The Fostering Network is proud to support The Black Care Experience Charter
At The Fostering Network we are committed to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation, so we’ve signed up to The Black Care Experience Charter. Chief executive Sarah Thomas explains what this means for The Fostering Network and the next steps we’ll take towards honouring these commitments.
Over the past few years, like many other organisations, we have reflected on the way we work at The Fostering Network and decided what steps we need to take to become a more inclusive and diverse organisation. It’s essential that we do more to fully represent our members and the children and young people they care for.
We know that there is a disproportionate number of black children and young people in care in the UK. We also know that the majority of the UK foster carer population is white. This has led to particularly difficult experiences for black children and young people in care, reflected in research by campaign group The Black Care Experience. They carried out a survey in 2020 documenting the experiences of black care experienced people, who disclosed they struggled to connect to their own identities with foster carers of a different race.
The difficulties black children and young people face in foster care have been known for a long time and it’s unacceptable that progress has been limited. Things must change, and it’s important that we at The Fostering Network play our part in making the change happen.
This is why we’ve signed up to The Black Care Experience Charter – a declaration that we will do everything we can to ensure black children and young people remain connected to their identity as they move through the care system. The charter has been developed by The Black Care Experience and offers a list of commitments that organisations can choose from to guide their work.
We’ve selected the following three commitments to start our journey:
• Ensure the workforce is culturally competent on every level across the departments and services
• Work alongside services that are culturally specific and competent to work with the black community in a way that is empowering and meets their cultural needs
• Create a bespoke policy alongside the workforces on how to care for and meet the needs of black children and young people in care
Some of our existing work already supports these commitments – but focusing on three specific actions gives us clear targets to work towards so we can action positive change and be held accountable. We’re taking steps towards these actions now – at a recent away day we explored cultural competence alongside our trustees. We are also reviewing our internal equality, diversity and inclusion group to ensure it provides the foundation for turning our commitments into actions. On top of this, our teams are reviewing all of our learning and development materials, including the new edition of The Skills to Foster ™ to ensure that we embed a culturally competent approach as a golden thread in all that we do.
To hold us accountable, we will provide regular updates on our progress. And we are always welcome to feedback – if there’s something you feel we can do better at then let us know by contacting email@example.com.
There’s always power in numbers, and the more people who support The Black Care Experience Charter the quicker change will happen.