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
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
Today is a landmark day for the provision of foster care in Wales. The three biggest charitable providers of foster care – TACT, Action for Children and Barnardo’s, have come together to launch a new initiative that will improve outcomes for children in care.
Under the name of ‘The Charitable Fostering Partnership‘ the organisations involved are committed to working together to tackle the big issues that the sector are facing in Wales, including the increasing dominance of the ‘for profit’ sector in foster care.
A special launch event will be taking place today from 12.30pm at the National Assembly of Wales with support from prominent figures within the Welsh Government and Local Authorities.TACT, Action for Children and Barnardos will be presenting the aims of the new partnership.
Watch the full event live here
The Commissioner for Wales – Sally Holland, has given her backing to a consortium of leading Welsh charities established to improve collaborative working and raise the profile of the charitable fostering sector in Wales.
In a supporting statement Sally Holland said:
“I’m delighted to hear that Barnardo’s, Action for Children and TACT will be working more closely together, and pleased to note their desire to work in collaboration rather than competition to provide the best provision in foster care.
We are entering new territory in Wales with a National Fostering Framework and I know that the third sector will work in collaboration with local and national government to develop an enhanced foster care sector in Wales.
Young people have talked to me about their concerns about profit being made out of their care. I’m therefore particularly pleased to support a desire to reduce or eliminate for-profit provision in foster services. I am also pleased that the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee are looking into quality and value in looked after children’s services and I will be encouraging them to look at issues of profit in this sector.”
Her Majesty The Queen will be handing over the role of Barnardo’s Patron to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
It was announced today that Her Majesty is stepping down as Patron from a number of national organisations. This decision follows the example set by The Duke of Edinburgh who resigned from a number of Patronages on the occasion of his 90th birthday in 2011.
Javed Khan, the Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said:
"We are extremely grateful for Her Majesty The Queen’s generous time and Patronage, together with her dedication to the work of Barnardo’s since 1983. The Royal Family has given us tremendous support throughout our history, and there has been a royal Patron since 1902 and Royal Presidents from 1923. I am delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall - our current President, has graciously accepted the role of our new Patron."
The Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Barnardo’s president in 2007. She wasted no time, embarking on a series of visits to see the vital work of Barnardo’s first hand. Her first visit was in November 2007 to High Close School in Wokingham where she met with staff and young people, as she visited the school’s many facilities and dropped in on science, maths and drama lessons.
In 2014, in a speech at Clarence House during an event for Barnardo’s, she praised the achievements of what she described as a “unique charity”.
"Over the past few years I have visited several inspirational projects which are not only very impressive but very humbling too, and I believe that it is thanks to the dedication of Barnardo's highly skilled staff and volunteers that these places exist at all without their care and counselling these young people would still be floundering alone in a frightening world."
In the past year HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been very supportive of the charity, visiting a range of services and hosting a Buckingham Palace Garden Party to mark our 150th anniversary.
Charity releases records of first to benefit from ‘boarding out’ scheme that evolved into modern-day system
Previously unseen Victorian archive records of the first fostered children in Britain have been released by Barnardo’s, showing what life was like for children when the scheme was originally launched by the charity in 1887.
They reveal a period of no social workers, no welfare state and chaotic family arrangements. Elizabeth Mouncey and her parents eked out a miserable existence marked by destitution, violence and squalor; her father, an East End docker, drank heavily and beat his wife. Today she would probably be on the child protection register and her parents enrolled on a troubled families programme.
When her parents died within a year of each other (Elizabeth was six when she was found next to her dying mother), she was taken in by neighbours. Relatives refused to give her a home, so church missionaries contacted a children’s charity, Barnardo’s, which put her on an innovative scheme called “boarding out” .
Elizabeth became the first known black foster child in the UK, in 1891. She was sent to live with “respectable foster parents of the labouring class” in the village of Headcorn, Kent, for six years, before returning to a Barnardo’s home to train as a cook. The 1911 census records that she was working as a cook in Croydon, south London.
Elizabeth’s story is one of several published on Friday from the archives of Barnardo’s, which this year celebrates its 150th birthday. Collectively they put human faces to the development of a system of care for poor and at-risk children that would evolve over time into the modern fostering system. Today, three in every four children who are taken into care are fostered.
Lilian Murray, for example, was placed in Barnardo’s custody at the age of two after a Westminster magistrate found her mother, a career petty criminal, to be guilty of neglecting and ill-treating her. Placements of girls were often made to prevent “moral danger” (sexual exploitation). Lilian was boarded out in Cambridgeshire, during which time Barnardo’s inspectors found her “greatly improved”, before going into service as a maid in Surrey.
