The BBC came to Team Fostering's Sheffield office in January 2017 to film part of a documentary about care leavers.
They wanted to film Scott King, who himself is a former looked after young person, as he delivered his 'Child's World' training to our carers and staff. Child's World is Scott's personal narrative about his time growing up in care.
Watch the full documentary here
Nearly three-quarters of children in care have experienced a change in school, home or social worker over a 12-month period, data collated by the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England has shown.
Commissioner Anne Longfield's newly created Stability Index found that 50,011 looked-after children (71 per cent of the total children in care population) experienced a change in school, home or social worker between 2015 and 2016.
The report found that 25 per cent of children in care (17,609 children) had experienced two or more changes in their social worker and 10 per cent (7,043 children) had changed care placement more than twice.
In addition, 10 per cent of children in care moved school in the middle of the academic year, which is significantly higher than the proportion for all pupils, which is just three per cent, the research found.
A total of 2,000 children saw a change in all three areas: placement, school and social worker.
Longfield says children need stability as they grow up and a lack of continuity of care and education is strongly linked with lower attainment, behavioural and emotional difficulties and hinders their chances to establish relationships.
She said: "Children in the care system crave stability, just like any other child. Especially for these kids, having reliable, consistent adults in their lives is critical to helping them flourish and overcome problems they may have experienced in the past.
"Sometimes changes are unavoidable and occur for the right reasons. But when 'pinball kids' are pinged around the system, it can damage them and their future prospects.
"Many of these children enter care with complex issues and are highly vulnerable. We must find a better, more consistent way of meeting their needs."
For the research, children in care were interviewed about their personal experiences of disruption in their care and education.
One teenage girl told researchers: "I'm not willing to build up relationships again when they're going to leave again in a few months."
Another said that she was told by text message in the middle of her GCSEs that she would be changing schools.
The Stability Index has been created to help councils and schools reduce unnecessary changes.
This is particularly the case with school changes with the index finding that in more than half of cases children in care moved during the academic year without a change of placement.
The commissioner's office is working with a small number of councils to gather further evidence of the reasons for disruption and next year it plans to refine its research to look at levels of instability among different types of children in care.
An article has been published in the Guardian newspaper talking about our work with unaccompanied asylum seeking children and how we support them to settle into life in the UK.
The journalist first came to visit a 16+ service to talk to staff about the activities we plan for both UASC and young people from the UK so they can get to know each other. Young people then shared their stories of living with St Christopher's too and talked about bonding through cooking meals from their own cultures for one another.
She then went to watch one of the St Christopher's All Blacks football games. The team is made up of young people from all over the world who have bonded through their love of the sport.
The article is available in print and online by clicking here.
Foster carers working for Wandsworth Council are to receive a pay bump from this month on.
The council’s in-house foster carers will receive higher fees and allowances which equates to £196 a week for looking after a 0-10 year-olds and £255 a week for 11-17 year-olds.
Weekly fees will be £170 for 0-10 year-olds and £200 for 11 – 18 year-olds.
The council’s spokesman for children and young people Councillor Kathy Tracey said: "Fostering is a hugely rewarding career and each carer we recruit makes a real difference to the life of a young person who needs a home.
"We recognise that it can be demanding, especially for people looking after older children and siblings, and we want to properly reward our foster carers for their work by paying some of the most competitive rates in London."
According to the council the aim to "recruit and retain as many high quality foster carers as possible so that children can receive stable long-term care and are not sent to children’s homes or referred to expensive foster agencies".
Single foster carers, or at least one member of a couple, must be aged between 25 and 60 and be in good health and will receive ongoing training and support.
An open day will be held on May 26 at Wandsworth Town Hall.
Jessica Kingsley is publishing a "much-needed" new book for Foster Care Fortnight, to "demystify the experience for potential new foster parents".
Supported by TACT, a fostering and adoption charity, and to be accompanied by a wide marketing and publicity campaign, Welcome to Fostering will publish at the start of Foster Care Fortnight on 8th May.
Featuring a foreword by Lorraine Pascale, who draws on her own experiences of being fostered as a child, the book is edited by Andy Elvin, c.e.o. of TACT, and Martin Barrow, formerly news editor of The Times and an experienced foster carer himself.
According to the publisher, Welcome to Fostering is the "first book to explain what fostering is really like" and combines advice from veteran foster carers and professionals with the real-life experiences of foster children. The book will answer questions such as: 'What are the challenges and rewards? Is fostering really for me?'
Commissioning editor Steve Jones said: “I’m thrilled that Welcome to Fostering will be launching during Foster Care Fortnight. The fortnight helps to highlight the awe-inspiring work that foster carers do, and this book is an ideal introduction for anyone contemplating fostering, and is a fabulous addition to our range of titles supporting adoptive parents and foster carers.”
The brand new Director of Children's Services at the Department for Education visited two of our services in West London on Thursday, April 6 to meet young people and hear about their experiences of children's social care.
Phil Townsend, Director of Operations, acted as a tour guide for the day. Young people who were around the homes on the day had thought in advance about what questions they wanted to ask the government representative and what experiences they wanted to talk about with her.
