What is the Fostering Information Exchange?
The Fostering Information Exchange (FIE) is a group on the Local Government Association’s Knowledge Hub, which is a secure online knowledge sharing platform which enables users to create connections to peers and experts in their fields of interest, share learning, experiences and ideas.
The FIE was developed following demand from the sector for there to be a place where everyone involved or interested in foster care could share practice; explore ideas; discuss issues or new developments and access resources. Membership is particularly welcomed from foster carers, social workers, fostering service providers, researchers, training and development staff and policy makers.
FIE has been developed by a partnership involving the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, the Fostering Network, the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers, the Who Cares? Trust and the Department for Education.
What are the benefits of FIE
FIE provides a whole range of tools to help share knowledge and discuss matters with others.
If you have previously registered with other LGA online services you should be able to log into Knowledge Hub with the same username and password. If not, registering for an account takes a few minutes.
"Valuing a child's strengths, interests and weaknesses" has been identified as one of the most important characteristics needed to provide a stable and loving foster placement for children in care, according to an Action for Children report published today.*
'At a glance,' an annual evaluation into our adoption and fostering services, comes as UK children's charities renew calls for more adopters and foster carers to come forward.
With 80 per cent of all children in care living with foster families, it's estimated fostering services across the UK need to recruit an additional 8,750 foster families in the next 12 months.
'At a glance' found that Action for Children successfully placed 259 children in foster families last year - many of whom are older, disabled, part of sibling groups or have a history of trauma or abuse.
Action for Children's Operational Director of Fostering, Adoption and Permanency, Darren Johnson, explained, "For over 140 years, we have been working with the UK's most vulnerable children and young people - which is exactly why our services focus on those who are at risk of being overlooked when it comes to fostering and adoption. We believe it's imperative to find the best possible placement for each and every child; one which will help them achieve their full potential and grow into confident, happy adults."
Almost 95 per cent of children and young people who were placed through our services last year said that their Action for Children foster carer had helped them.
"Before I came to stay with Rachel and Andrew I was taking drugs and drinking alcohol and getting into trouble with the police. My life felt completely out of control, so bad I tried to kill myself," said Jessica, aged 15.
"Rachel and Andrew have encouraged me to be proud of who I am and to feel good about myself. I love them and their three kids so much. We [Jessica is placed with her five-year-old brother] are so happy there."
Nigel, 55, and his wife Anne, from the Scottish Borders, recently became foster carers: ""We have enjoyed watching our young person become a real family member. He has overcome many of the issues that were previously in his life, simply by being part of the family and having a regular routine.
"You might not think that you have the necessary skills to foster, but really it is a case of using your own life skills and experiences to help a foster child. The rewards come in many different ways. And the support that you get is invaluable, the whole process to become a foster carer is easy to follow."
To find out more about our fostering services, visit our webpages or call 0845 200 5162 for a free information pack.
* Based on an evaluation of our fostering services and a survey of our foster carers
We have now completed the move of our office from Enterprise House in Darlington to Belasis Hall Technology Park in Billingham. The move is in response to the increased demand for foster carers by the Teesside Local Authorities and the understanding that our foster carers feel much more supported when we have an office in their area. Carer support meetings and training will be held at the office, and we have a team of local Social Workers who are based here.
If you live in Teesside and would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer, you can join us at the new office for one of our Fostering Information Events. The first is taking place on Saturday 26th January starting at 10am, and the second will be a drop in session held on Wednesday 30th January between 10am and 4pm. More information about these events can be found on our recruitments event page. Alternatively feel free to call us on 01642 682190.
FtSE Member News: TACT responds to the DfE's consultation on ‘Adoption and Fostering: Tackling Delay’
TACT welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Department for Education’s proposals to reform the adoption and fostering processes. The proposals focus on addressing delay and sharpening accountability in fostering and adoption.
Read our response: TACT’s response to the Department for Education consultation on ‘Adoption and Fostering: Tackling Delay’
The Government are proposing a number of changes in the law about adoption and asked us to help them find out what children and young people who have already been adopted think about their ideas.
429 adopted children told us about the most important stage of being adopted and what they think about the Governments ideas of 'fostering for adoption', speeding up the training and approval of adoptive parents and the fast approval for parents who had adopted or fostered before. Here’s what they said ...
MOST IMPORTANT STAGE IN GETTING ADOPTED
We asked the children which part of the adoption process had been the most important part for them.
FOSTERING FOR ADOPTION
Fostering for adoption is one of the Governments proposed changes. Their idea is that as soon as it is decided by social care services that a child is to be adopted and a family is chosen, the child can move in to live with the parents straightaway. The child would not have to wait in a different family as a foster child while social care services get permission for their adoption to start.
74% of the children supported this Government proposal. The top 3 good things about this are:-
There are some bad things about this idea though - if the adoption doesn't go ahead after all, the child will be moved again and become more upset because they thought they were with the parents they would be staying with permanently. The children also thought that it was still important for a child and carers to get to know each other first before deciding that it was to be their permanent placement so, fostering for adoption would be a trial period for the adoption itself.
SPEEDING UP THE TRAINING AND APPROVAL OF ADOPTIVE PARENTS
From the answers we received about speeding up training and adoption, it was obvious that there was a lot of adult input here. Therefore, these results are best viewed as families views not purely children's opinion.
67% of families voted to speed up training and approval of adoptive parents. They said that this would help get children adopted quicker and that parents would be ready to adopt. Some families worried that training could become too rushed and might not be enough.
FASTER APPROVAL FOR PARENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY ADOPTED OR FOSTERED
Another idea of the Government's proposals was to approve those who had already adopted or fostered a child very quickly. Over three quarters of the children said this was a good idea. The main reasons being that parents would have already been checked, they would have experience of looking after a child and more children could be adopted. This who thought this wasn’t such a good idea said everyone should have the same checks and training and some young people thought being a foster carer was very different from adopting a child.
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