Elizabeth Matthews was twelve when her stepfather signed an agreement for her to be cared for by Barnardo’s. Her mother had died two years earlier and she had subsequently attempted to run away from her stepfather, who is described in the archives as “a cripple [who] earns his living by hawking, begging and singing ... roaming the country with one of this two children, a boy, and lodging in the lowest lodging houses”. After nine years in Barnardo’s care she became a domestic maid.
Thomas Barnardo began his foster experiment in 1887 by dispatching 320 orphan boys of “good conduct and character” from the East End slums of London to board out with “homely folk” in rural villages who were paid five shillings a week to bring up their charges. The location was important: not just the wholesome benefits of clean air, but an upbringing free from the temptations and moral hazards of the city.
Barnardo’s initiative was in part a response to Victorian public outrage over “baby farming”, effectively deregulated fostering, whereby a string of women who took in numerous children for money were convicted for murder and neglect. The charity’s archives show the development of a pre-placement assessment and inspection system designed to ensure the children were looked after by “Christian people” in “kind homes”.
Prospective foster parents were expected to sign up to a commitment to bring up the child “as one of my family”, providing them with food, clothes, washing and schooling, as well as to “endeavour to train the said child in habits of truthfulness, obedience, personal cleanliness and industry”.
According to Barnardo’s archivist Martine King, it is the child-centred aspect of boarding out that is so remarkable, along with the attention paid not just to ensuring that children went to good homes, but that their progress was monitored. “It was the first time we had a system in place to make sure the parents were looking after the children properly,” she said.
In 1889, 586 boys and 124 girls were boarded out by Barnardo’s. By 1905, 4,000 children were looked after in foster care. Latest figures for 2015 show that 52,000 children in England were in foster care – a 30 year high – and Barnardo’s and other foster agencies say that with many foster carers going into retirement, there is a shortfall of families willing to take in vulnerable children.
“Much has changed over the past 130 years, but there are still vulnerable children in foster care who simply need someone who can always be there for them,” said Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan. “Just as in Victorian times, today we’re looking for people, with a genuine desire to make life better for some of the country’s most vulnerable children, to become foster carers.”
Only three per cent of children in care in England are getting the independent support they may be entitled to by law, new research by Barnardo’s and the National Independent Visitor Development Project has found.
Local authorities in England have a legal obligation to provide children in care with access to such support in the form of adult mentors.
Access to mentorship provides children in care with a positive role model during the years when other aspects of their lives - such as where they are living and who is looking after them - are likely to change.
A freedom of information request sent out to 152 local authorities found that 1,000 children are currently waiting to be paired with an ‘independent visitor’.
Of these local authorities, eight are floating their legal obligations by providing no independent visitor services whatsoever.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
"Every single child needs an adult they can trust, who will be there for them and stay by their side no matter what life throws their way.
I urge Theresa May to ensure mentors are in place for young people who are at risk of dropping out of education, training or employment. Children in care already have a right to a mentor, but sadly our research shows they aren’t getting the support they need.
A key aim of the Government’s new strategy for care leavers is to support them into adult life. Providing enough mentors and signing up to the new, quality standards for independent visitors will help it achieve this.”
To make sure children get the support they are legally entitled to, Barnardo's and the National Independent Visitor Project are asking government, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to consider signing up to a new set of quality standards.
Find out more in our National Independent Vistor Data Report.
Today, Her Majesty The Queen shared the UK Government’s plans for the coming year. The Queen’s Speech promised some significant steps forward for the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK today.
Our chief executive, Javed Khan, responded to the ambitious plans in a special blog on the Huffington Post.
While we share the Prime Minister’s high ambitions for children, the proposed legislative changes are not, by themselves, a fix-all.
We’re glad the Government has indicated improving children’s life chances is a priority, alongside tackling some of the UK’s deepest social problems. This has been Barnardo’s driving force for 150 years.
In particular, I support the drive to speed up adoption where it is the right decision for the child. A permanent, stable home is in every child’s best interests. Our worry is that this is the second adoption bill in as many years. It is well-intentioned, but this time it must translate into actual improvements in practice.
The speech today also talked about improving support for children leaving care. Barnardo’s has long called for care leavers to have a personal advisor until they are 25 years old, which we have already secured in Scotland, so we’re pleased the right to this crucial support will be extended to all young people in England.
For all the legislative plans announced today, the devil, as always, will be in the detail and implementation of change. Our biggest questions are if these changes will translate into real improvements for the most vulnerable children in our society, and how success will be measured.
Read the full article on Huffington Post.
