How Foster carers can help a child/young person involved in gangs
How foster carers can support children associated with gangs
There is an increase in knife crime in the country and so the word ‘gangs and violence’ has become very prevalent. But do we actually know that young people are put at risk by gang activity, both through participation in or could be victims of gang violence.
Gang can be defined as durable, predominantly street based group of children who see themselves and other as discernible group for whom crime and violence is integral to their group’s identity. Children rarely use the term ‘gang’, instead they use terms such as ‘family’, ‘breddrin’, ‘crews’, ‘cuz’ (cousins), ‘my boys’ or simply ‘the people I grew up with’. A child or young person may be involved with the gang or affected by a gang and so it needs to be handled accordingly. It’s not necessary that a group of children/ young people may be classed as a gang, however, if the group is known by a name, has a defined territory, uses specific colour particularly in clothing, uses specific hand gestures or signs, uses symbols shown in tattoos and graffiti then it can be classified as gang
Violence is a way for gang members to gain recognition and respect by asserting their power and authority in the street.
There are various factors which influences a child’s inclination to initiate violence. This could be due to parenting style which is uncaring/ neglectful, parenting which includes harsh disciplining, any form of physical or sexual abuse in childhood and trauma such as domestic abuse.
Children in care become more vulnerable to gangs and so it becomes important for foster parents to have understanding about gangs.
Foster parents can help support a child involved or affected by gangs by learning about the gang in their area and the signs that their foster child has been involved which could include gang signs, clothing, by their language and gestures and signs etc.
Inspire your foster children to value educational success, and expose them to activities outside of their usual environment.
Protect foster children from negative influences that encourage gang involvement. They can also talk about the risks involved with gangs and its consequences. Moreover, the foster carers can also seek support from professionals if concerned about a child’s involvement with gangs.
At Sunbeam, we have many trainings and support groups on gang culture and youth violence. All our foster carers have the skills and we have a good success percentage. All the carers have their own social worker and they always contact their social worker or our help & support line to get the necessary guidance. Over 95% of our children and young people are in education or employment when they turn 18 years old and leave our foster carers home. Call us today on 02087990930 to become a foster carer and help a child in need.