Monday saw the beginning of Foster Care Fortnight, which seems as good an excuse as any to post some resources about fostering, as it's a topic which I sometimes get enquiries about. Foster Care Fortnight is an annual event held by UK charity the Fostering Network, which aims to raise the profile of fostering and attract new carers. It is particularly timely this year, after the recent launch of the Foster Carers' Charter.
The Fostering Network website has an area called the Resource Centre, which is as good a place as any to start researching the subject. This contains details of a large number of reports, podcasts, newsletters, statistics and other publications, many of which are free to download. The site also has a fairly comprehensive Useful Links page, to point you towards other useful organisations and relevant legislation.
Two other websites which you should visit are the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) and The Adolescent and Children's Trust (TACT). Both of these charities provide detailed information on fostering and help to link children with prospective foster families. TACT's 2009 report Aspirations: the Views of Foster Children and their Carers is also an invaluable introduction to many of the issues surrounding fostering, and there has recently been a follow-up report entitled Aspirations Three Years On.
For further research about fostering, Ofsted has released several publications on the topic over the last few years. Being Fostered (2005), Children's Experience of Private Fostering (2008) and Care and Prejudice (2009) are all worth a look.
Finally, to bring us up to date, the Guardian has today published 3 articles in its Society supplement, to tie in with Foster Care Fortnight. Foster Care: 'The Best Job I've Ever Done' examines a shortage in the number of available foster families, Reaping the Rewards of Fostering relates the experiences of a carer who fosters teenage boys, and Foster Providers Need to Make Long-Term Plans Sooner highlights the importance of stable placements in providing successful outcomes for fostered children.