If ever there was a story which highlighted everything that’s wrong with the fostering system in England, it’s this list of wishes from a child in care, published today.
The child, who wishes to remain anonymous, reflects on their life in care and the things they hoped would have happened differently.
In one of the paragraphs, the child asks foster carers not to leave foster children out. The example of biological children receiving easter eggs or advent calendars and foster children not being gifted the same items is heart breaking. What kind of foster parent would discriminate against a vulnerable child, or any child in that way? The kind that’s clearly not fit to be a parent, and most likely using the child as a means to extending their income.
In another paragraph, the child recalls being treated as if they had a lower level of intelligence for being in a wheelchair.
There are however some positive memories for this child as well, but not enough to mask the obvious disappointment and pain you can feel in the piece. The prerequisite that foster parents also have a genuine desire to understand a foster child’s culture, race or religious identity is also on the ‘wish list’.
The experience above is an extract from a new book, called Welcome to Fostering: A Guide to Becoming and Being a Foster Carer. That it takes a child to say these things, and that a book needs to be made to spell these things out, is deeply embarrassing for us all.