FtSE Member News: Community Foster Care's Registered Manager Anne Bone’s Training in Theraplay Goes Down a Storm!
Community Foster Care's Registered Manager Anne Bone has training down to a T.
Anne, based in our Garstang office, hosted a one-day introduction to U-In-Mind on February 28 for foster and adoptive parents at the request of the social services department in Blackburn. A second taster day is due to take place on May 23.
The theme of the taster days is the links between attachment and neuroscience and how the attachment-based intervention of Theraplay® (a child and family therapy) helps to build and enhance attachment, self-esteem and trust because it is based on the natural patterns of playful and healthy interaction between parent and child.
All taster day participants rated the training as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
The following comment by one attendee summed up the feedback: "The Theraplay® experience provided invaluable advice on helping children in our care with emotional and behavioural difficulties. The brain development explanation was most informative in helping to understand the children with whom we work.”
Another commented: "It was at the right pitch - easy to understand and useful."
Anne will also deliver a training day for Adoption and Fostering Professionals at the request of Blackburn Social Services on March 21.
Blackpool Social Services invited Ann to host an evening of Theraplay® Techniques for their Adoptive and Foster Carers on March 6. A second session for Blackpool Social Services takes place on April 2.
Find out more about CFC's Theraplay® sessions.
FtSE MEMBER NEWS: PACT - FOSTERING SERVICES LAUNCH A NEW CAMPAIGN TO FIND MORE FOSTER CARERS AND KEEP SIBLINGS TOGETHER
PARENTS And Children Together (PACT), Oxfordshire County Council and Tower Hamlets are launching a new fostering service choosefostering this week to encourage people to consider fostering sibling groups.
59%* of children in care have brothers and sisters also in care and sadly there aren’t enough foster carers who can take in sibling groups.
choosefostering is a new service which includes information, support and training for people who want to foster brothers and sisters and keep them together. This project has been supported by funding from the Department for Education.
This innovative consortium has produced a recruitment campaign including a cinema advert which will air in selected cinemas in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and London from 21st March for two weeks and is available to view on the campaign website www.choosefostering.org.
As well as the joy of caring for children, the role is supported with:
“This campaign aims to let potential foster carers know about the rewards and the support for those who love children and feel the time is right for them to foster.
“Our current foster carers tell us that fostering sibling groups is hugely rewarding as brothers and sisters support each other and are usually more confident when they live together.
“In fact, many of our experienced foster carers prefer to foster groups of children rather than a lone child and they thrive on a busy schedule and a full home.
“I urge you to visit the website today or give us a call and find out more about fostering siblings.”
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “We do all we can to keep brothers and sisters together when it is necessary for them to be taken out of the home of their birth family.
“This new campaign shows how different organisations can work together for the interests of our local people.”
TACT are delighted that Welsh Assembly members have voted to allow young people in care an entitlement to stay with their foster carers until they are 21.
This move follows recent announcements in England and Scotland allowing post 18 entitlements for care leavers. This is a hugely positive development that will allow young people, who would otherwise have been required to move into independent accommodation at 18, to stay in a secure and settled environment. For young adults, this security in crucial in helping them reach their potential.
While we are delighted with this development, in order to properly succeed, there will need to be sufficient funding made available to ensure that as many young people as possible are able to take advantage of the new entitlement. Funding details are not yet clear, and we and we will be closely monitoring further announcements.
Early findings from the Fostering Network’s pioneering Head, Heart, Hands programme show that social pedagogy is already having a positive impact on foster carers, social workers, and most importantly the children in their care.
Head, Heart, Hands is introducing social pedagogy into seven fostering services across England and Scotland to understand how the approach can improve foster care and enable children and young people to fulfil their potential.
The end of 2013 marked the conclusion of the first year of work in the fostering services, with the main focus on the learning and development courses where foster carers, social workers and others have been getting to grips with a social pedagogic approach and what it might mean for their work.
Following these courses, foster carers and social workers have been putting the theory, tools and techniques into practice. This has given them increased confidence to be advocates for children, improved their relationships with each other and the children in their care, and encouraged them to take a more reflective approach to their work to understand how they can do things better.
Alongside this, the fostering services have been making changes to support a social pedagogic approach. They are exploring new approaches to recruitment and training, breaking down barriers between different teams, looking at how to allow children to take risks as an essential part of learning and growing up, and addressing social work language and jargon that can often be cold and alienating to foster carers and children.
Raina Sheridan, deputy chief executive of the Fostering Network and the programme’s director, said: “The level of commitment and achievement during the first full year of Head, Heart, Hands has been excellent. The enthusiasm with which the foster carers, social workers and fostering services have explored social pedagogy and what it might mean for them has been great to see and bodes well for the rest of the programme.”
