Foster Carers: Why They Stay and Why They Leave

Foster Carers: Why They Stay and Why They Leave

Foster Carers: Why They Stay and Why They Leave

Foster Carers: Why They Stay and Why They Leave

Synopsis

"Foster carers look after two-thirds of the children cared for by English local authorities at any time. The recruitment and retention of these carers is one of these authorities central concerns. Against this background, Foster Carers examines the joys, sadnesses and strains of fostering, the support carers want and need, and the reasons why they continue or cease fostering." "Drawing on questionnaire responses from a thousand foster carers across seven different local authorities, the authors highlight the importance of providing support that: is adapted to the carers' families; contains the basic elements of reasonable payment, relevant training and reliable social work support; responds sensitively to serious crises and treats carers as part of a team; and meets the specific needs of carers such as carers' groups and relief breaks." "Foster Carers forms one part of the largest recent study into foster care in the UK. It is an invaluable resource for policy makers and practitioners, as well as local authorities formulating policies for the support and training needed by foster carers, and is essential reading for social work professionals, academics and foster carers themselves." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Foster care is a remarkable and paradoxically a very ordinary activity. It involves children and young people living and being cared for in ‘ordinary families’. These families, however, are not their own but are sponsored, funded and regulated by the state. In England as elsewhere the linchpin of this system is the 25,000 or so foster carers who undertake the awesome task of looking after other people’s children. This book is about them.

The book is written at a time of concern about the shortage of foster carers, a growing acknowledgement of the complexity of the task and a recognition that if we are to recruit and keep foster carers in sufficient numbers then effort must be put into this both nationally and locally. To do this successfully, we need to know more about the strengths and strains of the current system: who the carers are and who they are not; what they expect from fostering and what rewards they get from it; what they find difficult about it; and why they continue to foster or cease doing so. Our research was designed to contribute to an understanding of these issues and thus to underpin efforts to reduce strain and decrease turnover. We hope that it will be useful to all those involved in foster care, whether carers themselves, social workers, managers or policy makers and thus, indirectly, to foster children themselves.

The book is one of a set of three complementary titles that draw on the findings of three linked studies of foster care undertaken over a six-year period in seven English local authorities. Each book explores a different aspect of fostering. As already described this, the first book, concentrates primarily on foster carers: who they are, what diminishes or increases the stresses they feel and what makes them likely to find foster care fulfilling and to want . . .

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