Last week I attended the Fostering Network Conference in London held in the beautiful surroundings of the BMA House in Tavistock Square.
The conference was open to anyone work worked within the field including, foster carers, social workers, senior management and policy makers.
The theme of the conference was the “Future of Foster Care” and each speaker brought their own interpretation of what this means from their own perspectives and fields.
I cannot fit into one post all that I took away from this conference but what I do really want to share firstly is what I felt was at the heart of the day.
Regardless of which field the speakers came from the core overview was that the needs of the child should always be in the forefront of every decision made and every piece of policy written.
No matter how many professionals involved in a child’s life we should always remember we are the “team around the child”.
The need for a child to be listened to and their views taken into consideration at all times was paramount.
This point was reiterated when we heard from three care leavers who bravely and elegantly shared their care experiences with us.
Each one spoke about the loss of control of their own lives being a hard thing to accept. Whilst they accepted that some decisions needed to be taken by professionals the desire to be consulted, informed was extremely important to them.
They just wanted to be heard.
One explained that for him this was especially important regarding contact and information regarding his birth family. He understood that seeing his birth mother was not a positive thing for him but he still wanted to know about her and who she was.
‘By understanding my mom’s journey I was able to move forward with my own’.
As foster carers we are the ones there with the children every day. This conference was a great reminder that we really need listen to the children but also how important it is for us to advocate for the children with other professionals.
We are their voices and their advocates and this is something we need to be extremely pro-active in doing.
You can find this blog and others written by me over at Foster with Progress Care