In our experience this is one of the areas which is as much needed out there as it is underdeveloped/largely unavailable. Yes, there are some bilingual foster carers dotted around England and Wales (and thank goodness for them!), but the fact is that this resource is far from sufficient to meet the growing demand for culturally suitable foster placements. Those carers are also scattered across private fostering agencies and numerous local authority in-house provisions throughout the country, so an average social worker would struggle to know where to even start. We at AGFS are determined to change this soon
We believe that our existing niche in all things Eastern European (at least as far as social work and child care practice go), in addition to our existing and tested organisational systems, place us in a unique position to meet the demand for this service. As such, we have begun the relevant planning process, with the view of setting up a nationwide bilingual fostering services by the end of 2019. It would become a distinct, new branch of AGFS operations. Though we would naturally at first seek to establish a strong Eastern European language foster carer base, it is already certain that we would soon afterwards expand to cater for other languages, depending on national demand.
We are passionate about the need for local authorities to be able to place young children especially, with culturally and linguistically matching foster carers. This helps promote an uninterrupted cultural identity and language development in vulnerable children who are removed from parental care for the life of care proceedings and beyond.
We would welcome comments and suggestions from professionals and organisations who might be interested in working with AGFS to develop this service.