Friday, 17 May 2013

Mixed Race Children and Fostering and Adoption

The Golly in the Cupboard

I recently read a book called 'The Golly in the Cupboard' by Phil Frampton about a mixed race boy born in England in 1953.  The story is one of abandonment and of a childhood spent in the care system. He managed to piece together his story so that he could write this book once he had obtained his records from Barnardo's in 1999.

Back in 1953, women were packed off miles away from their homes to have illegitimate children and society viewed mixed race relationships and their children with scorn, almost as though being mixed was a physical defect.  In 2004 Phil Frampton was interviewed by the Guardian and this article was subsequently published. Guardian Newspaper .

Today mixed race children are significantly over represented in the care system and constitute the biggest minority.  You can see from the attached statistics produced by British Association for Adoption and Fostering that they form 9% of looked after children.  

% of children in the Care System by Ethnicity 

78% (52,050) of children looked after on 31st March 2012 were white
9% (5,960) were of mixed racial background
7% (4,510) were Black or Black British
4% (2,820) were Asian or Asian British
2% (1,290) were from other ethnic groups
<1% (430) were other (refused or information not yet available)

(Statistics: England | British Association for Adoption and Fostering)

For the full report see:

Lack of foster carers and inappropriate placements mean children move too many times between families Guardian 13th May 2013 and this on top of the trauma they will have already experienced means it is very difficult for children in the care system to settle.  When a child is not able to be with their own family, there is a potential recipe for problematical identity formation and this can be even more of an issue for children who are mixed race. The complexity for fostering and adoption is discussed in the paper The diversity and complexity of the everyday lives of mixed racial and ethnic families

I understand that fostering services all over the UK are looking for people from all walks of life to become foster carers, of all ages, and from single people to large families. What matters is that they have a desire to work with children and the right skills.  If you would like to make inquiries about fostering, you can contact your Local Authority or any of the many Agencies who operate throughout the UK. I have opted to apply to St Christopher's, as I have experience of their services for teenagers through my work. So far they have lived up to their reputation and have been very clear about the role of a Foster Carer and also given us lots of opportunity to ask questions throughout the process.We have been interviewed at home and they have invited us to attend their training programme which starts in June. This will be our opportunity to find out more about the realities of fostering.

The debates about best practice in the care system continue, but in my opinion, the best approach is in the accurate matching of child to family and vice-versa.
'St Christopher's Fostering

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