“Creating a community in foster care”
There is an old African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Meaning that it takes more than a mother and father to ensure the well-rounded development of a child. Having an extended family and wider network is an important and well-needed contribution for giving a child the tools for life.
Here at Ascent Fostering, we understand how essential it is to provide a strong support network for a child in care. The absence of a conventional family dynamic due to circumstances out of their control should not deny them the opportunity of having their own ‘village’ to support them through their core formative years. We are proud to have cemented great working relationships with local authorities across South London such as Wandsworth and Lambeth council.
There are many benefits to having a ‘village’ that extends further than just the young person. Social workers, support workers, foster carers, supervisors, mentors, key workers all play a pivotal role in a child’s time within the care system and it is a huge benefit for a child if these key players all have positive relationships with one another. This creates:
- One voice – open lines of communication between all agents means the child will receive the same message from all parties. It stops a young person from hearing several different viewpoints, ideologies and receiving differing advice which sometimes results in a negative effect.
- Build strong networks and relationships – although everyone has separate objectives and roles, by working together closely you can create long-lasting working relationships that make your day-to-day work life run smoothly and more efficiently.
- Unity – there is a huge stigma in the social care sector that there is a lack of unity between different agencies, making it difficult to give the best possible care and service to a child. Presenting a fortified unit ensures a child knows that their support system is solid, building trust and confidence in the young person.
- Shared responsibility – there is sometimes the notion that one sole party should bear the brunt if anything was to go wrong with a child in the care system. By adopting the mindset of shared responsibility a child can see that their support network is like a family. Another additional benefit is that it allows parties to step in on behalf of one another, to ensure that any issues, concerns or serious incidents can be addressed directly without having to wait for the sole responsible party to step in.
All these elements working together create an excellent foundation for a young person. It shows them how all agencies are working together with their best interest at heart. Giving them the clear message that they have their own ‘village’, a unified network who wants to see them thrive and reach their full potential.
If you would like to learn more about fostering in South London, click here.