Should Foster Carers hide their Political views?

After the incident a couple of years ago in which a Foster carer was de-registered for being a member of ukip I posted a few comments on the Fostering Network at the time about whether or not we should hide our political opinion and keep secret our thoughts from Social Services. Whether or not we should vet those who enter our homes... Seems madness to even think it. Surely it can't get as bad as that. Why would we profess to live in a free society if we cannot express our feelings to people who are in charge of recruitment and retention.

Honesty and openness are the best policy aren't they? Are they?

Last Thursday I was asked by a new Foster Carer (new to my Local Authority but not new to Fostering) how pay is worked out and how often it's paid. I asked why and he said he was providing respite for two children at the moment and two weeks later they hadn't received any money for upkeep. I gave him the payments telephone number (because it had changed) and he went away happy.

On Friday I asked if he'd got through to payments. “Yes” was the reply, “but they are only paying us for one child. They don't know about the other child and until someone fills out the paperwork the child doesn't exist.” Amazing! So the child has disappeared. I asked him to speak to the Child's Social Worker and he said he'd already spoken to her but she's new and asks him what to do more than he asks her (we've been down that road before and I don't envy him. When it all goes sour the inexperience turns into the blame game. Foster Carers don't always come out of the blame game smiling).

 

We got chatting and compared horror stories and discussed why we both think looking after children is the easy bit and agreed that it's other forces that make Fostering unattractive. I asked him how long it took to be approved with our Local Authority and how long he'd Fostered for a Private Agency. The conversation meandered and then he asked, - “Did you get asked about your Political persuasion?” No I replied. “Oh we did. I was asked what do you think about Nigel Farrage and I replied he seems like a nice bloke”. I asked why she would need to ask that question and felt sure it wasn't correct to be asking... He continued and said “She returned the next day and asked the question again but first told me that she believed him to be a racist and a bigot. So he said I don't know the man and don't vote.” Her opinion not procedure would seem to be the deciding factor on whether a Foster carer gets approval. It also begs the question "who puts them in charge and who trains them. What are they trained?

She had the power to refuse his Fostering registration without being accountable. I'm sure what she did is wrong and I wonder how many potential Foster Carers she's refused for "personal reasons"... I wonder what would have happened if he'd said “I quite like him.” I wonder how widespread this reverse Bigotry is, Is it endorsed by managers and is it acceptable? I don't think it is.

 

Security level: Public

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2 Comments

FM
Former Member 6 Years Ago
I've never been asked but I would err on the side of caution and try to be neutral (like the BBC :-) haha). Having said that I would imagine that if a carer had racial prejudices etc they would emerge during the assessment process.
Andy C 6 Years Ago - Edited
Hi Kirsty Hahaha yea the BBC!! The ethnicity, religious and politically correct Police. It always makes me laugh when somebody asks questions that are supposed to reveal us as murderers, perverts or secret lemonade drinkers. Now they're on the lookout for anybody who might support political parties whose MPs have had affairs, suicides, sex scandals, lied to parliament, the Police and the electorate, failed to properly declare expenses. Covered up VIP child abuse scandals, using racist language and expressing racist views etc etc.... Oh wait they're the existing political parties... But they're okay we can declare we vote for them!!. Just don't say you voted for a political party two of the other political parties are rushing to emulate (but they're okay).. As if checks on Foster Carers aren't vigorous enough there has been a lot of talk in the past (on the Fostering Network) regarding threats by The Local Authority to check in our bedroom as part of the annual inspection. This year we had serious questions to answer about our two rabbits. Dangerous things rabbits (I think Somebody's watched too much Monty Python “the holy grail”). The rabbits live in a …...... hutch (yeeaaaa difficult question. I know it's a hard one but one that required a tick in the box and an explanation). The rabbits are kept locked up overnight because I don't want to chase them all over the village every day and I'm trying to resist the temptation to feed Daisy and Archie to the local foxes (well it's not Miss Marple. Common sense isn't always common). During the day my two tiny dwarf Norwegian rabbits have a run which is also closed off to prevent them becoming missing person rabbits or man eaters. . I'm just glad the Social Worker and the BAAF man didn't see the red-kite that regularly circles the skies looking for small children to carry off or the tiger we keep in the shed. Some Foster Carers have said they're already required to let the Social Worker look into their bedroom. I always wonder what they expect or hope to find. If I was the sort of person who had a secret life (Andy by day and Andrea by night) I'm sure I'd be sensible enough to hide my private life under the bed or in a cupboard. Then what? With no clear results showing proof of improper behaviour within the Fostering population they'd need to extend the search and come with x-ray equipment to scan for dungeons and dragons. I'm okay with the strip search but might worry about the internal examination (unless they could combine it with a health check). I'm sure the person with the glove would be as qualified as the person who already checks our homes each year looking for offensive curtains and avocado bathroom suites (oh and killer rabbits. Let's not forget the stew ingredients). Because the finger of blame for Victoria Climbie, Baby P and Daniel Pelka, grooming etc etc etc can't be pointed at Foster Care even though the ever increasing hoops and personal intrusions might have you believing Foster Care is the problem when it comes to children being failed. As the obstacles placed in-front of existing and potential Foster Carers becomes more complicated and "in the ideal world" (the world we don't actually live in) instead of in the normal Foster Carer's home you could be forgiven for thinking Foster Care and Foster Families more automated and less natural. Standardised. It all helps to make Fostering a thankless task that struggles to recruit and retain.. To be a Foster Carer with my Local Authority the most experienced Foster Carers need to be available at all times (not to take any other paid work) and to attend compulsory Support-Groups (chaired by Social Workers who control what can or cannot be discussed) and Training (training is often oversubscribed and in the past has been during school holidays). Although we're given paid annual leave there has traditionally been few respite carers available and respite has been discouraged or frowned upon if we request it.. And whoa-betide any Foster Carer who refuses a child who is very obviously incompatible with the foster family. To make it almost impossible to have a “matched” child removed whose difficulties and needs were kept secret before the placement began in-case we want to protect our own rabbits and children.. They could only make it worse if they made it difficult for us to have independent thought, the right to have our own political beliefes and no employment rights.... Oh wait that's also something that already happens. But more importantly lets weed out those who might exercise their democratic right to vote for whomever they want to vote for in a free country because the other parties set such a good example don't they? I'm actually not a ukip voter but I hate being told I'm a racist or stupid or wrong to exercise my own thoughts and feelings. Pushing people into making angry choices is what is happening. I'm not a racist and I like to think I'm not stupid when I dislike someone for being bad. Bad people are bad and I can decide who I'm frightened of and who I feel safe with. Telling people they are bad to have normal feelings will create a group like ukip. The politically correct brigade are scoring an own goal and will end up with something they tried to bully into silence. (it's just a shame Screaming Lord Sutch is no longer with us. At least he knew he was mad but we weren't expected to think he wasn't).