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
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
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.
Celebration of Break's young people at the Forum, Norwich
23 young people who are looked after by Break attended a celebration of their achievements at The Forum in Norwich on Friday evening.
Each young person received an award – recognising achievements such as 100% school attendance, sporting prowess (football, rugby, swimming) and taking positive steps towards independence.
The awards were presented by Farooq Chaudhry. Mr Chaudhry is internationally known for his work as a dancer and now as a producer. Farooq inspired the young people by encouraging them to live their dreams and be courageous – reassuring them that they could achieve what they set their minds on.
Cathy Kenney, Head of Service Delivery at Break charity said “I felt privileged to be a part of the evening and to see how resilient and brave the young people we look after are. Each day they work so hard to overcome their difficulties and achieve so much – these young people are some of the strongest people in our communities and have so much to offer. These awards are just a tiny acknowledgement of their everyday achievements”.
Farooq Chaudhry and Cathy Kenney, Head of Service Delivery at Break
The event was the idea of the Hyland family who funded the awards. Linda Hyland was employed by Break before sadly passing away. Her family recognised the value of the work that Linda did in changing young lives and wanted to continue to support the young people looked after by Break.
The Beeston Group kindly paid for the venue and refreshments and for Farooq to attend.
The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) for its fostering service in the South West of England. That is the highest valuation that Ofsted can bestow on a fostering service.
Ofsted described TACT’s ‘highly effective service’ and outcomes for their looked after children as ‘better than those of children and young people receiving a similar service elsewhere, and that it helps them to prepare for their eventual independence and increases their life chances.’
TACT was lauded for its support of its foster carers, with Ofsted reporting that ‘all carers receive high quality therapeutic and social work support, beyond what would normally be expected. This, together with bespoke training, has a direct positive impact on the children and young people because it helps to sustain those who are struggling with their behaviour in their placements.’
Scott Ruddock, TACT Executive Director of Children’s Services said: ”We are delighted by the praise received from Ofsted for the work of our South West fostering service, and the outstanding grade given. This has been achieved by the hard work and remarkable dedication of our staff. And Ofsted found our foster carers to be very skilled and well supported, resulting in the children they look after being happy, healthy and developing well.”
There are thousands of children in the South West who cannot be looked after by their own family. This could be because of illness or family breakdowns or because they have experienced some form of neglect. TACT is actively looking for foster carers across the South West to provide care and support to these children.
If you have a spare bedroom, a caring nature and energy to provide a child with a happy home, we believe you could become an amazing foster carer!
We particularly want to hear from prospective carers in Bath, Bristol, Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.
We would ideally like to hear from people who would like to care for children aged five years and over, sibling groups or children with complex needs.
If you want to know more about fostering please call us on 0330 123 2250.
Dave & Mary's Story...
Dave & Mary have been foster carers for The Foster Care Co-operative for twelve years, and live in Birmingham. They have fostered many children on a long term basis. Dave is also a trainer for the Skills To Foster course that The Foster Care Co-operative run for all new carers.
"When our youngest son was born visually impaired, my wife and I contemplated seeking some respite care. Whilst exploring this we discovered that there was a need for other children to be cared for. We initially registered with a Local Authority to provide weekend respite care for physically disabled young people.
Prior to retiring from the Police I had made plans to travel for an extended period of time, so we decided that we would suspend the fostering for a while to get the travelling out of our system - and on return to go for longer term foster placements.
We then moved to The Foster Care Co-operative. We were impressed with the ethos of the company: surplus income going straight back into the care of the children. We were also really impressed by their founder, Laurie Gregory – particularly his energy and vision for what he wanted for young people.
Coming from the police into foster care, I found that there were lots of transferrable skills. I knew I was adaptable as most officers are - but my analytical, communication and advocacy skills have always been useful. Also a sense of loyalty and commitment to good moral values are without doubt skills already honed in a tough profession.
