Diversity is welcomed and valued at Foster Portsmouth. Our foster families come in all forms. Just as every child is unique, every foster carer is unique too. However, they all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life.
We marked Race Equality Week (5-11 February) by raising awareness of the need for more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the children and young people from Portsmouth who come from a wide variety of different cultures, backgrounds and walks of life.
This includes additional carers from the black, Asian and ethnic minority community so the children in our care may share as many aspects of their culture, religion and ethnic origin with their carers as possible, although we provide training so carers can support a child of any faith and ethnicity.
The BBC recently reported that current figures show a higher proportion of children in care are from diverse backgrounds, compared with numbers of carers from the same communities. In the BBC’s report foster carer Claudia shares: “I would love to see a rise in people from the BAME community going into fostering. I know that sounds so simplistic but it’s not. There’s a self-fulfilment that you get from being a foster carer but, besides that, there are children that need you.”
Read the BBC’s full report here.
Race Equality Week is an annual UK-wide movement uniting thousands of organisations and individuals to address the barriers to race equality.
Tamara and Menno have provided supported lodgings for vulnerable young people in the Portsmouth area for four years. Tamara shared, “As a woman of colour and daughter of an immigrant, I am particularly passionate about immigrant and refugee rights, and about supporting young asylum seekers. This led me to hosting young people, particularly unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, through Supported Lodgings with Foster Portsmouth.”
All children from the BAME community entering foster care need the opportunity to celebrate their history and cultural heritage. They also require support to manage any racism and discrimination they may experience.
Therefore, we aim to continue to grow the diversity of our exceptional team of carers, particularly to secure the best placement matches for the children and young people in our care.
“We like diversity amongst our carers. All you need is a spare bedroom and a passion to help local children.”
Ruth and Glen, foster carers
Foster Portsmouth’s pledge to the children and young people in our care includes the crucial promise: “Your identity is important to us, and we promise to help you with connecting to your heritage and history.” Working in partnership with our foster carers is critical to this.
When placing a child with a foster family, we consider a range of criteria to ensure the best match possible and secure its success. These include not only the age and gender of the child and those of the foster carer’s children, but also the number of children in the home, location, ethnicity and religion, as well as additional factors such as pets. However, the most important consideration is the individual needs of the child and a foster carer’s experience.
We need additional foster carers with the skills and experience to help children develop a positive sense of their own identity. Foster Portsmouth welcome all enquiries about fostering regardless of age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital, residential or work status. This could be a short or long term arrangement for a child or siblings until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, parent and baby placements, or respite care.
Carers receive local round the clock support and ongoing quality training such as therapeutic care including through our mentoring scheme and our innovative award-winning Mockingbird programme which provides a support network of other foster carers similar to that of an extended family. They also receive competitive fees, benefits and allowances.
Tamara’s advice to anyone considering becoming a Supported Lodgings or foster carer is, “Do it! You are providing a young person with a secure base as they make their way in the world.”
To enquire or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, please fill in our contact form: https://foster.portsmouth.gov.uk/enquire-now/ or call 023 9283 4071.