Coronavirus and Lockdown but Barnardo's Scotland Fostering say ‘still a real need to find loving foster families in the Highlands’
11th May 2020
Foster Care Fortnight 11 - 22 May 2020.
Coronavirus, a word that is now used in conversations daily and has far reaching effects on everyone's life, events and ‘normal' every day activities have been postponed or cancelled - but for some the pandemic hasn't made a difference to their situation - children and young people looking for foster families.
Barnardo's Scotland is aware that during the current lockdown there are children and young people who cannot live with their families and who require a loving foster home. That is why Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering is putting out a plea to people in the Highlands considering becoming foster carers to contact the charity.
Sue Brunton, Barnardo’s Scotland’s Assistant Director of Family Placement said: "I have been blown away with the outstanding commitment our foster carers have shown to the children and young people in their care during these unprecedented times. Coronavirus has stopped many things but there is still a very real need to find loving foster families for children and young people."
Foster carers like Amanda (52) and Robert (58) Bell who have specialist skills supporting children with disabilities, said: "During this period of containment children with disabilities are more vulnerable for many reasons, but the support from Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering and the local authority has been incredible - they have made contact weekly, making sure that our little girl is comfortable and safe."
Amanda and Robert have reflected a few times about fostering during the lockdown, Amanda continued said: "I suppose I’m different from other people, I always work from home, although I don’t see fostering as a job, it is my day job and my livelihood is not under threat in that respect. Life goes on as normal for us but without school, and attending specialist services, I have a degree of security, and I love being a foster carer."
Despite the challenges during the Coronavirus Pandemic Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering has continued to find new foster placements for children. Margaret and David Cardwell, (both 69), have recently joined the charity as foster carers and are two weeks in to their first placement.
Margaret, a foster carer with nearly eight years’ experience, said: "We recently joined Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering from another agency. To register with them we had to go through the procedure from the beginning, while we understand why that must happen, it takes a few months and it’s very difficult being a carer and knowing there are children and young people to be cared for and given a home - and you just have to wait.
“We’re delighted we were matched and are able to give a home to a young boy. During this short time with the charity it’s been amazing the amount of people in this wee lads life. The support from Barnardo’s fostering has been excellent, the council has been amazing, I’ve never experienced this sort of support before as a foster carer."
About being a foster carer Margaret said: “It’s fantastic, but you have to have a lot of compassion, lots of love make the child feel safe and secure. It’s very rewarding too, knowing I’ve helped a child, from doing the smallest of things to watching them achieving their goals it’s an amazing feeling, I wish I’d started fostering years ago.”
Every year hundreds of new foster families are needed in Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering work with local authorities across Scotland and would like to stress that they are ‘open’ and will respond to requests for placements.
Sue continued: “To make sure fostered children can live with the right foster carer for them we do need people across Scotland to contact us.
“Despite the coronavirus, this year is no different; we would love to hear from anyone who thinks they might have the skills and experience to become a foster carer.”
For information about Fostering with Barnardo’s Scotland phone 0800 008 7005 or visit our website search Barnardo’s Fostering - https://www.barnardos.org.uk/foster