The elements I find most rewarding about being a carer is trying to build relationships with young people who haven’t necessarily had the best start in life. Watching them arrive all shy and nervous - then spending time with them, building confidence and self-esteem and watching them grow and progress. Seeing them move into independent living has made us feel that we have really accomplished something - and that the young person is now better equipped to deal with what life will throw at them.
It’s not always easy; sometimes a young person’s behaviour can be a problem, but more than that it’s trying to find what’s behind it, why it occurs and how can we help the young person to turn their life around.
If you’re thinking of becoming a carer, I would say talk to other carers, do your research and attend a recruiting event. Discuss with your family what they think as at the end of the day it’s the family that fosters not the individual - everyone becomes involved and my boys and extended family are just as much a part of our fostering journey as we are."
A huge congratulations to those who received their GCSE results today, especially TACT’s young people who have excelled.
CJ from Yorkshire achieved two A’s in English and Biology as well as nine B’s in his other subjects. He has been in his placement since 2013.
TB, a young girl who has been in a TACT placement since 2014, obtained eleven GSCEs in total, including B’s in Maths, Welsh, Welsh Bac and Business Skills. Her carers had provided additional tuition as it was important to TB to prove that young people in care can do well.
B’s carers were ecstatic with her GSCE results, which consisted of a B in Art and Design, as well as C’s in Maths, English, Science and Religious Studies. B has had 16 placements since being in care, but has been in her current home for three years.
J has an un-diagnosed learning disability and has attended a school for children with disabilities for the past 3 years whilst being in placement. He has achieved entry level grades in Maths, English, Science, Food Studies, ICT, and Religious Studies. J also achieved a GCSE in Art and Design, grade D. He was accepted into college and will be starting in September.
SW obtained a number of GCSEs, including D’s in Maths, English Language and Art and Design, as well as a C in Home Economics. She also gained an A in one of her Home Economics controlled assessments.
H, an unaccompanied asylum seeker, came to the UK in 2015. He got grade 1 for GCSE Maths, and although he is waiting for the rest of his results, he is staying on in sixth form to do Level 2 in Engineering.
These students are among the first to tackle the new GCSEs, with School Standards Minister Nick Gibb claiming that they will “improve opportunities and the life chances of millions of young people.”
Our TACT young people have proven that being in care does not make you less likely to succeed, but the love and support of a foster family will help you go above and beyond.
Each year at The CFT our regional offices run events to bring together our Foster Families and all of our children. It’s a brilliant opportunity to get together, catch up and make new friends.
This year our South Central carried on in true CFT style and held two very successful summer events!
On the 28th July, the young people from the region visited Woodmill Activity Centre in Southampton to complete a day of canoeing and kayaking. Keeping in tradition with the British Summertime, the weather was quite cold and rainy, so all the young people dressed up in lots of warm wetsuits and jackets. All the young people tried their hand at both canoeing and kayaking and despite the cold did well in managing the full 3 hours on the lake.
The canoeing and kayaking sessions gave all the young people time to get to know one another and work as a team, as well as developing their outdoor water sport skills. For some young people, this was their first opportunity to take part in this type of activity and everyone did brilliantly well.
The young people took part in canoe and kayak races, group games and everyone loved splashing each other and getting completely soaked. At the end of the session, some very brave young people even jumped into the lake.
We would like to give a special mention to Foster Carer Karen Gilbert who volunteered to help the staff team out for the day, helping to make the day a roaring success!
On the 17th August, our South CFT Families attended a Summer BBQ at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Petersfield. At the start of the day the weather looked like it was going to disappoint, but by 12pm the sun was shining and the BBQ was lit. Everyone enjoyed the big outdoor space, exploring the forest, playing football and tackling the adventure trail.
After a burger or two, all the children and young people took part in a scavenger hunt and collected lots of items from around the park, including dandelions, acorns and pine cones. Everyone did well to find a lot of the items on their hunt and Chase age 6 was our successful winner, finding 19 of the 20 items on his list.
A big well done to Chase for being such an amazing little explorer and a huge thank you to everyone who attended our Summer Events!
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