted to a new way of working with our young people, our carers, local authorities and many other organisations that feed into our foster care. However, we are very aware that there are children and young people who still urgently need our help while things change around us. Team Fostering Placements Officer Allison Poyzer explains why many children still need a safe place to stay, especially during lockdown.
During these very uncertain times of Covid-19, one thing that remains a certainty is that Looked After children and young people are still in need of fostering homes. If we look at the reasons why young people come into care; domestic violence, neglect, parents struggling with mental health, or various forms of abuse, these issues are still there and possibly escalating during this period of stress where schools are closed. Families are in intense lockdown situations and financial and employment uncertainty is a worry for many. As a result, we have not seen any decrease in the foster care referrals that we receive at Team Fostering; there is still very much a need for new foster carers.
Society has been saying, think of this situation as ‘Being safe at home’ rather than ‘Being stuck at home’ but what if your home is not safe? Imagine you are a young person and your safe haven is school. You know you will get a hot meal, see a friendly face, hear a positive comment about you, see your friends, and have a break from the abuse you receive at home or the arguing you hear on a daily basis. Now that the schools have been closed for several weeks, that is a long time for a young person to be trapped in a neglectful situation at home.
Our recruitment service is still ongoing during this pandemic and we continue to look for people to join us and become foster carers. We are also still placing young people with our existing available foster carers. We receive many questions around fostering and Covid-19; what are the risks? How will I cope with children being out of school? How will contact with a child’s birth family take place with social distancing in place? What support is available? To name just a few. We do our best to support our foster carers throughout this time and answer any questions they have.
At Team Fostering we have always been very thorough with our matching of young people to foster carers and this continues to be a priority during the current situation. We are closely following Government guidance to protect our foster carers and young people being placed. Before placing any new young people, we have a series of questions to ask the Local Authority around a young person’s potential exposure to Covid-19.
We are minimising movement of young people between placements so Short Break Care is only put in place when it is absolutely necessary, but we continue to provide support to our young people and foster carers via video calling and regular telephone calls. Our 24/7 foster carer support is still ongoing and will not change or decrease for as long as this crisis situation continues.
You can make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people by becoming a foster carer, and Team Fostering are here to support you through the process.
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit, independent fostering agency that operates across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. The agency is committed to 'Putting Children's Futures First' and recruiting foster carers that are able to provide loving and stable homes for children and young people.
If you'd like to learn more about fostering, you can contact us in the following ways: