Fostering through Social Enterprise is delighted that a former FtSE colleague and long-time advocate of social enterprise has taken the top job at The Fostering Network.
Kevin Williams, who was previously CEO of TACT, took up his new post on 1 June 2015, the first day of Foster Care Fortnight.
Kevin took the lead in setting up FtSE in 2007, having identified the need for a body that represents the views, perspectives and experience of charitable and not-for-profit fostering providers.
Since then he has engaged vigorously in a number of national campaigns and spoken out for children and foster carers.
At a time when increasing numbers of Independent Fostering Providers are being bought up by private equity firms, it's good news that The Fostering Network, a charity that more than any other shapes the foster care agenda, is being led by someone with a background in third sector fostering.
We hope there will be many opportunities to work together in the future.
The Fostering Network launches ground-breaking report looking at the extra accommodation costs of fostering
The Fostering Network has commissioned a groundbreaking report in to the costs that foster carers bear in order to provide the extra accommodation space that their fostered children require.
Until now there has been little investigation in to the costs that foster carers bear in order to provide the extra accommodation space that their fostered children require, or the implication on foster carer recruitment and retention.
This important new research by Professor Tunstall is a vital first step in increasing our understanding of the issue, and in helping the fostering sector consider what might be the policy implications affecting matters such as allowances and grants to foster carers, and the allocation of social housing.
Some key findings of the report include:
Professor Tunstall has used a variety of primary and secondary sources, including a survey of foster carers carried out by The Fostering Network among its members in July 2014. The Fostering Network is very grateful to Professor Tunstall and to all the foster carers who participated in the survey.
Download the full report here.
FtSE and NAFP are urging the Government to support all children in care to secure a permanent home without delay
Separating out different routes to permanence is unhelpful to children and those who care for them. It is the outcome for the child, not the legal order they are placed under, that is crucial.
The care system in England continues to fail too many children who come into public care. We welcome Government efforts to improve pathways to adoption and post adoption support. What is now needed is an equal commitment to other forms of permanence affecting the majority of children in care including returning to birth family, kinship care, long term fostering, and special guardianship orders (SGO) alongside adoption.
We are calling for a fresh approach to ensure that all children receive a stable and loving home regardless of their circumstances. FtSE and NAFP think this can be achieved through making the system more child-centred by:
FtSE (firstname.lastname@example.org/07793 580389)
Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (email@example.com/07807 760539)
The Fostering Network welcomes the news that an independent review is to be established to examine the number of children in care in England in Wales who end up in the criminal justice system.
The UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network welcomes the appointment of Lord Laming to lead the review, as well as the focus on placement stability and how authorities handle behaviour. However, they also call on the review to be wary of stigmatising children and young people in care.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: “A review in to why children in care are more likely than others to be caught up in the criminal justice system is welcome, as is the appointment of Lord Laming, who has the relevant experience, to lead the review.
“We are fearlessly ambitious for children and young people in care. It’s wrong that as society we have accepted that young people in care are perceived to already have a troubled future mapped out for them. We believe the care system can work to benefit the vast majority of children who have a journey through it, and would caution against the stigmatisation of children in care, the vast majority of whom not only don’t get in to trouble but in fact are ambitious and outstanding young men and women.
“Almost all children in care are from backgrounds of deprivation, abuse and neglect often resulting in emotional, social and behavioural difficulties, including behaviour which can get them in trouble with the police. Despite this, most of these young people do not end up in the criminal justice system. When foster care works well, foster carers, and the team that works with them, are able to provide the stability, love and hope for the future required to ensure that these young people are able to flourish.
“We welcome the focus by the review on placement moves. A survey conducted recently by The Fostering Network found that two in five (40%) fostered teenagers are already living with their third foster family since coming into care. Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships.”
The Foster Care Co-operative are proud to be running their annual short story competition, aimed at both foster children and birth children of their carers.
Last year, judging duties were undertaken by published author Siobhan Curham - and FCC are pleased to announced that Siobhan has kindly agreed to be this year's judge!
The standard of writing of previous entries has been extremely high, and FCC hope that this year’s entries will be no exception!
Every child who enters receives a £5 book token, and there are some smashing prizes up for grabs including an iPad Mini. The stories are also compiled into a book, which is given to all entrants.
Evidence indicates that children/young people who are looked after do not generally do as well at school as their peers, which reduces their opportunity to move to further education, and affects their employment or training opportunities.
At FCC we recognised that it is important that our amazing foster carers are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to help the children and young people they look after to get the most out of their time in education.
Helen Shardlow, our Education Advisor in the Wales office recently facilitated some training for our foster carers in relation to the important role they play in promoting good educational outcomes for children/young people. Very positive feedback was given by our carers, particularly in relation to them now having more knowledge of educational systems in Wales, who to contact in schools and their rights as foster carers!
Thank you Helen - we're very proud of you!
Have you been looking for an opportunity to use your skills to transform the lives of children and young people? By becoming a Trustee of St Christopher's you could do just that.
Over the last 140 years, St Christopher's has worked with thousands of children, young people and vulnerable adults, providing a wide range of care, support, housing and education services. Our services provide a continuum of care, offering as much help as children and young people need to thrive, develop, and when ready, move towards independence.
Trustees provide the strategic direction that enables us to evolve to meet the changing needs of vulnerable young people. In order to build on our experience and expertise and to continue to expand and diversify our services we rely strongly on governance. St Christopher's is now seeking committed, motivated individuals to join our team of Trustees.
For further information on becoming a Trustee, please visit our Trustee recruitment page.
You may have seen our Greatest Moments in Fostering memories on our Facebook page and Twitter feed using the hashtag #FCF2015... hopefully inspiring the next generation of foster carers, and reminding those who already foster what an amazing job they do.
We shared these memories to celebrate Foster Care Fortnight™ - the Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering - showcasing the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers across the country. Here's a round-up of the final week's memories our foster carers and staff have shared.
Children and young people can enter the care system for a number of reasons. Research shows that two thirds have experienced severe neglect. These experiences can have a lasting impact. Yet, for too many children and young people their time in care doesn’t help them recover from these traumatic experiences.
It is something that we see all too often through our services. We all know this needs to change. Our report, Too Much Too Young, shows that something is going very wrong for the most vulnerable young people who have been in care. From talking to young people it was clear that ensuring good emotional wellbeing should be our starting point. Without it, practical support is not enough for the most vulnerable young people.
This is why the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers is leading the call to make sure that there is a much clearer definition of what care should be trying to achieve. We want to see a principal aim that promotes psychological healing from past harm, building resilience and achieving well being.
We know that a clear aim is important but it won’t make a difference unless it is being clearly translated into how children and young people are being helped every day. That is why need to see robust assessment and measurement of children’s wellbeing and progress through their care experience so that we understand when children are doing well and when they need more support. A new framework would bring these measures together and mean that each are properly assessed and judged.
From working with looked after children and care leavers, we know that effective support is not bound by tight deadlines or cut off points. Continuing to provide care and support when young people leave care is important to make sure they are not expected to become independent sooner than their peers. This will help them to manage ongoing and additional challenges.
There is a growing consensus that the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in care is simply not being prioritised. We need to see government step up, take the lead and make clear what care is for.
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