Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Can you imagine what a better world it would be if all parents had to be like foster parents?

People need to be told the full facts about parenting before they have children. Not a few hairy stories from Auntie Flo but the whole story layed out from on high about how the rest of your life will change, and change for the better if you do the job right, change for the worse if you don't.

People should be vetted and approved before they have children. Someone once accused me of sounding like a Nazi when I said this, but I've not met anybody who doesn't agree. No-one's trying to create a master race for goodness sake, just pointing out that bringing up babies is not for everyone just because they know how to make babies. We already accept the idea that intervention is acceptable; people are not allowed to have children until they are 16. So the principle that some people aren't ready to be parents is agreed, we just need to roll it out further.

You need training to know how to bring up a child.  An old schoolfriend of mine married an architect; he'd had to train for 7 years to before they'd let him loose on designing a building. They have three children with not an ounce of training between them. What's more important a child or a kitchen extension?

You need support to bring up a child. Is there any lonelier place than 3.00am standing on your landing with a screaming baby red in its face and clearly in some sort of pain, but you've no idea what the problem is because you weren't trained to be a parent and you can't phone anyone to get advice or support because the only number you can dial is the rubbish government non-emergency faceless nameless NHS Helpline 111 thing which everyone says is a waste of time.

You need an expert to drop in once a month. When you have a baby a nurse pops in every so often and it's fantastic. Just having someone in a uniform in the house takes a huge weight of responsibility off. They give good tips about  babies. Then they stop coming. And you're on your own. The only advice you get is from unqualified ignoramus women such as "Let them cry if they want to it helps with their learning to talk when they get older."

You need to write down how your children are coming along.  Keeping a diary of weekly happenings is a fantastic way of separating important things and getting a focus on solving problems. Everyone writes and receives reports on their work, schools do reports on every child on every subject, there must be something in it.

Every child needs a Personal Education Plan. Foster children get one. The school sits down with the foster parent and their social worker and everyone hammers out a tailored plan to get the best out of the child. Why can't every child have one?

In fostering you get checked out and fully informed up front of what the job entails, you get constant training in every aspect of the job, there's always someone on hand to help; 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You get visits from social workers; that's why I keep running out of coffee. You write reports and someone reads them and responds. You are part of a team, and your parenting is valued and rewarded.

If the above happened the world would be a better place, so much so there'd hardly be any need for fostering, and the day that happens will be a great day for the human race!


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