October is Black History Month. We spoke to Grace, assistant team manager and social worker in our fostering service, about celebrating the contribution of our black foster carers. These foster carers are looking after the vulnerable children and young people in Reading, who come from all sorts of backgrounds, in their own home.

“At Brighter Futures for Children’s IFA, we are lucky to have a strong representation of black foster carers. They are committed and driven women and men who give the black and dual heritage children in care the connection and sense of identity to their heritage that they need. We hope to recruit more foster carers from this community in order to continue meeting the needs of children from these backgrounds”.

Belinda is one of our foster carers. She is British and has a Jamaican family. She says:

“As a black carer, I may have more understanding of their cultural heritage and I can emphasise more on what struggles they might have in life with regards to their race. However, that doesn’t mean transracial foster families won’t work as the key priority is that the child’s needs for things like a warm, safe home are being met.”

Grace says of our black foster carers:

“They also act as a buddy or mentor for their fellow fosters who are not black but may be looking after black or dual heritage children. They can offer support to help them look after the specific hair and skin needs that they may have, share their traditions, recipes and more.

“We have a diverse range of children who come into care, from all walks of life. I hope that we will always have a diverse team of foster carers who are able to reflect this. In Reading, as is the picture nationally, children and young people who are black, dual heritage or from ethnic minority backgrounds are over-represented in care.”

In the meantime, we do need more black carers. By having a team of foster carers from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, who have different religions and different life experiences builds a strong community. A community of carers to look after these children in their own homes and to support other foster carers who are doing so. A community that can share resources to support Reading’s vulnerable children and young people together.”

Would you be interested in fostering? You can contact us at 0118 469 3020 or email foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org. You can also read more stories on our website at www.readingfostering.co.uk/stories