As well as the early positive signs, the programme has encountered challenges. These have included difficulties in defining social pedagogy, initial anxiety among some due to unfamiliarity with the term, finding time for foster carers and social workers to reflect on their work, and overcoming the barriers posed by the prevailing risk-averse culture.
Sheridan continued: “As with any programme of this scale and ambition, achievements come hand in hand with challenges. While it is understandable people have felt uneasy at first with an unfamiliar term, one of the aims of the programme is to understand what social pedagogic foster care looks like so we hope to be able to articulate that soon.
“Trying to work in a social pedagogic way has also been difficult within a risk-averse culture that is still heavily entrenched despite all the work that has been done on delegating more authority to foster carers and through our popular Safer Caring publication. However, the hunger and appetite for change we are seeing within the programme gives us confidence that we can address these challenges.”
The Fostering Network has produced a short film based on the early experiences of two of the fostering services involved, and a summary of what has been achieved during the first year is available to download.
This spring, Children’s charity Barnardo’s and retailer, John Lewis are encouraging communities of Scotland to take part in a mass spring clean and recycling campaign, to rid their wardrobes of unused, unworn and unloved items and recycle them through selected John Lewis stores.Between 21 March and 6 April 2014, pre-loved clothes can be donated to John Lewis in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.All profits from the donations received will fund Barnardo’s work in transforming the lives of children, young people and their families.
It is estimated that a third (around 350,000 tonnes) of all clothes bought in the UK end up in landfill, but if they were donated for reuse or recycling they could generate £140 million in revenue, a staggering amount of money and which the charity could put to very good use.
Extending the life of clothes by just three months of active use per item, would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints, something we all need to take notice of.
Gerard Cousins, Director of Retail at the charity, said:
We’re really pleased to be partnering with John Lewis in this recycling initiative.It makes perfect sense to recycle unwanted clothes rather than throw them out. The clothes that are donated will be transferred to our stores across Scotland where they will sell or recycled to raise funds to transform the lives of the UK’s most disadvantaged children. And the figures speak for themselves in terms of the positive impact recycling has on the environment.
Of course that also means donors can then replenish their wardrobe with all the great new stock in John Lewis– it’s a win, win situation."
Barnardo’s would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donates and shops in our stores. Money raised in our shops helps fund services which support children and young people across the UK.
Visit Barnardo’s Scotland to find out how you can get involved and show you believe in children.
The National Assembly for Wales has agreed to change the law to stop children being forced out of foster care on their 18th birthday, following a successful campaign by charities Action for Children-Gweithredu dros Blant and the Fostering Network Wales.
The Chance to Stay - Cyfle I Aros campaign called for assembly members to use the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill to give young people the right to stay with their foster carers until they are at least 21 years old.
During a session in the Senedd, on Tuesday 18 March, assembly members from all parties voted to include an amend to the Bill from Lindsay Whittle AM, meaning that all Welsh local authorities will be required by law to let children continue to live with their foster parents beyond the age of 18.
Brigitte Gater, interim director of children’s services at Action for Children-Gweithredu dros Blant, said: “We are pleased that assembly members have recognised the urgent need to prevent young people being forced out of the care system into an isolated and dangerous independent life.
“The strong cross-party agreement for this change is testament to the courage of our young campaigners. These young people helped gather support by sharing their experiences of leaving care – sometimes as young as 16 – and explaining how they needed more time with supportive foster carers to develop into adulthood.
“We are looking forward to working with the Welsh Government to ensure this law makes a real difference to the lives of young people in Wales.”
Employment Opportunity - Community Family Care Requires Family Support Worker (Maternity Cover Contract)
Community Foster Care's sister organisation, Community Family Care, requires a Family Support Worker for a Maternity Cover Contract.
The position will be based in Staunton, Gloucestershire, with a salary of £14,143 - £25,000 (dependent upon experience/qualifications).
They are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated person to work with families, children and young people to deliver a high quality support service.
Click here to find out more about this FSW role.
Sexuality is seen as a barrier to becoming parents by one in three (36 per cent) gay people – rising to one in two (53 per cent) in Scotland, according to new research published by Action for Children and New Family Social.
The survey of 400 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parents and people who are considering fostering and adoption in the UK, also reveals that one in four (25 per cent) were told that they should not be a parent - often by their own family.
The findings mark the launch of New Family Social’s LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week (3-9 March), as the two charities partner to dispel the myths within the gay community and the general public. Other Action for Children research shows one in three (32 per cent) of the general UK population believe that being gay means you are unable to foster children.
