- A survey by the Martin James Foundation shows that over a third of foster carers in the UK felt that fostering during the pandemic had impacted negatively on their mental health
- 36% say that the mental health of the young people they care for had been negatively impacted by the crisis
- Over 45% reported that children in their care had support services suspended as the pandemic took hold
Over a third of foster carers reported that the experience of fostering during the Covid – 19 pandemic has impacted negatively on their mental health, according to the findings of a survey published by the Martin James Foundation.
The survey of over 400 foster carers found that the support offered to children & young people in their care was also impacted, with 45% of the children who accessed mental health support services prior to lockdown having their support disrupted. 36% of the carers also said that the mental health of the young people they cared for had been negatively impacted by the crisis.
The Foundation, which promotes and delivers family-based care around the world, is calling for children’s services to ‘build back better’ – giving foster families the support they need.
“It is absolutely vital as the mental health impacts of this pandemic becomes apparent that we focus on supporting children and young people in foster care an also foster carers who contribute so much by caring for the country’s most vulnerable children during such a complex and intense time”
Steve Stockley, Managing Director, FosterTalk said: “FosterTalk’s provision of support to foster carers give us a unique insight into the challenges facing foster carers. Lockdown and social distancing has increased the vulnerability for some children and the expectation will be that more children will enter the care system. The prolonged absence from school will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children as many of them are already disadvantaged by their pre-care experiences.
“Undoubtedly, some foster placements will be disrupted as a result of this, as there is no or limited support available to foster carers in order to help them cope. When services are able to return to some kind of normality there will need to be an increased focus in counselling and support for children. Foster carers have had very little support and they too will need access to counselling and services to support their recovery from the pressures of caring through this crisis alone”
The survey results have now been used to form part of a report, submitted as evidence to the House of Commons Education Committee on the impact of Covid-19 on education and children’s services.
The Martin James Foundation will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on foster carers and the children and young people they support, with further research beginning this week.
You can read the full report here.