Action for Children leads the children’s sector in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers 2014, which ranks Britain's best employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff.
We broke into the top 100 for the first time leaping to 51st place from 102nd last year.
Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2014, which takes into account a range of key indicators including a confidential employee attitude survey and the results of a confidential questionnaire of lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, with over 9,700 participants.
LGB Champion and director of public policy, Helen Donohoe, said: “Moving up so quickly in the list is an amazing achievement. The charity has taken onboard the new ideas to ensure that everyone feels able to be themselves at work and give us all they’ve got. It’s fantastic recognition for the team and we will continue to improve and progress on LGB equality.”
Michelle Moon Lim from Stonewall said: “Not only have you debuted in the Top 100, Action for Children’s rank is astounding. We were particularly impressed with your comprehensive equality impact assessments, anti-bullying and harassment initiatives and new line manager guidance.
"Tracking the last twelve months, the submission demonstrated the true impact your diversity and inclusion initiatives have had on your staff and the young people you support. We commend you and your team for all your hard work. Congratulations again.”
Dame Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley and Amanda Holden are among a host of stars who have shared their most cherished childhood snaps to front a new campaign called ‘Create my memories,’ in a bid to recruit more foster carers in the UK.The campaign led by Barnardo’s, the UK leading children’s charity, is calling on members of the public to consider becoming foster carers and help create happy childhood memories for some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.
Current figures show that 8,600 more foster carers are urgently needed to look after children across the UK.
In an attempt to broadcast its plea for more foster carers to the public, Barnardo’s has persuaded some of Britain’s most famous faces including Twiggy, Peter Capaldi, Nicola Roberts and Russell Howard to step back in time and reveal some candid images and stories from school days, summer holidays and family life.
Using the adorable collection of pictures, Barnardo’s will be staging projection stunts throughout the charity’s 6th annual Fostering and Adoption Week, on the busiest high streets in London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Barnardo’s is targeting commuters, January sales shoppers and theatre goers in all three cities, giving a glimpse into the early years of some of the nation’s favourite celebrities.
Model, actress and singer Twiggy spoke about her picture and early childhood:
One of my favourite childhood memories was when we went on holiday to holiday camps by the sea every summer. I loved the little chalets we slept in and there was always so much to do and so many children to play with.
Another cherished memory was being cuddled by my Dad before going to bed and him reading me a story. I felt so safe and loved”.
Brenda Farrell, head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo’s, said:
Without the right foster family to care for them, many vulnerable children may never experience the love and stability they so desperately need and happy memories will remain a distant dream. We are truly grateful that so many household names are helping us to broadcast our plea for people to consider becoming foster parents.
Currently a third of all children in foster care are moved between different families more than twice every year due to the lack of suitable foster carers. The number of children in the care system in the UK has risen for the 7th year in a row to more than 90,000 and at least 8,600 new foster carers are needed in the UK.
It is a critical situation and Barnardo’s is looking for people with patience and commitment to provide a stable home for the most vulnerable children in the UK. Fostering is a caring career and I would encourage those who feel they have a lot of love to give to get in touch.”
Barnardo’s is particularly keen to speak to older people with life experience, whether they are parents themselves or not. There is no upper age limit although there is a minimum age of 21. Barnardo’s does not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability or employment status.
Find out more about fostering or call 08000 277 280.
St Christopher’s will be opening a new regional office in Peterborough on 13 January, as we look to recruit and support foster carers across Peterborough and Cambridge.
St Christopher’s provides an excellent training and support package to equip foster carers with the skills needed to help a young person reach their potential. We are particularly looking for carers who can provide a loving home to siblings, teenagers and children with disabilities.
We have three fostering events in Peterborough and Cambridge in January to answer any questions potential foster carers may have.
On Saturday, 11 January, 2014 we will be at Tesco Milton, Cambridge Road, Industrial Estate, Milton, Cambridge.
The following week Saturday, 18 January, 2014 we will be at Rivergate Shopping Centre, Vierzen Platz, Peterborough.
On Wednesday, 29 January, 2014 we will be attending the Peterborough Job Fair at Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough.
Karen Cann, Regional Fostering Manager, said:“I am really looking forward to growing a fostering service in Peterborough. St Christopher’s is focused on providing high quality services that have a strong focus on positive outcomes for children.”
For further information about fostering or to make an enquiry please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 234 6282.
FtSE Member News: TACT comment following the announcement that the care leaving age in Scotland will be raised to 21
TACT welcomes the announcement by the Scottish Government that the care leaving age will be extended to 21 for all young people in foster, kinship or residential care. The measure will be introduced on April 2015. The changes, introduced in a Scottish Government amendment to the Children and Young Persons’ Bill, will also see an extension of after care support from 21 to 26.
