Care experienced teenagers expressed their opinions to the Education Committee at the Fostering Inquiry earlier in November. Young people in care told the select committee that they wanted more support to keep in touch with siblings and former friends, as well as more information about the foster families with whom they are placed.
Connor, 14, told the committee, including the Minister of State for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill, that when he had been moved from one placement to another, he had not been given any background information about his new home and had found this very stressful.
“I didn’t get much info about the carers I was going to be with, about what the household’s like – is it comfortable, is it warm? and stuff. I just got told the carer’s name, didn’t get told what they like doing, I didn’t get a booklet, a prepared booklet, from anyone,” he said.
Connor said things could be improved if local authorities gave both child and foster carer more information about each other.
Connor added that he felt that all of the care experienced teenagers had made a “massive difference, I think we’ve put them on the back foot and made them realise foster care in England isn’t going as planned.”
17 year old Rachel told MPs how important it is to keep siblings together and reflected whether her separation from her siblings could have been dealt with differently.
“I was told I was moved away from them because I was overprotective with them, which in my eyes, as a sister, and you’re moving away from home, I feel like it’s an instinct straightaway to be protective, because you’re moving in with a stranger that you don’t know and you have to protect your siblings.
But then I feel that instead of separating me from them, they could have done some work with me to say, ‘The foster carer can look after your siblings,’ or like tell me I don’t need to do everything for them and I don’t have to put a barrier up – they could have given me time to settle in so then they didn’t have to separate us.
But they separated us and then I wasn’t allowed to see them for a long period of time because they said that I was giving my little sister a lot of bad memories and bad thoughts, and I was thinking, ‘Have you actually sat down to question her whether she’s crying because she misses me or whether she’s crying because of this or this?”
Rachel expressed that while she now had contact with her siblings, it was only once a month. Click here to read more.
Fosterline recognises the need to recruit more foster carers especially for sibling groups so that they can remain together. This has been the focus of our OneMoreHome campaign during November. To read these articles, click here.