The paper reports some of the findings of an exploratory study which looks at foster fathers' experiences of fostering and discusses their routes into foster care and their perspectives on their roles and tasks. The study collected quantitative and qualitative data by approaching all foster fathers registered with a single independent fostering agency based in southeast England. They were asked about their personal and
In the last issue of Adoption & Fostering RobbieGilligan set out the need to focus on the roles of male foster carers. Simon Newstone continues the debate with an examination of how male foster carers perceive their responsibilities, often referred to as providing a 'positive male role model' to children. Discussions and interviews with men who foster reveal divergent views about what this role model comprises. A review of literature and research suggests that 'involved' male carers can contribute to better outcomes for children, including fostered children. Involved men may offer a 'nurturing' or a 'traditional' male role model to youngsters. Outcomes in areas such as health, education, and self-care will be improved for looked after young people if male foster carers model good practice, and are actively involved in the children's lives. Agencies need to review the roles they expect male carers to play, and improve the ways in which they acknowledge and support men.Simon Newstone is Centre Manager, Families for Children (independent fostering agency)
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