A generous donation from Arsenal Football Club will mean that the St Christopher's All Blacks football team will have a pitch to play on over the winter months.
Our London based football team made up of young people from across our different homes play each Tuesday night, rain or shine. In the past they have won their local power play league and have played a key role in us welcoming unaccompanied asylum seeking children to the UK.
During the summer playing in the park is fine, but as this doesn't work when the nights start getting dark, having the funds for a proper pitch will make all the difference.
Every year, The Fostering Network - one of the UK’s leading fostering charities - launches a campaign called ‘Sons and Daughters Month’. The campaign celebrates the role of ‘birth children’ in the fostering household.
When people apply to become foster carers, an assessment is undertaken called a Form F. This can take many months to complete because it involves a detailed evaluation of the applicant’s life – quite rightly because fostering is providing care to very vulnerable children. When those applicants have children of their own, part of this assessment is to check that the ‘birth children’ themselves are comfortable with the potential fostering arrangements. After all, fostering is something that the whole family unit undertakes, and is quite unique in that respect.
An agreement from birth children that they are willing to accept other children into their household is a necessary step in order for their parents to potentially become carers. What it doesn’t do, obviously, is show how amazing and welcoming these children truly are. Sons and Daughters Month is both an acknowledgement and a thank you to all the fantastic birth children of foster carers who, in their own way, contribute to the fostering task.
FCC’s Director of Child Care for England, Steve Field, said: “Birth children play a vital role in welcoming fostered children into the household. FCC is delighted to celebrate the positive impact and dedication birth children show and we are extremely thankful that they are a part of our fostered children lives, sometimes going on to become foster carers themselves.”
Kim Perkins, FCC’s Director of Child Care for Wales, said: "At the FCC, we always remain conscious that children and young people are placed within a fostering household and that all members of that household are key components of their fostering experience. Unfortunately, the important role played by the sons and daughters of foster carers isn't always recognised so we welcome the opportunity to celebrate them during 'Sons and Daughters' month".
FCC’s message to the birth children of foster carers is: thank you for accepting a new child into your home. Thank you for playing with them, talking to them, bonding with them, making them laugh, listening to them, helping them and sharing your parent’s time with them. Without you, your parents wouldn’t be able to make a real difference to children’s lives. This is something that you should be truly proud of.
Break, a Norfolk children’s charity, are honoured to announce that we have been awarded a Department for Education grant for £1.3 million to improve services for children leaving care in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
The grant comes from the Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund which aims to develop more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children, specifically those leaving Children’s Homes. The funding will pay for a pilot project in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to test out effective ways to support children leaving care over the next two and a half years.
Rachel Cowdry, Director of Business Development at Break says “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to work in partnership with Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our counties. Break has already been supporting our own care leavers for five years through our Moving On Team. The Department for Education grant will enable us to develop this project to benefit many more vulnerable young people. We hope that this project will have positive repercussions for care leavers in our region and beyond”.
The need to support young people who have lived in care has been evident for many years. These young adults are much more likely, than their peers, to struggle in all aspects of their lives such as finding and sustaining work, physical and mental health, and building positive relationships. Sir Martin Narey, the former Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, conducted an independent review of children’s residential care in England, published in July 2016. This report stated the importance for the young people to “Stay Close” to their children’s home and the trusted relationships they had with the staff after they had to leave. The Break project will test out different ways to support these young people including “Staying Close” and will provide new training for staff working in residential care homes, more accommodation for care leavers with intensive support, including focusing on their emotional wellbeing, so that care leavers can acquire the skills and resilience they need to live independent, successful lives.
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said:
“Through the Innovation Programme, we continue to fund exciting and pioneering projects that look to shake-up our traditional approach to social care.
“Together they proffer a broad and balanced portfolio which both test new innovations, and scale and spread those that have been successful in Round One of the programme.
“I am delighted that we have supported these projects, and look forward to continuing to hear about their great work in the future.”
For further information on Break or Break’s Moving On Team visit www.break-charity.org
For further information on the latest Innovation Fund projects visit http://springconsortium.com/projects-being-funded/
For further comment from Break contact – Rachel Cowdry 01603 670100 or Rachel.email@example.com
The number of children in care has risen at its fastest rate in five years while the number of children being adopted continues to fall, official figures have revealed.
