We believe it takes a village to raise children.
I was reading the news today and found an interesting article claiming, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As I was reading the article, I was nodding away and agreeing with more and more of the article.
What is a Village?
Around twenty-five years ago or more, we relied on our communities and networks to help us raise children – everyone would put their hands up to help out. When we would see someone needing help, reaching out was easy to do; this would be offering a service, a helping hand, a hot meal or even just a cuddle for a mother or father having a difficult day.
Mental health was not really spoken of as much as it is now in 2019. Whilst mothers were once expected to just be mothers and stay home and nurse their child, this has changed significantly. Mothers now have many expectations placed on them which consist of being a mother, running a household and supporting other family members (partners and other children). And to top it off, there is always the potential pressure of returning to the work force quickly due to the financial demands on many households.
As a society, we no longer have a village to help us raise our children. Society has changed; people in the streets are too worried about the implications if they speak to others or offer a helping hand. We worry about the safety of our children and about leaving them with neighbours and friends (even those we think we know well). In general, we have all become very good at offering the help, but when it actually comes to delivering this help, do we drop everything to help? Or are we just too busy?
The Village and Out of Home Care
Working in the Out of Home Care sector has opened my eyes to the above statement, as we are all part of the village it takes to raise a child.
One contributing factor for a child or young person to enter care is their family situation. I sit here and wonder if these families had a village around them to raise their children, would we have less children needing foster care and more reunification. One of the most important elements for a child or young person who is placed in a foster family is that they come with a village. This consists of the case manager / agency involved, psychologist, education specialist, extended family of the foster family, the birth parents, their family and many other readily available supports.
Becoming Part of the Village
Caring with Carers works with our communities to make sure they are informed about the need for foster carers and the meaning of “it takes a village”. If you believe it takes a village to raise a child or family, speak up and reach out to those who need you most; this could be the birth family who are struggling to care for their own child or another carer or parent needing you.
We have lost the village it takes to raise a child.