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Informative Speech on Foster Care and Adoption

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To foster is to take care of a child, usually for a limited time, without being the child’s legal parent (Cambridge Dictionary). There are different types of fostering, namely long term, short term, family and friendskinship, emergency, respite, remand, fostering for adoption, and specialist therapeutic. Whilst different qualifications may be needed for each type, the application process is the same.

Easily accessed

In 2020 there were 71,150 foster carers in England, with 9,510 fostering households were successfully approved from 2019-2020, looking after around 56,500 children. (Ofsted) The number of children being looked after in foster care is not completely accurate however, as due to COVID-19, only 94% of all eligible agencies could submit data. Despite this, this shows a growing interest in foster care, with Ofsted reporting there were 137,200 enquiries from prospective fostering households- a 7% increase from the previous year. However, there was a 10% decrease in applications to become a carer from March 2019, showing whilst more people are interested in fostering, personal circumstances and difficulties in applying such as COVID-19 could be preventing people from applying. This could be due to information about the process being hard to gain access for people who want to know more about fostering, meaning many people who are interested become dissuaded after finding out more information about details of fostering.

Another way to measure the accessibility of fostering as a way of starting a family is through how widespread information about it is. Whilst there are several official sources from local councils and the government about fostering, the sources are all online with any physical copies of information hard to find. Multiple independent fostering agencies also provide information and offer advice, but they may be biased in favour of fostering and may not present the whole picture. Whilst there are extra resources online such as support groups, local authority websites and independent fostering agencies make up the largest proportion of available information to prospective foster parents. This may restrict information as there are few personal experiences or advice shared by current foster carers online, which possibly distorts the process of fostering, as any negative aspects may not be seen on official websites.

Easily understood

The requirements for becoming a foster parent are few, with applicants only having to be:

  • at least 21 years old.
  • a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain.
  • able to take care of a child or young person, often on a full-time basis.

The process of fostering is more complex as it can take up to 8 months to complete from the time someone applies to become a foster parent to when a decision is made from the fostering service. The firsts step is to apply to become a foster parent; then the council or fostering agency make potential foster parents: go on a preparation course for fostering, get an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, and be assessed by a social worker about their ability to care for a child. The foster parents applying also state preferences for children they would care for such as age and gender. Finally, the fostering service will review the application before the applying foster parents meet the panel who make a recommendation to the councilagency so they can decide on the application. (Gov.uk)

The assessment by the social worker has two stages, the first is an assessment of the applicant's circumstances and the second is about personal information regarding the applicant and their family. If the application is approved the foster parents will be sent the profile of any child that might be a good fit for them as well as receiving training and support as they foster, with all foster parents receiving a care allowance of between £134 and £235 a week. (Gov.uk)

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Therefore, I would say that whilst there are few laws about people who want to foster, and all foster parents go through a similar process, fostering is still quite complex and less easily understood than natural conception as the application process is long and required applicants to undergo different types of training before they can be approved. This difficulty can be seen with only 38% of all applications that were completed being approved(See Appendix H), as if the process was easy to understand, more people would be likely be accepted.

Easily achieved

Since only 1 in 4 applications leads to approval in 2020 (Ofsted), and applications received and approved have been decreasing yearly since 2016 (See Appendix G), I would say fostering is hard to achieve. Out of all the applications received in 2019-2020 that were completed, 62% ended up withdrawing. Out of those withdrawing 2490 applicants withdrew themselves (72%), and 985 applications were withdrawn by the service (28%), showing even after applying, many people find the process difficult and not what they expect and end up withdrawing, highlighting the relative inaccessibility as even if the person completed the entire application process, over half are not approved.

The time involved in the application takes on average around 8 months, but due to the increasing number of children in the care system, more foster parents are being matched with a child, with 64% of fostering places filled and only 16% vacant. Since 2018 the proportion of filled places has increased gradually, as the number of vacant places has decreased. Whilst the data for 2020 is only an estimate due to not all agencies being able to supply data due to covid-19, it is supported by the Department for Educations figure of 56,160 children in foster placements, a similar number compared to Ofsted’s estimate of 56,500 (Ofsted). Since both sources are reliable and trustworthy due to the DfE being a ministerial department of the government, and Ofsted being a non-ministerial department of the government (gov.uk), I would say these estimates are likely to be correct and can be considered reliable as the majority (94%) of fostering agencies still submitted data for 2020, which the estimate was based off. Since the number of filled fostering places has been increasing since 2016, I would say that after the application stage, fostering does become more accessible.

The number of approved fostering places in England has also been increasing gradually since 2016, as can be seen in Appendix I, showing that more people are finishing the process of applying for fostering and are being accepted, showing it is slightly more accessible.

However, the drawback of fostering is that the foster parents can’t be legally responsible for the child as the birth parents will still have legal responsibility. This can be useful in both long-term and short-term fostering as children can keep in touch with birth parents easier than if the child was adopted and the foster parents became the legal parents. If foster parents do wish to become legal parents, however, they must adopt the child, which includes going through the adoption process which can take a long time. There is also a scheme of Fostering for adoption, where children in care are fostered with the aim of adoption. However, since the foster parents in this scheme must also go through the adoption process, adoption isn’t guaranteed and the foster parents may be rejected. (Foster Care UK)

Therefore, I would say that whilst fostering is becoming more accessible and more people are becoming foster parents, compared to natural conception, fostering is still a more complex process and the application process, in particular, is very inaccessible for those who aren’t familiar with fostering due to the different steps involved.

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Informative Speech on Foster Care and Adoption. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/informative-speech-on-foster-care-and-adoption/
“Informative Speech on Foster Care and Adoption.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/informative-speech-on-foster-care-and-adoption/
Informative Speech on Foster Care and Adoption. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/informative-speech-on-foster-care-and-adoption/> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
Informative Speech on Foster Care and Adoption [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/informative-speech-on-foster-care-and-adoption/
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