Blog post by Martin Barrow for the Centre for Mental Health.
In the conversation about the mental health of children and young people, one significant group of people is generally excluded. As foster carers, we share our lives with some of the most vulnerable youngsters, helping them come to terms with trauma or to manage mental health conditions that have proved difficult for their own families. Yet our voices are rarely heard, and our work is largely unrecognised. Nor is there concern for the impact it has on our own lives.
There are some 55,000 foster families in the UK, caring for almost 80,000 children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families, for a multiplicity of reasons. Many of these boys and girls suffered neglect or abuse for some years before the authorities intervened, and have lived at the fringes of the care system. Many will remain in care until adulthood, and will likely spend time with two, three or even four families along the way.
Not every child in care will suffer from mental health issues. But many will, and the mere act of being forced apart from mum and dad to live with strangers, even if it is only for a matter of weeks, raises profound questions. Many children blame themselves for what has happened, and struggle to live with the burden.
Read the full blog post here