FtSE Member News: TACT - Children’s Charities receive funding to provide training to 1500 carers across Wales
TACT is proud to be part of a group of six charities tasked with providing therapeutic training to carers looking after children in foster care and staying in residential homes across Wales. This project, the first of its kind, will provide Fostering Changes a leading therapeutic training programme to 1500 carers.
The Confidence in Care consortium includes six charities and an academic partner who have been awarded £4.75 million from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the training over five years. The training aims to improve placement stability by creating better interaction and attachment levels between carers and children.
Confidence in Care will transform outcomes for looked after children in Wales over the next five years and influence the way children’s social care is delivered in most settings across the country for many more years to come.
The programme will be delivered in partnership with Fostering Network Wales, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The British Association for Adoption and Fostering, TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust), and The Children’s Social Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University (CASCADE), and we will be working closely with Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru and Children in Wales.
Dr Emily Warren, director of The Fostering Network Wales, on behalf of the Confidence in Care consortium, said: “This is the biggest project of its kind ever to have been undertaken in Wales. We will be working in all 22 local authority areas, with 1500 foster carers being engaged and supported through the delivery of 125 Fostering Changes training courses and 125 support groups.
“As a group of organisations delivering this work, we will be working towards developing a more positive outlook in young people towards their education and future career goals, increasing their resilience and life skills, and then using robust learning and evaluation evidence to influence future policy development in Wales.
“The scale of this programme of work really reflects the ambition of the sector as a whole to improve the lives of the children and young people in care in Wales.”
The Fostering Network is delighted to be leading the Confidence in Care consortium of six charities and academic bodies which has been awarded £4.75 million from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a five year programme aiming to improve the life chances of looked after children across Wales.
Confidence in Care will transform outcomes for looked after children in Wales over the next five years and influence the way children’s social care is delivered across the country for many more years to come. This will primarily be achieved through the training of 1,500 foster, kinship and residential carers using the Fostering Changes Programme.
Fostering Changes, developed by a team at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, is an evidence based training course for carers, empowering them to better manage the children and young people they are looking after. The course is behaviourally based and derives from research into parenting skills, attachment, educational attainment and the academic progression of looked after children in care.
Led by The Fostering Network Wales, the programme will be delivered in partnership with Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The British Association for Adoption and Fostering Cymru and The Adolescent and Children’s Trust. The programme will be independently evaluated by The Children’s Social Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University (CASCADE), and will be working closely with Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru and Children in Wales.
Dr Emily Warren, director of The Fostering Network Wales, said: “This is the biggest project of its kind ever to have been undertaken in Wales. As a group of organisations delivering this work, we will be working towards developing a more positive outlook in young people towards their education and future career goals, increasing their resilience and life skills, and then using robust learning and evaluation evidence to influence future policy development in Wales.
“The scale of this programme of work really reflects the ambition of the sector as a whole to improve the lives of the children and young people in care in Wales. Our aim is that Confidence in Care will transform outcomes for looked after children in Wales over the next five years and influence the way children’s social care is delivered in most settings across the country for many more years to come.”
Big Lottery Fund Wales Chair Sir Adrian Webb said: “Children and young people in care are especially vulnerable group as they often experience multiple and complex transitions. For example, they may change foster carers or care homes frequently, particularly if they have complex emotional and psychological needs that are not being addressed properly.
“This funding is a golden opportunity to make a positive difference to lives of children and young people in care in Wales.”
Tina Maksimovic from one of our Foster Carers in Wales was awarded an Outstanding Contribution to Foster Care Award by leading charity The Fostering Network in recognition of her important role in fostering.
The charity’s inaugural Fostering Excellence Awards have recognised and celebrated excellence and outstanding achievement in foster care, honoured the achievements of young care leavers and acknowledged the valuable contribution that sons and daughters make to the fostering household.
The Fostering Excellence Awards were not created or intended as a competitive exercise designed to choose one fine example of an outstanding contribution over another but rather as a celebration of all that is great, good and indeed excellent about fostering and everyone involved in making any fostering placement a success.
Tina and her partner Rob have 6 children between them, and 11 grandchildren. Over the last 3 years they have been looking after a sibling group, currently aged 8, 9 and 11 and recently she has also accepted another child into their family on a special guardianship order, aged 4.
