Thursday, July 02, 2015


At the end of year concert the Head always likes stand up and say welcome to "Parents and Carers". The school always goes for 'Parents and Carers".

It makes me uncomfortable, it's a thing that just reminds our placements they are different, and they don't need it.

One of the advantages you have as a foster parent is that certain organisations treat you extra-well. The doctors surgery, I find, bends over backwards. The dentists too. 

Schools too, for the most part, are that little bit more helpful, to begin with anyway.

Schools have their minor problems with their understanding of foster parents, and it seems we're nowhere near solving them.

Unbelievably, a major problem is what to call us.

Letters home, when I was at school, were addressed to

'The Parents of...'

That turned into 

'The Parents or Guardians of...'

Which became

'The Parent or Guardian of...'

Then the 'Guardian' bit got dropped in favour of;

'The Parent or Carer' although you sometimes get 'Parents or Carers' where whoever has addressed the envelope isn't up to speed on the fact that a large number of parents and carers are single.

Years ago one of my foster children was hacked off at Sports Day when the Head (it's always the Head who gobbles the microphone whenever they can) announced 'It's time for the Mums and Carers race'

Does it matter? Yes, if it matters to the child it matters big time actually.

Schools are places of learning, it is at school we drink from the cup of knowledge. Some things are elusive in terms of actual facts such as art and music, some things are clear facts set in stone, such as 2+2=4.

Shame on all schools they don't know what the dictionary definition of parent is.

There's no ambiguity about it. A parent is a guardian, is a person who raises a child. A protector, an adopting person.

I've no idea how this heavy handed distinction - a factually incorrect one - has wormed its way into universal usage. My thing is that every time a looked-after child comes across it it reminds them of their plight and that can lead to issues.

I've added the definition in case anyone wants to use it.

The dictionary says a 'Parent" is:

1.a. female person whose egg unites with a sperm or a male person whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in the conception of a child or thebirth of a child.
b. female person who is pregnant with or gives birth to a child except when someone else has legal rights to the child.
c. person who adopts a child.
d. person who raises a child.
2. An ancestor; a progenitor.
3. An organism that produces or generates offspring.
4. guardian; a protector.
5. parent company.
6. source or cause; an origin:


  1. When Eve and I were at school it was Parent, Guardian or Carer.

    1. Even worse for you. It's as though they are streaming kids according to the home they go back to each day. Idiots.

  2. I like this, I'm a foster PARENT.
    I know that I should call myself "X's foster carer" but the reality is I'm "X's mum" (unless I can't avoid it, eg at the Doctors). This was lead by the kids in our care, who are with us long term and made it clear they wanted to use our familly titles - and actually its our job description. I'm Mum, husband is Dad and all our family get their proper titles from Aunty, to Nanna, to Cousin. I guess birth parents find this hard to accept, perhaps that why social workers and other professionals don't like the term "Foster Parent" but in reality you have to go with what works for the kids. And when you are the one sitting up at 2am with a poorly mite, or helping with homework despite being shattered from the day job at the office, or enforcing the tooth brushing then you are a parent. No other title works for me.

  3. You are indeed a foster PARENT. And if I'm any judge a damn good foster PARENT. Keep doing what you're doing MUM, and say Hi to DAD for me.