Male foster carers lack support from services because professionals are more likely to focus on their female partners, according to a report by charity Fostering Network today.
The charity says it is vital that services improve access to training and support for men, who make up just 1% of the UK’s 43,000 foster families.
The report highlights barriers to learning and training faced by hard-to-reach foster carers, who find it difficult become involved in training and professional development opportunities during working hours.
Male foster carers said the content and delivery of the training failed to consider their needs.
The charity said male foster carers can offer a valuable and positive relationship to vulnerable children, especially boys, by providing the chance to explore issues about their birth father and have contact with men who understand their needs.
“Male foster carers have a particularly important place as role models for children in care,” said Joanna Adande, Fostering Network’s membership development manager. “It is vital that fostering services do everything they can to ensure that all foster carers can attend training and are engaged with all aspects of fostering.
“If fostering services fail to do this, these foster carers will not be able to meet the standards, and they will be unable to continue fostering. There is already a shortage of 10,000 foster carers across the UK – fostering services can’t afford to lose any more through complacency.”
The Fostering Network, in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, has produced a practical toolkit, guidance and recommendations to help fostering services to engage men, and others considered hard to reach, including older foster carers and those with English as a second language.