Jacob Tas, interim chief executive of Action for Children, said: “Being a good parent has nothing to do with being gay or straight. Right now there are more than 6,000 children waiting to be adopted and an urgent need to find 8,600 foster families. We run fostering and adoption services and help children achieve their dreams of having families.”
Tor Docherty, director of New Family Social said: “If just one per cent of the LGBT community adopt or foster, this could plug the gap and ensure every child in the country has a loving home.”
Joe Smith, 39, and Michael Blair, 47, from Kent, adopted a three-year-old boy in 2012. “When we told our friends and family that we were going to adopt, quite a few of them were surprised and several actually commented saying ‘oh they are letting you have children.
“We truly believed that we would be the last couple to get a child. This was completely incorrect and if we hadn’t researched further into adoption we would still be waiting to become Daddy Mike and Daddy Joe to Archie.”
Children must be given a greater role in selecting their residential care workers, according to Action for Children.
The report, “Residential Children’s Homes”, published today by the House of Commons Education Committee, examines the Government’s reforms on residential children’s homes including the recommendation that children should have a greater say in selecting the care staff.
Jan Leightley, acting executive director of operations at Action for Children, said: “With any relationship you know if you click with somebody. This is the same for children in care and their support team which is why we support today’s recommendation.
“Care workers are everything to a young person; they are there when they wake up, get home from school or in the middle of the night if they wake from a nightmare.”
Action for Children puts children at the heart of its work and involves young people on its job interview panels.
Shiloh, a teenager from Gloucestershire, who has been on Action for Children interview panels said: “Involving children and young people in finding staff is important… it gives children and young people an opportunity to have their say.
“We also think that children and young people bring different skills to interview panels, for example reading body language and if we are able to speak to the person and be listened to.”
For more information on Action for Children's residential care services click here.
There’s a famous advertising slogan that goes: “It does exactly what it says on the tin”. That’s as may be, but modern life means you have to know what it doesn’t say on the tin.
Parents and foster carers have to be especially alert to what it doesn’t say on the tin. Earlier this week, one of our foster children asked me if I had any cinnamon. I had a hunt around the back of the larder and found a couple of sticks. The child said: “That’s not cinnamon, cinnamon is a red powder.” The child wanted ground cinnamon.
Normally I would have asked what the cinnamon was for, but this particular child tends to be a closed book and resents being questioned. Anyway, what could anyone want cinnamon for but biscuits? I wrote it on the shopping list and spent £1.89 on a tiny jar (and mentally rehearsed doing some baking, a joyful thing to do with children, especially if it’s their idea).
Only the child wasn’t planning to use the cinnamon for baking, it was used to self harm. That was definitely not on the tin.
Pain they can control
Self-harming is a huge concern in fostering. One’s instinct is to try to prevent the child from self-harming, to hide everything that might be used, suggesting, instructing and eventually begging the child not to do it. But one’s instinct is wrong.
We should refrain from disapproval. If we come across a foster child in their bedroom with blood coming from their arms, we should stay calm and neutral, ask them if they’re OK, fetch some towels and then follow the appropriate medical course of action.
This particular foster child is a delightful person who, with a bit of luck, will grow to become the person they were destined to be. That is, before something led them to doubt their worth and created a desire to feel pain they could control.
That, we are told, is what is usually going on when children and young people cut themselves. Or chew through their own cheeks. Or burn themselves, punch themselves, swallow things or put things into their body in other ways.
Or ask for cinnamon, which was neither eaten nor inserted by the way. I know how it was used to self-harm because this particular foster child trusts us enough to do it openly, even asking me if I wanted to try.
And here’s another dilemma: do I explain how the cinnamon was used even though there’s a risk that a vulnerable person may read this? Well, I’ll tell you how this everyday household ingredient was used. It could be a helpful forewarning and the information is already in the public domain anyway.
A small amount of salt is placed on the forearm, then sprinkled with cinnamon. An ice cube is also involved and the mixture creates a benign burn, which leaves a red mark that stays for several days.
I called my social worker for advice. She advised: “Don’t make a thing out of it. And don’t run out of ice or cinnamon; the child might be tempted to go on to something worse.”
What it doesn’t say on the tin…
I squinted at the small print on the little cinnamon jar. It said: “Rub into a leg…” and I thought to myself, “Aha! They are clued up about this!” Then I turned the jar round to read the rest of the advice. “Rub into a leg…of lamb for wondrous winter flavours.”
The secret foster carer is a blogger and registered foster carer with Blue Sky Fostering
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