There are over 30,000 men currently fostering in the UK, 40-45 per cent of all approved foster carers. Nearly 80 per cent of them are part of a heterosexual couple.
Most looked after children will have experienced poor quality relationships with men living with often absent or abusive, unpredictable fathers who give out confusing signals. Within these experiences, children develop their own unique view of what men and fathers are like and how they behave. These viewpoints will heavily influence a child’s behaviour and emotions when joining a foster family.
Male foster carers can provide valuable experiences of âinvolved fathering’ for looked after children. For many children in care living with a male foster carer has been their first positive experience of an adult male, giving them the chance to explore how to form trusting relationships with men and to have contact with men who understand their needs.
However, evidence suggests that many male foster carers experience marginalisation. Male foster carers need to feel, and should be, valued, respected, trained, supported and, most of all, involved.
There is an urgent need for fostering services and the wider public to recognise and respect the role men can also play in transforming the lives other people’s children.
Fostering agencies can contribute to this process by recognising the issues, by learning from the experiences of their male foster carers and promoting positive practice.
The challenge is now for all fostering services to empower their existing and potential male foster carers, and to reassure them that they have a crucial role to play, either as sole foster carers or as half of a fostering couple.
Who is Men who Foster Care aimed at?
Men who are foster carers and social workers in the foster care environment
The course focuses on how to make male foster carers feel more connected and less marginalised within their fostering services. It aims to help fostering agencies engage more effectively with their male foster carers by raising awareness of the challenges they face, whilst exploring the ways in which they acknowledge and support men
By the end of the course participants will feel more empowered in expressing the importance of their role within fostering services.