Language in Care, Let’s Change the Narrative.

12th December, 2023

Words are powerful, and language we use in care, even more so. Particularly when it comes to foster children which is why FosterCare UK wants to change the narrative.

How we change the narrative

“Foster children are problematic.”

This is a real comment someone left on our social media recently when we mentioned our MATTS service. And while it’s a bold statement, we don’t want to shy away from it, because it opens an interesting question around people’s perceptions of children in care.

Naturally, this comment sparked big debate and plenty of people were quick to interject that foster children were not, in fact, problematic, but it got us thinking.

Let’s put ourselves in a child’s point of view, because any child who is entering foster care has been through traumatic circumstances in some respect.

Can you imagine going through extreme trauma as a child only to have the adults in your life label you as problematic?

True, children who have experienced trauma, often at the hands of those meant to protect them, may behave in ways which society deem as undesirable. But as Supervising Social Worker, Sharon so eloquently put it,

“Presenting behaviours are only another way of a child communicating how fizzy they are inside and can’t find the words to explain this powerful feeling.”

For a traumatised child, it is downright dangerous to use labels like ‘problematic’, it can become an identity they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Let’s Change the Narrative.

It is up to us, the adults, the change the narrative about how we perceive children in care.

“Foster children are NOT problematic. They are traumatised.”

We have to be the ones to change perceptions around some of societies most vulnerable, and that starts with the language we use, the more conscious of it we are the more we change the narrative. As Sharon concluded,

“Learn to look behind the mask of behaviour, you will find the most beautiful child inside.”

This couldn’t be truer, behind every so called ‘problematic’ behaviour there is an unmet need.

Here at FosterCare UK, we are proud of our unique MATTS service, which provides mental health support to our children at the point of need. It’s a service our foster carers love because it works alongside the fostering families, to understand these needs and builds trust amongst the families. Together let’s change the narrative for looked after children, making it more positive and inclusive world.


Could you be part of the positive change? Learn more about becoming a foster carer with FosterCare UK by calling us today on 0844 800 1941.



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