More younger people need to be encouraged to foster in order to avoid a recruitment crisis, the Fostering Network is warning today, as this year's Foster Care Fortnight draws to a close.
A survey of 2,600 foster carers found that 30 per cent were aged 55 or above, with another 45 per cent between 45 and 54. In contrast, only 4 per cent were aged 20 to 34. This suggests that almost one in three foster carers are now approaching an age where they may consider retiring.
The results come hot on the heels of a YouGov opinion poll carried out by the Fostering Network, which found that only 22 per cent of people aged 18-25 think they would be accepted as foster carers were they to apply within the next two years.
Commenting on the results, chief executive of the Fostering Network Robert Tapsfield said: “Older foster carers bring life experience and skills from other work to fostering, and do an amazing job in providing homes for thousands of fostered children. People even apply to foster when they are in their 50s and beyond, and we encourage applications at any age as long as people are fit and healthy.
“But these figures are worrying because they suggest that many foster carers may think about retiring over the next 10 to 15 years, at a time when we already need more people to come forward, particularly to offer homes to teenagers, children with disabilities and groups of brothers and sisters.
“It’s vital that we reach out to more younger people, in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, and are clear that what is important is not age, but rather the skills and qualities to look after fostered children. Younger foster carers will also be in a great position to offer homes to the many children who need to live with a foster family for the long term, often until the age of 21.”
There are currently 52,500 foster families looking after 63,000 children across the UK every day. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 8,600 families are needed this year alone, particularly to look after teenagers and children with disabilities, as well as providing homes to groups of brothers and sisters.
Unless the right foster carers can be found, children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school, are moved from home to home, and are split up from their brothers and sisters. Finding the right foster carer can lead to stability and a positive experience of childhood.
Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May) is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and encourage more people to consider becoming foster carers. To find out more about fostering and becoming a foster carer, see www.couldyoufoster.org.ukor contact your local fostering service.
For media enquiries contact the Fostering Network press office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7620 6425
Over the last twelve months TACT has enjoyed extraordinary success in tendering bids with local authorities. Tender bids will consider the quality of services we offer and our record in finding loving foster families for children in care and rank us as an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA).
Since June 2013 we have tendered for 11 contracts, either with individual local authorities or with groups of authorities in a framework agreement. We have been placed on the highest Tier 1 for ten of these. Our most recent tender, for the 4Cs contract of Local Authorities in South Wales in May 2014, saw us placed as the top ranked IFA on Tier 1.
These assessments demonstrate how highly TACT is rated and valued by the local authorities partners that use our services. Our child focussed approach, along with the in depth training for carers and 24/7 support we offer ensure we are recognised for providing the highest quality services.
TACT also has an excellent record of inspections, our Scottish service was rated as ‘very good’ by the Care Inspectorate in all categories, and all seven of our English offices are rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted. Wales does not grade services but a copy of our most recent report is available on Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
We are pleased to announce that Team Fostering is moving into Cumbria and opening a new office in the Shaddongate area of Carlisle.
We know children in Cumbria need to be offered foster care in their home areas, and so we are now looking to recruit foster carers in Carlisle, and the Eden and Allerdale districts. We would urge anyone interested in fostering in Cumbria to get in touch with us at our new Carlisle office on 01228 907908.
Alternatively, we will be opening the doors to our new Carlisle office in the YMCA Building, Shaddon Gateway Centre, Shaddongate on the 23rd May between 12pm and 4pm and invite you to come along and join us for a warm welcome, a cuppa and a chat. This is a great opportunity to speak with one of our existing foster carers and meet Pauline, Douglas and the rest of our fostering team in Cumbria.
More information about our open event can be found here.
9,000 children every year will have three or more moves in care. Can you give them a chance at stability and be one of 134 new foster carers we need?
Imagine what it feels like to move from home to home, not knowing the person you are moving in with and where you are going to be? Many of these young people will have had traumatic childhoods; they will be older and have complex needs - the children that really need help the most.
This year during Foster Care Fortnight, we are asking if you could work with Action for Children and make a real difference to the lives of these children.
Could you foster someone like Tom?
Tom was 16. He smoked drugs and had a significant criminal past. Many felt he was beyond hope. First time foster carers, Catherine and David were unsure if they could take him on.
They gave it a go and took one step at a time. They encouraged him to give up smoking, keep himself busy and eventually attend college. They gave him hope for the future.
Now, Tom lives with his girlfriend, is working in the care sector and taking his NVQ in nursing care. He says "If it wasn't for Catherine and David I really don't know where my life would be right now. The nicest thing is that they tell me is that they are proud of me."
Hear the story in Tom's words and through the eyes of foster carers Catherine and David.
You could be part of a team that helps children and young people achieve amazing results including:
Who can foster with Action for Children?
Children’s charity St Christopher’s will be celebrating Foster Care Fortnight from Monday, May 12, to Sunday, May 25, to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers across the UK.
There is a national shortfall of 7,000 foster carers and St Christopher’s is committed to growing the number of foster carers to ensure more vulnerable young people can be offered stable and loving homes.
During Foster Care Fortnight, St Christopher’s will be:
In addition, four foster carers will be starring in St Christopher’s new video being released tomorrow.
If you would like to find out more about fostering with St Christopher’s complete the online enquiry form, email email@example.com or call 0800 234 6282.
Full Time position
Based in Cardiff Bay
Salary: £50,000 per annum (negotiable for a highly qualified and experienced candidate) + 32 days holiday + bank holidays + excellent pension scheme
We are looking for a strong and passionate, motivated and experienced Registered Manager to manage and further develop our Welsh office.