Department for Education statistics released today show that for the year ending 31 March 2017 the number of looked after children rose by 3.2 per cent in the space of 12 months.
The figures show there were 72,670 children in care in the 12 months to the end of March 2017, compared with 70,440 the year before and 69,480 in 2015.
The 3.2 per cent increase is the largest in five years, since the figure jumped from 65,510 in 2011 to 67,070 in 2012, a rise of 4.1 per cent.
In addition, the proportion of children in care has risen to the highest level on record. Currently, 62 out of every 10,000 children are in care. The figure had remained at 60 since 2013. The lowest figure in recent history was in 2008, when 54 out of every 10,000 children were in care.
Meanwhile, the number of children being placed for adoption continues to fall, with the end of March 2017 figure of 4,350 down on the previous 12 months' figure of 4,690 and markedly down on 2015's tally of 5,360.
Adoption Leadership Board figures released last month also showed a fall in the number of children being adopted as well as the number of adoption orders being granted by the courts.
The statistics published by the DfE also chart a rise in the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in care, up six per cent to 4,560 in the 12 months to the end of March 2017 from 4,300 over the same period the previous year.
Over the last five years the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in care has more than doubled from the 2013 figure of 1,950 and the proportion of looked-after children who are unaccompanied asylum-seekers now stands at six per cent, after being at three per cent since 2013.
It has also been revealed that the number of children leaving care has fallen for the first time since 2008. There were 31,250 children who ceased to be looked-after in the 12 months to the end of March 2017, a fall of two per cent on 2016.
Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of children's charity Coram said the rise in the number of children in care highlighted the importance of recruiting more foster carers and adopters.
"Over the last few years, many children waiting for adoption have been placed in the families they need," she said.
"What appears to be a fall [in the number of adoptions taking place] is therefore part of an underlying success. But certainly we need to do more to ensure that children have the same chances no matter where they live."
"The continued rise in the number of children who are looked-after demonstrates the need for prospective foster carers and adopters to come forward. These are the people who change the lives of this vulnerable group of children."
Jeremy Corbyn took time out from his party’s conference to start making pizzas with a care leaver who is being supported by Barnardo’s.
As the pair chopped their vegetables, the Labour leader listened as care leaver Tyrone explained how the UK’s largest children’s charity is helping him get his life on track.
The 20-year-old talked about how he used to be in foster care and introduced Corbyn to Matt and Jude, his lodging hosts in the Barnardo’s supported lodging service.
With their help he is learning to live more independently by learning essential life skills and has secured a weekend job in a café.
"It's been great meeting Jeremy Corbyn. It's good to know that someone who has such influence cares."
The Barnardo's supported lodging providers have given me so much and allowed me to focus on my future.
Living with Jude and Matt feels like home now. I feel very happy here."
Barnardo's Chief Executive Javed Khan accompanied the party's leader on the visit and explained how the charity supports more than 272,000 children, young people, parents and carers like Tyrone to have fulfilling lives.
Javed Khan said:
"I am delighted Jeremy Corbyn was able to find time in his busy conference schedule to hear how Barnardo’s supports the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people.
We strive to transform their lives so they can lead positive futures and I think this really hit home for the Labour leader when he spoke to Tyrone, who is an inspirational young man."
Young people leaving care have often had difficult and troubled starts in life, so it’s vital they receive the support they so desperately need to enable them to achieve their dreams."
The Brighton and Hove Supported Lodgings service was started in 2015 with the aim of supporting young people who may be homeless or leaving the care system. Together with Barnardo’s, hosts offer a room in their home to help each vulnerable young person make a smooth transition into independent living.
Barnardo’s are looking for individuals or families to open their doors and provide safe and secure homes for 16 to 21 year-olds. Hosts receive round-the-clock assistance, a dedicated key worker, a comprehensive training programme and an allowance of £150 per week.
Hosts come from a variety of backgrounds. Some work full-time, some work part-time and some are retired. All have spare time to offer emotional care and practical advice to help a young person build their confidence.
