I've written this post over and over in my head since the first episode of 'Protecting Our Foster Kids' aired. I've been through the programme's events, wondered at the bits we weren't shown (I'm sure there was a lot left out!), wished so hard that things had turned out differently for those sisters, and rebutted many of the naive, judgemental and sometimes downright insulting comments I heard and read about those foster carers.
I've written it so often and so eloquently in my head that I'm not going to bother writing it all again here. I'm over it. Instead, I'm just going to say this:
If you watched that programme and thought those foster carers weren't good enough, that they failed those children, that the children deserved better, that the system is broken or that you could have done better, then go and apply to be a foster carer.
I'm not being flippant.
What we saw in that documentary was the sad reality for so many young people ricocheting around the foster care system. Apparently 25% of teens will have had 4 or more placements. This is why I metaphorically roll my eyes when I hear people talk about 'permanence options' in the context of long term foster care. Often, there's nothing permanent about it.
So, maybe you watched that programme and thought you could do better. Perhaps you could. Call your local authority or a voluntary agency near you and enquire about becoming a foster carer then.
And if it's not for you, now or ever, then that's ok. It's not for everyone. But let's remember this: whatever else we might say about those foster carers, their commitment, their experience or their abilities, at least they stepped up and tried to do something. They made that call. They stepped into the unknown. Nobody goes into fostering to let kids down. Most people don't go into fostering at all. Let's give a little credit to those who at least tried to marry actions to their words.