The successful applicant will effectively establish, manage, develop and promote foster care provision and support services in Wales in line with regulatory requirements and the FCC’s values and objectives.
We require a dedicated manager who has a minimum of three years' experience of family placement and/or children’s services at a management level, a solid background and experience in the role of registered manager, a comprehensive working knowledge of all relevant legislation pertaining to children’s services as well as publications which inform current thinking regarding good practice and the Safeguarding of children.
This role takes overall responsibility for the Welsh arm of FCC and, therefore, there must be a strong ability to communicate at all levels, influence, engage, negotiate, mediate and build effective relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders. There is considerable travel required on a regular basis so there must be a commitment to working flexible hours.
We are a not for profit organisation, putting the needs of our children and carers first and look to appoint someone who will wholly engage in our ethos and is as passionate about our co-operative not for profit status as we are.
Closing Date: Monday 19th May
For an application form, more details, or simply to discuss the role, please contact Barbara@fostercarecooperative.co.uk or call 01684 892380
FCC is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosures Barring Service clearance/Scottish Disclosure at enhanced level. CVs will not be accepted, all applicants must complete an application form.
People have been urged not to rule themselves out of fostering children after a poll found nearly a third of adults believed they would not be accepted as foster carers if they applied.
Some 28% of 4,818 UK adults questioned by YouGov said they would expect to be turned down if they applied in the next two years.
Many under 25 and over 55 believed their age would count them out, while others cited their living arrangement as the reason they feared they would be turned down.
Fostering Network chief executive Robert Tapsfield said: "It doesn't matter if you are single or living as a couple, how old you are, or whether you have children, a job or own your own house.
"What matters is that you have the skills and experience to look after children separated from their own families, who have often been abused or neglected."
The Fostering Network estimates 8,600 families are needed this year alone, particularly to look after teenagers and children with disabilities.
Bestselling author and foster carer Cathy Glass and award winning television presenter Gabby Logan are both calling on people to get involved with this year’s Foster Care Fortnight – run by charity the Fostering Network – and see whether they’ve got the skills needed to support and guide a vulnerable child through their most difficult days.
The annual campaign highlights the incredible work that foster carers do, and aims to raise awareness of the need for 8,600 new foster carers across the UK so that every child coming into foster care can be placed with the right foster carer, who can meet their needs in an appropriate location, first time.
Cathy Glass said: “You don’t have to be married, own your home or have your own children to foster, but you do need empathy, patience and love.
“If you have room in your home and heart, why not think about fostering? I did - over 25 years ago - and it was the best decision I ever made. That’s why I’m supporting the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign again this year.”
Gabby Logan said: “I am always proud to support the Fostering Network's Foster Care Fortnight campaign. Foster carers are incredible people who dedicate their lives to vulnerable children, but throughout the country there are still many teenagers, disabled children and sibling groups who need a loving home.
“If you think you have the skills to make a difference to the life of a child and help to ensure that they are on a positive path in life, contact your local fostering service this Foster Care Fortnight.”
This year the theme of Foster Care Fortnight is "guess who fosters", with the aim of smashing stereotypes about who can and can't foster, and highlighting the skills and qualities actually needed to become a foster carer.
Find out more about fostering and find details of your local fostering services by visiting couldyoufoster.org.uk
FtSE Member News: TACT’s Executive Director of Policy will be speaking at a Westminster Education Forum seminar on Next steps for children in care.
Gareth Crossman, TACT’s Executive Director of Policy, Communication and Fundraising, will be speaking at a Westminster Education Forum seminar on Next steps for children in care: reforming adoption, improving children’s homes and supporting care leavers.
The seminar will include a keynote address from Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England and Craig Whittaker MP, Member, Education Select Committee.
Timed as the Children and Families Bill is expected to become law, this seminar will focus on key issues around children in care in England at a time of considerable reform.
Delegates will discuss changes to the adoption system included in the Bill, as well as Government’s proposals for a ’fundamental overhaul’ of children’s residential care, including greater transparency and accountability around commissioning. Initiatives to improve the education of children in care and the new cross-government strategy to support care leavers in the transition to further and higher education, employment, and adulthood more widely will also be considered.
This conference will bring together key policymakers and regulatory officials with stakeholders with an interest in the support available for children in care, including local authority representatives, children’s charities, children’s home providers, schools and college leaders, community groups, academics and social work bodies.
Find out more about the event
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will provide, for the first time, a coherent Welsh legal framework for social services. It will transform the way social services are delivered, promoting people’s independence to give them a stronger voice and more control. It will also encourage a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention.
The Act will:
The First Minister, as Keeper of the Welsh Seal, applied the Seal to the Letters Patent in a ceremony in Cardiff earlier today [Thursday 1st May 2014].
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“Through our ambitious five year legislative programme, we are introducing ‘made in Wales’ solutions to the issues affecting us as a nation.
“This Act is a landmark piece of legislation, one of the most significant the Assembly has passed since it acquired full law making powers in 2011.
“There is nothing more important to this Government than protecting our most vulnerable citizens and helping to improve their health and wellbeing. In doing so, we need to provide for the right kind of support when it is needed. This Act will do just that.”
Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:
“It has been a real privilege for me to lead the development and delivery of this Act on behalf of the Welsh Government. I am delighted it has now received Royal Assent.
“This is an Act for people and about people. At its heart is a strong focus on individual rights. It will ensure a strong voice and real control for people, of whatever age, enabling them to maximise their wellbeing. It will set the legal framework and infrastructure to transform services to meet changing social expectations and changing demography.
“These are just part of the once in a generation transformational framework that we have created for social services in Wales.”
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