The guest started her day at a Safe Steps children's home for girls at risk of exploitation. Social Pedagogy Trainer Nicola Boyce provided an overview of our services and model of care, before Manager Parveen Banga explained about the Safe Steps models and our experiences of being part of the DfE Innovation Programme.
Amelia, a young person who used to live in the home, also came back to talk about her experiences of St Christopher's and how much of a difference we made to her life.
Later in the afternoon the Director visited a 16+ service in West London. Manager Chardelle Margerison and Life-Skills and Participation Co-ordinator Alex Jones introduced the home and explained how we have developed our practice to support young people in their transitions from children's homes to supported housing to living independently. This included talking about a project where young people identified what they think is important for these moves and delivered training to managers of children's homes and 16+ services on making transitions easier.
Young people provided the Director with a tour of the two buildings and again shared their experiences of living with St Christopher's and being supported to move to independent accommodation.
Our guest really enjoyed the day and particularly highlighted how impressed she was with the way we focus on building relationships. She said it was rewarding to see staff and young people together as you could really see how they had bonded and built strong relationships.
*Names of young people have been changed
FtSE Member News: The Children's Family Trust carers shortlisted at Towergate Insurance Awards for Excellence in Care
At The CFT we pride ourselves on having some of the best Foster Carers in the country… and we are absolutely thrilled when our Carers are recognised by outside parties for their hard work and contributions to fostering.
In March 2017, we were notified that our Foster Carers, Clare & Mike Eynon – had been shortlisted to be finalists for the ‘Fostering Contribution of the Year’ award, awarded by Towergate Insurance.
Clare & Mike were invited to attend the awards ceremony at The Dorchester in London on March 23rd 2017, along with the registered manager for their CFT fostering region, Jayne Figgett.
The Towergate awards are an opportunity for people from all across the care community to come together and celebrate the very in care excellence. Towergate Insurance present a number of different awards to people from all areas of the care sector, including Therapists, Volunteers, Education Workers and Young People.
Clare and Mike had been shortlisted to receive the award in the ‘Fostering contribution of the year’ category due to their continued outstanding commitment to fostering, including their devotion to young parents who need support in learning how to care for their children and become well equipped parents. In addition to this, they were also recognised for their strength and dedication to fostering following a tragic experience in which a young child placed with them sadly passed away due to severe disability and illness.
Unfortunately, Clare & Mike were not chosen as the winners of this category, however were still given an honourable mention, as well as receiving a certificate and some Red Letter Days vouchers in recognition of their nomination – an excellent achievement in itself!
Kathryn Tibbles has joined Community Foster Care as the new Office Administrator.
Brought up in Bishop’s Cleeve and now living in Apperley with her husband Mark and two children, Kathryn spent 12 years of her working life with the Chelsea Building Society.
She is no stranger, however, to the world of fostering – her in-laws used to foster and having cared-for children as part of her extended family was the norm.
Her new role at the agency’s HQ in Staunton sees Kathryn, 34, returning to work after a three-year spell looking after her two children.
“Everyone’s been very helpful at Community Foster Care and it’s great to be back at work,” she said.
Chief Executive of Community Foster Care, Matthew Roberts, welcomed Kathryn. “She’s a great addition to our friendly team,” he said.
The agency is a registered charity and not-for-profit company which provides foster carers for children all over Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.
Break is delighted to announce that from 1 April 2017, our family support services, Families’ House and The Unthank Family Centre will merge to become the Break Family Centre.
The new service will be based at Diamond House, Vulcan Road North, Norwich; however until building work can be completed some staff will still be based, in the short term, at Families’ House on Ber Street in Norwich.
By combining these very experienced and highly qualified teams we will be able to offer more flexibility, greater reach and a wider range of integrated child and family services. Both teams have excellent reputations for providing quality services to children and families, in a range of settings.
Break Family Centre will offer a continuum of universal, targeted and specialist Family Support, Community and Therapeutic services. These include family and parenting support, therapeutic work and supervised contact from a variety of locations including at school, at home and in our offices.
For any enquiries or for further information call 01603 670100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another two fostering households have been approved recently, bringing the total number of fostering households to 14.
Gary Cox, Founder of Young People at Heart, said that he was delighted that both households were immigrants to the UK some years ago and, while they were fluent in English, their home languages were Portugese and Spanish respectively, and he felt their experience of moving to the UK and learning a new language and culture could benefit young people in care, whether they were new to the UK or separated from their family.
He also felt the potential benefit of Spanish or Portugese speaking young people being able to converse in their own language, or young people and carers finding English as a common second language, could greatly benefit the young person in care.
Gary added that he wanted Young People at Heart to continue to embrace diversity and he encouraged new or existing foster carers from all backgrounds to consider joining the Young People at Heart family.
As a not-for-profit organisation, outcomes for young people are paramount and the appointment of our Education advisor was having an immediate benefit for foster carers and young people. He hoped more foster carers would enquire about joining the organisation, either through the web page contact form or via the telephone numbers provided.
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