Not only does Tina donate her time to children, she also is a very active runner with her daughter Donna, who is also a Schedule 3 Foster Carer. They don’t pick the easy options either; some of the events completed are Tough Mudder, Rat Race a 20 mile course with 200 obstacles, Survival of the Fittest, and Dirty Dozen in the elite wave. Raising money along the way for Heart Research UK, Men’s Health, War Heroes, Action Medical Research and Barnardo’s.
Tina also goes above and beyond for The Foster Care Co-operative too, giving countless hours joining us at support group sessions, recruitment events, encouraging others to become foster carers, and is always the first one to sign up to any events we arrange.
On top of this Tina also cares for her elderly mother making regular visits, often daily. Also, for the last 10 years on Christmas Day, she has taken dinners to 3 vulnerable adults who would have gone without otherwise.
However it’s not as easy as it looks on paper, Tina admits herself at times it is difficult but she is completely motivated by her vocation, and her thoughts are always about the children and giving them as much love and support as she possibly can. She also highly credits her partner Rob, they work seamlessly together, and without his support she wouldn’t be able to do any of it.
Ian Brazier, Executive Director of The Foster Care Co-operative said, “I was absolutely thrilled to hear that this had been awarded. The hard work that all of our professional Foster Carers do is often underestimated. The Foster Care Co-operative has a tremendous community of dedicated Foster Carers and a fantastic staffing team, which is clearly reflected in this award. Outstanding Contribution to Foster Care is a fantastic achievement, I am extremely pleased and proud of Tina and Rob. Congratulations!"
Jim Bond, president of The Fostering Network, said: “Fostering is about providing a home for children who can’t live with their own family. This takes exceptional human beings who have empathy, understanding, love and the skills needed to support a child. Foster carers are truly unsung heroes within our society. The devote their lives to making sure children and young people can have real futures, fulfil their potential and grow up to lead happy and rounded lives.”
You can find out more about the awards and the winners on The Fostering Network websitehttps://www.fostering.net/support-us/fostering-excellence-awards. The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. By working with foster families, and the services that support them, we help all children and young people who are fostered to achieve the very best they can.
What aspects of the care system do you think need improving? This is your chance to tell an influential group of MPs what issues they should prioritise to investigate after the General Election.
The Education Select Committee monitors the policy, administration and spending of the Department for Education and Ofsted. The Committee chooses subjects for regular inquiries.
Tweet the committee directly using the hashtag #closethegap
Read more about the work of the committee and the issues it has examined in the last five years
Have you fostered a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender young person? The Centre for Research on Children & Families at the University of East Anglia needs your help. They are interviewing foster carers about their experiences for a project which aims to improve support for LGBT young people in care and their foster carers. The research has ethical approval from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.
Interviews will be by telephone and will be confidential and anonymous. Please contact Birgit Larsson by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01603 597 501, if you would like to take part, or want further information.
The draft 'Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy and Action Plan for Wales' has been published for consultation
It follows up Talk to Me which was published in 2009.
The purpose of this consultation exercise is to gather views about the content of draft Strategy and Action Plan and the consultation template provided asks three questions about whether the Strategy is focussed in the right areas, whether other reference materials could be included and whether the priority actions will deliver the strategic objectives.
Talk to Me 2 focusses on suicide and self harm prevention. Its overall strategic aim is to reduce the suicide rate in the general population. In addition it will also promote, coordinate and support plans and programmes for the prevention of suicidal behaviours and self harm. via collaborative work across statutory and third sector organisations.
There are six objectives:
Visit http://gov.wales/consultations/healthsocialcare/talk2/?lang=en for consultation documents
The Fostering Network Wales has submitted its response to the Welsh Government’s consultation Talk to me 2: Draft Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy and Action Plan for Wales, where we have set out the specific needs of children and young people in care and care leavers, and the importance of working with foster carers in addressing suicide and self-harm.
Our response sets out the value of the third sector in working in collaboration with wider public services to support and assist them, and their foster carers, in undertaking consultations with hard to reach groups.
