We seem to live in a world that is plagued by crises – covid, cost of living, housing, mental health, NHS etc but having spent the last 8 months working with a fostering service I now know it to be true that our children and young people are facing a crisis of their own.

I’m completely new to the world of social care and fostering. I’m ashamed to say it was something that I never really thought about. I had no idea just how many children and young people are affected by the lack of foster parents. In January of this year, we had over 800 cases of children and young people that were referred to our services. That doesn’t include the number that local authorities were able to find fostering arrangements themselves.

That’s over 800 times a child or young person was without a loving home or safe place to stay.

And the caseload is even more diverse than you can imagine. Hard times can fall on anyone, and this is reflected in the referrals we receive. Every age, ethnicity and gender are reflected in the statistics.

But they aren’t just statistics. They are individual young people with their own personalities, ambitions, dreams, abilities interests and hobbies.

And they desperately need our help.

Unfortunately, the covid pandemic and cost of living crisis has meant there are even more children within the care system but there are fewer foster parents to care for them. 19,000 children are also at risk of entering the care system. (Breaking Point: kinship carers in crisis – Kinship – The kinship care charity (Nov. 2023).  It is also not helped that there seems to be a negative stigma surrounding children in care as badly behaved troublemakers. But there are so many success stories that deserve to be shouted about. Young people using their experiences, none of which was their fault, and turning them into positive outcomes are such an inspiration to others.

So it’s not all negative.  Despite the despair of the situation, the last 8 months have taught me that there are so many people that are dedicated to making a positive difference.

The team at evolve, whether that be foster parents, management, social workers, therapists, administrators, or panel members we work alongside, genuinely care about the children and young people in their care. They work tirelessly to make sure children are matched to a home where they can thrive. They work selflessly so both the parents and children/ young people know there are multiple people they can rely on when things become too heavy. They work devotedly to ensure that as many children are looked after as possible.

If I’m honest, its restored my faith in humanity. That may sound dramatic but the people I now work alongside are some of the most passionate, insightful people I have ever met, and I think it’s fair to say that every possible child and young person that is looked after by evolve will be in the best possible hands, with the best possible chance of success in their futures.