05/01/2017 05:27 GMT | Updated 06/01/2018 05:12 GMT

2017 Is The Year Of The Foster Carer And Here's Why...

When the clock strikes 12 and a new year starts, not much really changes, but for a lot of us, mentally, something does...

The beginning of a new year is a time when ambitions and dreams are taken from under the bed, dusted off and thoughtfully considered. For a lot of us, it's a good time for soul searching and a great time for change, and in the world of fostering in 2017 there is a great deal of change that's needed.

So if you've ever thought about fostering before then 2017 is the year to start, here's why...

1) More children than ever are coming into care

No surprises here, unfortunately, government statistics in 2016 showed, yet again, that more children and teenagers are entering the care system, the majority going into foster care.

Around 60% of children come into care because of abuse or neglect, therefore, with continuing cuts to the most vulnerable and economic uncertainty in 2017, it's not hard to guess that we will see more children needing foster carers as parents struggle to cope.


Government statistics 2016

2) It's never been easier

Going through fostering assessments used to take a long time, sometimes up to a year. Now, on average they only take 6 months. I know half a year isn't going to go by in a flash but it takes time to prepare for such an important role.

More than this, training is easier to access and there is more support available, including local carer support groups.

All in all, the process is faster than ever.

3) The migrant crisis

Ongoing insecurity in the middle-east means that more unaccompanied minors will be seeking asylum in the UK. These children and teenagers need loving families that can speak Arabic and Pashto to take care of them.

Contrary to many press reports, the vast majority of these refugees are children. There will always be a few adults claiming to be children to come to the UK, but these are far outnumbered by the genuine children who need help.

This is more of a side point but, as a society, isn't it better to accept this and help, rather than turn our backs on the actual migrant children in the care system in need of a stable and loving home?


Government statistics 2016

4) More than ever, children deserve certainty about their futures.

2016 was tumultuous, there's no denying it, who knows where Brexit, Donald Trump or climate change will take the UK in 2017. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of power over how these things will work out...

However, some of us do have the power to give children in care a safe and loving place to live and call home, a place where they can grow and be prepared for an unknown future.

If you have a spare room and would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer in 2017 then get in touch www.greaterlondonfostering.org/fosterin2017