Renfrewshire Council

Fostering and adoption during the Coronavirus pandemic

Service manager Cathie explains how her team are continuing to support vulnerable children, young people and families in Renfrewshire.

Here at the fostering and adoption team, we are working hard to support our foster carers and adoptive families within the current restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The team supports and supervises 84 fostering households caring for 127 children across all ages. In addition to this we provide a range of adoption services: supporting children and adopters through all stages of their adoption journey. We provide tailored support to over 120 adoptive families.

Some of the children within our fostering and adoptive households are amongst the most vulnerable in our community given the very difficult start they have had in life. Consequently, and even in the best of circumstances, there can be emotional and behavioural challenges and times of crisis.

Clearly the current situation adds additional vulnerability to our placements as children are suddenly faced without the supportive structure they depend on in terms of school and nursery and contact with their families, friends and in some cases siblings. For some foster carers and adoptive parents there is now very little diversion from the potentially difficult dynamics within their household. Further the immediacy of informal support and support from the team is diluted.

Most of our carers and parents in ordinary circumstances, undertake a complex caring task 24 hours, seven days a week in their family home. How have they reacted to the pressures the coronavirus has placed on them? The answer emerged quickly in the first couple of weeks of lock down and still holds firm. Our carers and parents have responded with resilience, ingenuity, mutual support and close collaboration with the team. Our carers and parents were known to be resilient and committed: we know this from the team's assessments, approvals and training of our carers/parents.

It is hard to imagine a stronger test however than the current circumstances. And good will come out of this for many children while for some the current situation will be a crisis too far. While our carers and parents take the strain many of our children will benefit from the security, consistency, play and education they are receiving in plentiful supply. Carers and parents are using the many resources and tips provided by teachers. They have also been sourcing ideas from the internet to keep children busy and sharing these resources with other carers. It may well be that between our carers and parents, Joe Wickes and children's yoga we will have much more mindful, playful and resilient children on the return to school.                                        

Cathie O'Donnell

Service Manager - Fostering and Adoptions

Published on Friday 1 May 2020.