Frequent moves to new foster carers is likely to have a negative impact on children who already have a tough start to life. Recent data uncovered by the charity Action for Children revealed that almost one third of foster children in the Southwest, more than 1400, move home two or more times a year.
There is little doubt that moving from one foster home to another frequently will have an unsettling effect on a child or young person whose early life is likely to have been traumatic. Many already struggle with social skills and find education a challenge. For them, future employment prospects are likely to be poor. In addition, mental health, behavioural and emotional issues are all likely to be exacerbated by the insecurity caused by frequent moves.
Fostering can be a difficult task. Children and young people who have had traumatic experiences will naturally find it hard to trust, and if this cannot be addressed, the relationship between them and their foster carer may well break down. The child has to leave not only their home, but also their friends and, most likely, their school. None of this helps to address the insecurities of a foster child.
Foster carers do have access to training if needed and there is a helpline available, Fosterline, which offers advice on any aspect of fostering. Fortunately, there are many instances of a good relationship being built between foster carer and fostered child. Many foster carers are genuine in their desire to help support the children, enable them to feel secure and give them the possibility of a better future. The foster children are happy to stay in a safe place where they can eventually move on emotionally from any bad experiences they have had.
There is always a need for more foster parents who genuinely want to help disadvantaged children. All that is needed is a spare room, a kind heart and the ability to support a troubled child.
Should you wish to seek any legal advice on matters concerning Child Law and Social Services intervention, you can reach our Exeter office on +44(0)1392 421777 or our Plymouth office on +44(0)1752 674999.