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Become a foster carer in 2021 – have the challenges of the pandemic given you a new sense of empathy for children in foster care?

2020 has been a life changing year for everyone. Whether it be through contracting COVID-19, losing a loved one to the virus, facing financial struggles, battling loneliness, missing family and friends or balancing working from home with home-schooling – the pandemic has forced us all to adapt and face some of our greatest challenges. Yet here we are, the end of 2020 is here and you are still here reading this. You’ve made it through one of the toughest years in recent history. It’s important to reflect on everything that has happened but then it will be time to look ahead to 2021 and the things you can do to make a positive difference in the new year.

The pandemic isn’t over, further lockdowns are imminent and the risk of infection is still high but there is hope on the horizon; the vaccine is here. Hope, gratitude, kindness and resilience have kept the world going this past year and will continue to help everyone in the new year ahead.

This year we will have all developed a deeper empathy for children and vulnerable families whose ‘normal’ life can often mirror the situations the pandemic has forced many of us into: financial struggle, isolation, separation from loved ones, an ongoing sense of uncertainty and confusion about what the future holds. We can now much more easily empathise with children in foster care, we now know what it feels like to have life turned upside down, to not be able to see our family, to feel untethered and to be craving security and normality to return.

This new empathy can be put to good use in 2021, along with the other transferable skills that have been gained as positive by-products from this pandemic – resilience, problem solving, creative thinking, plus the realisation that family and love are the most important thing. These are all attributes we look for in a foster carer, children need someone who is understanding and will keep going through the difficult times, offering safety and love no matter what.

It is no surprise that vulnerable families have been one of the worst hit in society from this pandemic. Lockdown exacerbated existing problems within family homes and school closures and job losses resulted in many families reaching crisis point. Baranado’s reported a dramatic surge in referrals for foster families after the March national lockdown and the need for new foster carers has never been greater.

As 2021 arrives and we say goodbye to an extremely challenging year, perhaps it is time to look towards all the good things that can happen in the next 12 months. As the vaccine gives us hope of better days ahead, more people applying to foster can give children in care hope of a happier and safer future. Applying to foster this new year is the first step towards changing a child’s life, to making a positive difference to vulnerable children in your local area and giving a child a chance of a happier childhood and a brighter future. 2020 was a year full of unexpected and unwanted change, why not make 2021 the year you change lives, yours included, for the better?

Finally, we would like to say a massive thank you to all of the Focus Foster Care foster parents. You have all done an amazing job this year, fostering through this pandemic has not been easy and you really are every day heroes. Thank you for all your hard work and for continuing to be there for the children who have needed you so much this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Focus Foster Care.

fostering

To find out more about fostering and how to become a foster carer with our independent fostering agency, please read the following pages on our website:
Types of foster care.
Who can foster?
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care.
Fostering – frequently asked questions.
The benefits of fostering with Focus Foster Care.