Become a foster carer, click here for details or call 0115 979 2515

Call For Longer Foster Support To Build More Resilience

Posted on

Children brought up with foster carers should be able to stay with them beyond the age of 21, according to the head author of a report on the experiences of mothers who have had the experience of care.

The argument was put forward by Dr Sam Parsons from University College London, the lead author of a study that found those who had lived in care, either in care homes or through being fostered, tended to have a greater incidence of poor life outcomes such as poor mental health, poverty, unemployment and low educational attainment.

Moreover, the study showed that the children of such mothers were themselves more likely than the general population to suffer poor mental health, suggesting childhood trauma can be intergenerational.

However, among those in the survey were 27 per cent which stood out as having greater resilience, with far better outcomes in terms of qualifications, income and living in good housing. Most notably, 66 per cent of this group had been in stable foster care, compared with only 50 per cent for those doing badly.

Drawing on this finding, Dr Parsons said there needs to be more “targeted and long-term integrated support to care leavers and their children.”

She added: “By extending the eligibility for state support beyond age 21, care leavers can stay with their foster family or in state care for longer,” concluding that “An enduring safety net of secure housing and supportive relationships can be a lever for building resilience among care leavers and their families.”

However long you may foster a child for, the research indicates just what a positive impact the stable foster care you give may have.

Some of the biggest achievers of the 20th century went through foster care, from musical greats like John Lennon and Cher to actresses like Emma Thompson and Marilyn Monroe.

The child you foster may not become as famous as them, but you could play a key role in making sure their life turns out far better than would otherwise be the case.