The stark impact of lockdown on foster carers was revealed in a recent ITV News poll but the picture in Slough is a lot brighter as 84 percent of foster carers with Slough Children First saying they had been fully supported throughout lockdown.
The poll by ITV News revealed that, across the country, 27 percent of foster carers were reluctant or unable to foster due to fears of infection from Covid while 22 percent had considered quitting fostering altogether. 68 percent felt they’ve had inadequate support from the government. As a result of Covid, 55 percent reported a decline in their mental health.
In Slough, a similar poll was conducted among the foster carers at the Slough Children First’s Independent Fostering Agency to see how they compare.
Compared to the national figure of 27 percent, only 13 percent of the IFA’s foster carers stated they would be reluctant to foster and in all but one case it was only a slight reluctance. Nationally, 22 percent of foster carers had considered quitting while in Slough this percentage is much lower at 12 percent.
The picture is looking even better when it comes to support given with 84 percent of the IFA’s foster carers reporting that they felt supported throughout lockdown. The IFA organised online coffee mornings, training, support groups and a bi-monthly forums to share views and suggestions. Regular updates were provided throughout lockdown and, more recently, there was an annual awards ceremony to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of foster carers. Luxury hampers were also sent to all foster carers as a thank you for all they do.
“Lockdown has been a steep learning curve for all of us but I am extremely proud of the way my team has responded and continued to provide a high level of support to our foster carers,” said Saima Arif, service manger at the Independent Fostering Agency. “I am also incredibly proud of our foster carers and the resilience they have shown during very challenging circumstances.”
The lockdown has had a big impact on mental health all for all of us and, nationally, more than half of foster carers reported a decline in their mental health. In Slough, an incredible 70 percent stated that being a foster carer during lockdown had no impact on their mental health.
“Lockdown has been challenging for all of us but there was always someone at the end of the phone if I needed support and there has been lots of regular contact, said Karen Embury, a foster carer with Slough Children First. “When events occurred that had to be face-to-face, such as taking on a new placement, I felt that the team were mindful of Covid restrictions and social distancing and were respectful towards my family and aware of the need to keep us safe.”
Slough Children First provides 24/7 support, excellent skills training and competitive allowances. If you’re interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer, please call 01753 690777, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at fosterforslough.com