Grandparents and Fostering grandchildren

Published: 01st March 2010
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Grandparents, their grandchildren and fostering

Grandparents have long been victims of family break-up, contact has been stopped with their grandchildren and they are often never considered in the decisions made by parents.

A large number of grandparents have experienced family breakdown in their children's families.

Paternal grandparents are particularly vulnerable to being cut off from their grandchildren in cases where their sons separated or divorced. However, grandparents have been relied on to act as substitute parents, positive role models and providers of advice to their children and grandchildren. In this apparently fragmented society, grandparents remain the first people families turn to when they are in serious trouble.

Many grandparents have had one or more step-grandchildren, and grandfathers are particularly likely to have played a significant role in caring for grandsons when fathers were no longer living with the grandchildren.

It is important for all of us to know where we come from and this is particularly important for children in foster care, and grandparents are often the best placed people to provide this information.

In reality grandparents are more often than not marginalised by social services who have a duty to consider all family members when considering what's best for children prior to or who enter the care system.

Social services suffer from the bad press and disastrous decisions made by a small minority of social work agencies which has caused a climate of 'less risk is best' other than empowering and training social workers to practice the old social work value of risk taking to better children's lives.

Grandparents tend to want to spend more time with their grandchildren and see their relationship with their grandchildren as one of the major things of importance in their lives.

Isn't it then about time grandparents were valued and trusted to be a greater part of the decisions both parents and local authorities take about children in trouble and children who enter the care system, as grandparents have been almost invisible when decisions are made when they are often the people in the best position when the going gets tough.

Sadly in today's society, as people become older they become more and more invisible and ageism gets in the way of grandparents being at the centre of the limited choices people have for children at risk of, or are placed in our struggling care system.

It's about time we valued the knowledge, capacity to love, commitment and experiences of one of vulnerable children's best hope of a secure base, our grandparents.

It is of paramount importance to choose the right fostering agency, there are over seven hundred in the UK. Simply Fostering, the UK national foster carer recruitment website provides help by answering questions and identifying the most suitable local fostering agencies with vacancies.

Simply Fostering help people interested in becoming foster carers to act on the Government's advice to 'contact more than one Fostering Agency if you are interested in a fostering career'.

For comprehensive and easy to understand information, help and advice, contact Annette or Joe at Simply Fostering.

(There are over 80,000 children in care in the UK)

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