Children need foster carers to understand their fears and chase the monsters away in safe and loving homes. The monsters many children face is not imaginary; many are a product of overactive imaginations, and mums and dads everywhere chase children’s monsters away to make their children feel safe again. However, we have a new monster in our midst. Covid-19 is the monster that threatens our normality. And for vulnerable children in care, this monster is the monster which affects them most.
There is a rising concern for the mental health of adults and children due to COVID-19. The Coronavirus has brought with it considerable changes in our everyday lives. Often, we feel we have lost control over our day-to-day living and are in danger of losing the purpose of life. How do we calm the fear for our children when our fears are questionable?
The kindness of strangers during the lockdown brought comfort.
We are finding that now, more than ever, families are becoming closer than ever before. Due to the Coronavirus, we are less judgemental and kinder to each other. Subsequently, when ‘told’ to accept change, our feelings are an entirely new phenomenon for some people. As a result, they are not adapting to changes; many create and control their changes.
The Coronavirus pulled the rug from under us. In turn, it caused many to reflect not only on their own lives; but the lives of those who were once invisible. We are now aware of the monster of COVID lurking in places other than a child’s imagination.
We are living in scary times, and the monster is COVID-19.
Many Charities in our communities have been a part of our landscape for decades and often go unnoticed until we use them. For many, charities are why families stay together. Because of charities, they can decide whether to put food on the table; or pay the rent/ mortgage.
However, the Coronavirus brings fresh challenges as care and support networks, which families typically rely on, are sadly gone. Once this support network is lost, families become vulnerable. Sadly, this leads to family breakdown, and children go into care. A darker challenge is Coronavirus’s increase in mental health issues and loneliness, which is especially true for children and young people.
I did not choose the phrase ‘chasing the monsters away’ lightly. We live in scary times, and it is even more frightening for a child in care with no family to support them.
Children’s mental health support networks are at total capacity, whilst other support networks are closed due to the pandemic. Foster carers must understand and have the training to give these children the support they need. Not only for now but in the future.
Foster carers need to understand a child’s fear and anxieties and recognise it when it manifests in behaviour. For these children, chasing monsters away is not just due to the pandemic. Their fears may have developed long ago, and triggers will re-surface, damaging children’s mental health and well-being.
‘Children clapping for our NHS brought feelings of comfort…‘
At the beginning of the Coronavirus, we were unsure exactly what we were dealing with. We had no choice as fear became a significant player in our daily lives. Also, we were uncertain of the outcome of the pandemic as the media showed death figures daily; there was no respite. As a result, we rode the changes.
Along came the army of angels with pictures of rainbows.
As if by God’s miracle, along came the children’s army. They were an army of ‘angels’ bringing with them the pictures of rainbows they made; (well done to whoever thought of this. You are indeed an inspiration).
We proudly placed our rainbow pictures in our windows as an unlikely symbol of safety and stood side-by-side with children clapping loudly for the angels of the NHS. But the reality was the children were the ones chasing the ‘monsters of COVID away’ for us. Our children sensed our fear and drew pictures to take our monsters away. Thankfully, foster carers chase monsters away from children in care in the most straightforward ways; they do it with love.
Children in care sadly watched from the sidelines.
Sadly, many children in care watched from the sidelines, including children in residential children’s homes. These vulnerable children have often faced trauma and abuse and await decisions about their future.
However, strangers make the decisions for children in a world where nothing will ever be the same again, except for the monsters. The monsters stay; they know them. Even though children are afraid of them, they are familiar. And this fear is better than the uncertainty of a decision from a stranger. However, adults now have a new fear because the monster of COVID-19 is controlling us, and we delay decisions about the future. Sadly, while we chase our monsters away, who is chasing theirs?
Vulnerable children do not need bedrooms in children’s homes. They need stability in a safe, loving, fostering family home where monsters are chased away by those who understand. They need foster carers to make them feel safe in a home where they are loved and belong.
Are you the safe place that vulnerable children need?
Verve proudly works with Not for Profit fostering agencies that provide outstanding support to foster carers and the children they support. Many of these Fostering Charities have been around for years, and sometimes, we are unaware they exist. Until we need them, or they are lucky enough to have found you because they need foster carers to work with them and continue the outstanding work they have done for vulnerable children over decades.
We need foster carers who have spare bedrooms. They also need time and love to dedicate to vulnerable children in care. The highest demand for foster carers is those to provide siblings foster care and older children. Finally, we need Parent & Child foster care to give Mums a helping hand when they need it most.
Foster carers are the parents who ‘chase monsters’ away for vulnerable children, making them feel safe. Children in care do not need a bedroom in a ‘care home.’ They need a home where they feel safe and thrive in a better future, with love and stability.
If you have thought about life after the lockdown, and now is the time to make the changes you want, get in touch, and let’s chat.