Qadar Arif reports on the important role foster parents have in Waltham Forest
The sad truth is that many children in Waltham Forest experience severe neglect. The decision to remove a child from their home is not taken easily. There is a vast legal framework involved and ultimately the courts have the final say in what will happen.
Fostering gives a child a safe place to grow up and many children go back home when the time is right. An in-depth assessment determines whether someone has what it takes to foster a child in need. A person’s lifestyle and their home environment are taken into account as the home must be safe enough for a child.
“We’re not looking for a perfect home,” say social workers from Waltham Forest Council. “A foster carer’s home needs to have space for a child to play, study and most importantly to feel comfortable in.”
Foster carers can receive up to £423 per week. This covers all aspects of a child’s care including food, clothing, telephone and travel. David Fry, manager of the Fostering Service explains that Waltham Forest is a very diverse borough.
“We try to place children in similar cultures to their own to lessen the impact of change,” but he adds: “The most important thing we look for are foster carers with empathy and warmth.’’
When someone is interested in becoming a foster carer they attend a foster care training programme. Foster care training is a two way process to find out if fostering is for you. It involves learning about why children come into care and the difficult feelings they may have as a result of neglect and trauma.
The course also includes learning about child development, legislation, and health and safety.
I’d say to anyone thinking about fostering a child – go for it. All you need is a nice warm heart and to be a nice kind person who does not get angry too quick. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us – we just need a safe, kind family to be a part of.
– 15 year-old boy who has been with foster parents since the age of seven
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