FtSE Member News: Barnardo's - Fostering charity launch the Heart Gallery 'Children who wait' - come along and see our work of Heart
Artwork by children who have been fostered will be the focus of an art gallery being launched this valentines weekend in Aberdeen's Union Square Mall.
Come and see our work of heart this valentines weekend - Our fostering North service will be launching their first-ever Heart Gallery entitled 'Children who wait'. The gallery will showcase artwork by local fostered children.
Foster carers and staff will be on site to answer any questions you have about fostering on Saturday 13 February between 10am and 6pm and on Sunday 14 February 11am - 5pm. And for the young at heart, Party Box will have a giant dinosaur roaming and pony cycles to ride. Help us heal hearts this valentines.
At Barnardo’s we believe there are no unwanted children just unfound families. Could you be one?
Kim McPherson, Children Service Manager, promotes fostering across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for Barnardo's Scotland, she said: "Every piece of work featured in the Heart Gallery has been created by a child or young person living in foster care in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. We hope the gallery will give people an insight to what it's like for our children in foster care".
Anyone interested in finding out more about fostering or adoption can get in touch with their local Barnardo's foster care or adoption team. Barnardo's Scotland supports foster carers and adopters every step of the way, so they don't do it alone. Find out more by calling Freephone 0800 0277 280 or at www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringand adoption
Fostering and Adoption Week 2016
This Barnardo’s Fostering and Adoption Week (11th-17th January), the children’s charity is issuing a heartfelt plea for would-be-foster carers to give children the stable, loving care they deserve.
Everyone deserves a childhood where they remember feeling unconditionally loved and accepted. Tragically, this is not the case for some children who through no fault of their own, cannot live with their parent/s. When life gets tough, they need a caring adult to look after them.
Around 9070 new foster families are needed across the UK in 2016 to provide stable, loving care for these children, according to the Fostering Network. *
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“Across the UK ordinary people are doing something extraordinary: opening their hearts to help children feel secure and loved. More foster carers are desperately needed to give these children loving, stable care. You could be one of them.”
Barnardo’s celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2016. The charity was one of the first to place children with families and train foster carers to have the right skills to look after children.
Brenda Farrell, head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo's, said:
“Our foster carers are changing children’s lives for the better. You don’t have to be a saint or a superhero, you just need to be able to offer a child the loving care they need to help them be themselves at a difficult time.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about fostering a child can get in touch with the local Barnardo’s foster care team. Barnardo’s supports foster carers every step of the way, so they don’t do it alone. Find out more by calling Freephone 0800 0277 280 or at www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering.
* Source: Fostering Network
9,070 fostering families are needed right across the UK in 2016, to give loving homes and supportive family environments to children. This breaks down as:
Northern Ireland 170
North East 475
North West 1300
Yorkshire and the Humber 775
East Midlands 550
West Midlands 1000
East of England 650
South East 1100
South West 600
FtSE Member News: Barnardo's calls for more Asian families to foster children in Greater Manchester to represent wider diverse population
Children’s charity Barnardo’s is urging more Asian families to foster children across Greater Manchester.
The charity has identified Manchester would most benefit from having more Asian Foster carers.
Last year only four per cent of foster carers in Manchester came from Asian backgrounds, despite that fact 14 per cent of people in the city are Asian.
Charity bosses said it is important a diverse range of foster carers are available to fully represent society.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, said: “Children in Manchester reflect the city’s hugely diverse population.
It’s crucial that we can offer foster care to vulnerable children that is as unique as they are.
Foster caring is an incredibly rewarding experience that can help a vulnerable child and enrich their life when they most need it."
We are urging Asian would-be foster carers to use their unique skills and heritage to help change a vulnerable child’s life for the better.”
Tarah-Joy Baines, Barnardo’s North West senior family placement manager, said: “As society becomes increasingly diverse, the background of those who foster is not.
We want to encourage Asian foster carers to come forward, so that the sector is more representative.
If you think you have the skills necessary to help care for a child, I would urge you to contact your local Barnardo’s foster care team.”
Children may need fostering because their parent is sick, or they may have experienced abuse or neglect.
They often require love, stability and support from foster families.
It comes after the M.E.N revealed hundreds of children in care across Greater Manchester are being moved to new homes almost 30 miles away from their local communities.
The report, published by the Children’s society, found more than a fifth of those being moved far away were only told the day before.
Almost 2,000 youngsters were placed outside their local authority area, the report revealed.
Barnado’s is one of the UK’s leading children’s charities and works with more than 240,000 young people each year.
The charity runs more than 960 different services across the UK, including counselling for children who have been abused, fostering, adoption services and disability inclusion groups.
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