Dealing with allegations of abuse or neglect.
It can be very upsetting for foster parents to suffer allegations of abuse or neglect from a child they have been advocating for.
Such a situation is difficult enough without any additional stress. Unfortunately, foster carers can often be victimised and face a lack of support in dealing with allegations. Regardless of whether the allegation is true, foster parents risk losing other children in their household. Also, they might not even be made aware of what the accusations are or who is making them. This is a situation many foster parents can find themselves in during their fostering career.
There is no other profession where the threshold for an allegation to be investigated is so low. Or where the support offered is so minimal. The lack of procedure to help foster parents in this situation must be urgently addressed throughout Britain, especially, in a period where foster parent recruitment and retention is increasingly difficult.
In a recent study by the Fostering Network 33% of foster parents interviewed had experienced an allegation of abuse or neglect. But only 2% of these allegations were substantiated. In addition, 42% of carers facing an allegation were not supported financially. There is also no post-allegation support and foster parents are left discouraged from fostering again. Unfortunately, allegations are an occupational risk.
It is very important that serious allegations are investigated and that children are protected. However, the lack of support and uncertainty that foster parents experience is something that can be avoided. It is not surprising that many have felt abandoned by the system.
Team LondonFostering Blog.