TV chef claims fostering is the ‘Cinderella’ of care
Television chef Lorraine Pascale will make an impassioned plea for more people to become a foster carer during a BBC documentary this week.
The host of Baking Made Easy, who was adopted at 18 months and then fostered at eight, claims fostering ‘saved her life’. In an hour-long documentary on Thursday she will look at the realities of foster care in the UK today, and claims fostering does not receive the attention it deserves.
“I believe foster care is the Cinderella of the care world and there is far more emphasis put on adoption. I’m making this film to throw the spotlight on to fostering and hopefully encourage more people to consider it as an option,” said Lorraine.
The television show will highlight that in Britain today a child is placed in foster care every 22 minutes. Despite this urgency, Lorraine says fostering is still the poor relation of Children’s Services – and although adoption often hits the headlines, only 5% of all ‘looked after’ children actually end up being adopted.
Joanne Sharples, fostering services manager at Perpetual Fostering, said: “It is broadly recognised that adoption is not the only mechanism by which permanency can be achieved for children and young people that are not able to reside within their family of origin.
“More emphasis needs to be given to the need to recruit more foster carers. For many children the permanent separation from their birth family is not in their best interest and in situations such as this, fostering can be a preferred option.
“This can only happen, however, if there are available foster carers who can be matched with a child or young person.”
There are currently an estimated 51,000 fostered children living with 43,000 foster families in England. However, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 7,000 foster families in the next 12 months alone to keep up with current demand.
In her documentary, Lorraine provides an insider’s guide to foster care by telling her own personal story and examining the impact of fostering on her life.
Lorraine will also examine what it takes to become a foster carer, and what looked-after children think of the system and care they receive.
Lorraine Pascale: The Truth About Fostering will air on Thursday June 19, at 9pm, on BBC Two.