For more information about becoming a Supported Lodgings host, call 01273 412010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Member News - Young People at Heart are recruiting a social worker and Form F assessors in Herefordshire
Dave Bailey, Fostering Manager at our new Young People at Heart office in Hereford, has experienced an unprecedented amount of interest from foster carers wishing to transfer to Young People at Heart from a number of other fostering organisations in the region, as well as applications from people wishing to become foster carers.
Dave said the not-for-profit ethos of Young People at Heart, together with our ability to provide local support, training and activities for foster carers and young people, was a huge attraction and he looked forward to welcoming more enquiries from prospective Young People at Heart foster carers, whether they were new to fostering or experienced carers wanting to transfer to the organisation.
In order to support the huge level of interest in joining Young People at Heart in the Herefordshire region, Dave said the organisation was looking to bring forward the appointment of a supervising social worker to January 2018. He invited applications from suitably qualified individuals via the link below to our recruitment partner, TOP Recruitment:
Supervising Social Worker – Herefordshire
Dave also said he would like to appoint more Form F assessors to the Herefordshire Young People at Heart family and he again invited applications from suitable qualified candidates through the following link:
Form F assessors – Herefordshire and surrounding counties
Gary Cox, who founded Young People at Heart with his wife Davina, said they were both delighted with Dave’s appointment and the immediate impact he was having on the fostering provision in Herefordshire and surrounding counties. Gary said it was a testament to Dave’s practice that a number of foster carers from his previous for-profit, venture capital backed foster care employer had contacted Young People at Heart requesting to follow Dave but added that he was equally pleased they had received enquiries from foster carers for other organisations who wanted to be supported locally and that he was particularly excited that Dave was receiving enquiries from applicants new to fostering.
Following ‘news’ that two refugees connected with the Parsons Green tube bombing had been in foster care, TACT is concerned that some may use this as an excuse to demonise vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeking children.
Andy Elvin, Chief Executive of TACT urges those considering caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children not to be deterred by the media attention around the case’s links with fostering.
Andy said: ” This case is very unusual and in no way representative of the thousands of considerate and community-minded unaccompanied young people in foster care across the UK. I hope that people are not put off coming forward to become foster carers for refugee children or vulnerable UK children.”
TACT’s experience is that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children tend to be grateful for the opportunities offered and highly value the education and care they receive. Many go on to make a very positive contribution to UK society.
TACT foster carer Val Smith is among many who have found fostering young refugees very rewarding. She has looked after a succession of boys, mostly from Afghanistan, who have all thrived in her care and gone on to useful and productive lives.
Val said: “I feel so lucky that I was given the opportunity to care for and help asylum seeking boys. I choose to foster them because they do not have anyone else to care for them and they really appreciate all the help they are given. I am extremely proud of all they have achieved. And they are all appalled by terrorism”.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are deserving of our love, support, care and compassion. It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of recent terror attacks have been carried out by men born in the UK who grew up in their birth families.
Andy Elvin said: “TACT cannot understand why the media felt it was appropriate to publicise the identities of the selfless foster carers who have opened their home to so many vulnerable children over the years. It is unfair and not in the public interest.”
You can read more from Andy on this subject in the Guardian by clicking here.
We don’t need more demonising headlines about fostering, we need more foster carers, says Javed Khan of Barnardo’s, while Mike Stein points out that with proper support fostered children make good progress from poor starting points
Dawn Foster is, sadly, right when she writes that fostering tends to appear in the news for negative reasons (It’s hard enough as a foster child without being demonised, Opinion, 21 September).
When a troubled young person falls into the justice system, the implication is sometimes made that fostering could be part of the cause. What is forgotten is that these young people have often already suffered trauma or been at risk of harm – which is precisely why they need fostering.
Foster children are vulnerable, and can be challenging, but with the right support they can have fulfilling and positive futures. However, there are 81,000 children in care in the UK, and not enough foster carers to look after them. Without enough loving homes these children risk being moved around. Barnardo’s recruits foster carers for teenagers, disabled children, siblings and children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. But we urgently need more to come forward.