TACT’s Director of Children’s Services Scotland, Lesley Stocks said;
“TACT is delighted to see the Scottish Government take this step that will benefit all those in care. TACT has been calling for an extension to the care leaving age and the government deserves credit for taking action. While we appreciate that change cannot take place immediately, we are concerned to see that young people reaching 18 before April 2015 will not benefit. As the Scottish government accepts the need for change, we hope they will provide additional support and funding for this group of young people who will otherwise miss out.’
Read more information on the Scottish Government announcement
The announcement follows a recent decision to allow young people in England to stay in foster care until 21. However it goes further in also applying to young people in residential and kinship care.
TACT fundraises to provide additional support and assistance for young people placed in our care. If you would like to support our work. Visit http://tactcare.org.uk/support-us/ for more information.
Hundreds of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people are to be given greater rights to continuing their care placement into early adulthood from next year, the Scottish Government has announced today.
From April 2015, teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care who turn 16 will be entitled to remain looked after until the age of 21 under new provisions proposed for the Children and Young People Bill.
Carol Iddon, director of children’s services (UK North) at Action for Children, said: “The trauma that many children experience before being taken into care can mean that they are not ready to leave home as teenagers - many are forced to live independently at just 16 years old and we know it can be a dangerous and lonely experience. That is why today’s announcement is a vital step forward.
“It is great to see the Scottish Government taking a lead in committing to provide young people in all forms of care, not just foster care, with the support they need and deserve. We look forward to brighter futures for this generation of looked after children and those to come.”
Action for Children works with children and young people in care in Scotland and has provided evidence to the Children and Young People Bill to support the need for young people to remain in care until at least 21.
The number of children in care is at a 23-year high of 68,110 - a problem that is compounded by these young people having increasingly complex and deep rooted needs.
Our research shows that nearly 70% of service managers are reporting an increase in needs – which includes emotional support – for children who are in foster care. 50% of managers have also seen deterioration in the mental health of children in care within the past 12 months.
We're also witnessing a consistent trend, particularly of children placed within the independent fostering sector, to seek fostering placements, as opposed to residential alternatives, to meet their needs.
Darren Johnson, operational director of children’s placements at Action for Children said: “Not only is there an increase in children coming into the care system, Action for Children is now having to find homes for children who have been traumatised by abuse and neglect. Many have emotional, behavioural and attachment disorders, which they will have experienced either living in residential care or have had multiple placement breakdowns.
“Foster placements are broken down into two categories; standard and therapeutic solo placements. Those children with complex needs should be found therapeutic foster placements, where foster carers have had specialised training to provide the best support available. However, some local authorities are faced with reduced budgets and financial constraints, and are having to make difficult choices leading to decisions that are often cost driven and not needs led. This can have serious implications for the child or young person during their time in the care system.
“The future for children with complex needs will worsen if the benefits of solo therapeutic foster carers are ignored in place of care that produces immediate cost benefits, but fails to give children the help they need.”
A therapeutic foster home is two to three times more expensive than a standard foster home, however a good therapeutic foster carer can have an immediate, positive and lasting impact on the child. Where children with complex needs are put into a standard foster placement, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of a placement breakdown because the carers are not equipped to cope due to lack of properly resourced support, putting an already highly vulnerable child at greater risk of multiple placement moves.
This year’s Argos Toy Exchange has provided a bumper Christmas bonus for some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children, with over £560,000 worth of donated pre-loved children’s toys going to Barnardo’s, thanks to the partnership with the leading toy retailer.During the six week Argos Toy Exchange campaign donations to Barnardo’s rose by over 56,000 bags.
Barnardo’s director of retail and trading, Gerard Cousins said:
This is the second year of the partnership and we are delighted that the Argos Toy Exchange has again proved such a success, particularly in such a challenging economic climate. Christmas is one of our busiest times, so receiving this substantial boost to our stock is a real festive bonus.
Donations are absolutely essential, to keep our stores trading. All profits from selling these toys are ploughed directly into Barnardo’s work with vulnerable and disadvantaged children, so a huge thank-you to everyone who has taken part.”
Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Argos, said:
As a family retailer we hope that the money raised will mean more children get to have a happy Christmas this year and in years to come thanks to our customers’ generosity and kindness.”
The Toy Exchange is in the second year of a partnership between toy retailer Argos and children’s charity Barnardo’s. It encouraged Argos customers to donate their pre-loved toys at stores across the UK, to be sold through Barnardo’s network to raise money to benefit some of the most disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
Those making donations were rewarded with a voucher offering £5 off a £35 spend on toys at Argos, with vouchers valid right up until Christmas Eve.
To donate pre-loved clothes, toys, or goods to Barnardo’s, please visit one of our 540 of shops across the UK. Find your nearest shop.
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