In summary The Fostering Network Wales has called for:
• A specific part of the strategy to focus on looked after children and care leavers;
• Training and support for those who work with looked after children and care leavers, and specifically foster carers;
• A strong emphasis on cross-sector collaboration to deliver support and services in line with SSWB Act (Advocacy, information, advice and assistance);
• Specific Wales based research to be undertaken to enable a greater understanding of the issues and challenges in Wales to inform practice and policy;
• Consultation with looked-after-children and care leavers to inform implementation;
• Development of specific training and practice resources for the looked-after-children and care leavers population.
Dr Emily Warren, director of The Fostering Network Wales, said: “The emotional wellbeing of children and young people in care should be at the forefront of our minds when looking to the future.
“Supporting suicide prevention for children and young people in care, and care leavers, should be an important element of the Government’s agenda and The Fostering Network is keen to support ongoing improvement to this vital work.”
You can view our consultation response on our website.
On Tuesday 10th March, The Foster Care Co-operative attended a Fostering Celebration Day at the Holiday Inn in Doncaster
The Foster Care Co-operative within Doncaster is one of the members of a Fostering Trust, who met yesterday to develop the partnership between the seven trustees. The point of the meeting overall was to celebrate Fostering, but also to continue to build a co-operative learning and sharing relationship, with the aim to improve foster care placement sufficiency within Doncaster, including celebrating Fostering and the achievements of Foster Carers and young people.
Foster Carers and young people were also asked to attend the ‘Celebration Day’ held at The Holiday Inn in Doncaster. Some of the latest research was shared with the group by Fostering Research Doncaster, and there were short talks from Foster carers and youngsters sharing their experiences. Some of the looked after children were also given the opportunity to chair the meeting.
Amongst the interesting speakers were Zoe Lodrick, who is a trainer and consultant with over 20 years’ experience of providing psychotherapy who is recognised as a specialist in human behaviour and response when faced with a perceived threat. Also, Lemn Sissy MBE an author, and was the official poet for the London Olympics and an ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund.
Ian Brazier, Executive Director for The Foster Care Co-operative attended the event and said,
“Congratulations to the Trust for putting on such a fantastic occasion, I am really proud that The Foster Care Co-operative was part of it. I enjoyed listening to the speakers, particularly the Foster Carers and young people who all gave very interesting talks. Thank you to everyone who made it such an insightful event, and again to the other partners.”
There is an urgent need for 200 more foster carers in Northern Ireland. Lynda Wilson, Director of Barnardo's NI, said: "We do have quite a significant shortage. For the number of children and young people we have we would need an average of four more foster carers a week." She was speaking at Stormont where the charity marked 35 years of fostering with a balloon launch.
In that time hundreds of children and young people have been placed in long term foster care by the charity and many children's lives have been turned around.Lynda Wilson started the foster care service 35 years ago and is still involved."I saw the need for Barnardo's to offer fostering after working with one young man who was constantly running away from children's homes - he was crying out for a long-term foster home," she said.
See the video at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/video-news/video-barnardos-celebrates-35-years-fostering-in-northern-ireland-with-a-balloon-launch-at-stormont-31055622.html
The UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, is pleased to announce that Kevin Williams will be taking up the role of chief executive in early summer 2015.
Kevin Williams joins the organisation with a wealth of experience having previously worked as chief executive of TACT, the UK's largest charitable fostering and adoption provider for over a decade, and more recently of disability charity DGSM yourChoice.
Kevin said of his appointment: "I am delighted to be taking on the leadership of The Fostering Network at what is a crucial time for foster care and fostering services.
“The Fostering Network does an amazing job in bringing together those involved in foster care to make life better for some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in our communities. I am passionate about foster care and the crucial work that foster carers do, and am looking forward to building upon the excellent work that the charity, and its staff, have done over the last 40 years."
Philip Brown, chair of The Fostering Network’s trustee board, said “I am delighted to be able to welcome Kevin Williams to The Fostering Network. Kevin has considerable experience in the local authority, charity and independent sectors of fostering and I know that with the help of our dedicated and skilled staff he will lead us all forward into an exciting and expanding future for The Fostering Network, and more importantly a better future for the children and young people and their carers who we all work so hard to support."
The Fostering Network works with more than 400 fostering services and 52,500 foster carers to help fostered children to achieve the very best they can, and has been at the forefront of fostering policy and practice in the UK for over 40 years.
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