We view our relationship with our carers as a partnership, offering continued support, training and advice for as long as it is needed.
Our foster carers are amazing people. They open up their hearts and homes to children who have often had a tough start in life. We see first-hand how the support of a stable, caring family really can transform children’s lives.
• Dawn Foster is right to argue that the foster care system should not be dismissed in light of events at Tower Hamlets or the Parsons Green arrests. There is robust evidence from studies that where young people are provided with stability and opportunities for attachment, helped to overcome educational deficits, leave care at a similar age as young people leave home in the general population, and are provided with personal and practical assistance into adulthood, they make good progress from very poor starting points. When local authorities fail to respond to these challenges they let both foster carers and the young people they care for down.
Emeritus professor, University of York
Closing Date Monday 16 October at 9am
Team Fostering is a not for profit fostering Agency, with an annual turnover of £9m, based in the North East, Yorkshire and the East Midlands. We have been successfully supporting children and young people living in foster care to achieve positive outcomes since 2001.
We are looking for a fourth Non-Executive Director, based within this geographical footprint, who has knowledge, experience and expertise as a current or ex-Foster Carer to bring into the Board of Team Fostering. Alongside a foster carer perspective, we wish to recruit someone with business ability and experience to bring to the Board.
This successful candidate will also provide a creative contribution to the Board via objective criticism and independent judgement on issues of strategy, performance and resourcing of the Agency, including involvement in key appointments and standards of conduct. The post holder will be independent of any of the company’s interested parties and bring a degree of objectivity and impartiality to the Board’s deliberations and play a valuable role monitoring executive management.
This is a part time role requiring, as a minimum, 30 days' work per year and a minimum of 1.5 days worked each month. Part of this monthly commitment is attendance at a monthly Board meeting in the North East. An annual retainer is paid of £3,143 and other responsibilities and pieces of work taken on at the direction of the Board are paid at an hourly rate of £56.86. The details of the role and responsibilities are set out in the job description and person specification.
The closing date for application for this role is on the Monday 16 October 2017 and interviews are scheduled for Friday 3 November 2017.
For further information, please ring Jane Butler, Chief Executive Officer, on 07769 908 129 or Walter Young, Non-Executive Director on 07508 055643.
An information pack can be downloaded below here
Please note Team Fostering does not accept CVs.
All posts are subject to Enhanced DBS Disclosure.
Please note if you are shortlisted for interview we will contact you via the email you have provided. Please ensure you check your emails regularly.
Minister for Children and Families appoints a new National Implementation Advisor for care leavers
A new adviser to support young people as they leave the care system has been appointed as part of the government’s drive to improve the lives of vulnerable children.
Mark Riddell MBE has been appointed as the National Implementation Adviser for care leavers, and will work closely with local authorities as they drive forward the new duties introduced through the Children & Social Work Act (2017).
The role includes helping councils to develop a stronger local offer of support for care leavers, offering Personal Adviser services for all care leavers up to age 25 and delivering on their special responsibilities as a ‘corporate parent’ – principles set out in the Act.
He will have a particular focus on supporting those councils that have had their leaving care services rated as inadequate or requiring improvement by Ofsted.
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said:
Young people leaving care are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and we are determined that they should get the high quality support they need to help them make the transition into adulthood.
I am delighted that Mark has taken up this post and look forward to working closely with him as we continue our drive to improve the experiences and outcomes of care leavers across the country.
Mark Riddell MBE said:
I am delighted to be offered the post and am passionate about improving support for care leavers. Young people leaving care face many challenges as they prepare for independence, and crucial to making that transition successful is the support from their ‘corporate parents’, the local authority.
I look forward to the challenge of working with these councils as they bring in the positive changes introduced by the Children & Social Work Act.
Mr Riddell brings with him a wealth of experience working with care leavers. Prior to accepting this position he was the leaving care manager in Trafford, the first local authority judged by Ofsted to have Outstanding care leaver services.
He also acted as an informal adviser to the Department for Education on the development of the care leaver strategy, which sets out the additional support provided by local and central government to help care leavers succeed.
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