Member News: Community Foster Care in the news - An increase in demand sees foster care charity move to bigger premises
Community Foster Care (CFC), has moved into larger premises so that they can accommodate an increase in demand for foster carers in West Cumbria.
The new space, which is located on Tarne Howe Building West on the Derwent Howe building estate in Workington, will allow the local team to meet the needs of more young people who need loving homes, as well as the foster carers who look after them.
“The decision to move reflects the need and our growth in West Cumbria,” said Emma Weaver, a Registered Manager for CFC. “Our ethos is to ensure that wherever we operate, we have small caseloads for our social workers and have strong, solid local support in place for all of our amazing carers.”
Community Foster Care’s new home will house a dedicated area for play sessions, as well as space for monthly carer support groups and regular training events.
Viv Gibson, CFC’s placement support worker in West Cumbria, said, “We want to be accessible to our carers and children, and we want to provide a warm family feel too. This new space has a wonderfully welcoming environment so people can pop in for coffee and have a chat.”
Currently, there are about 700 young people who are looked after in Cumbria. Around 160 of them are from Allerdale and 150 from Carlisle.
“When CFC was set up in 1989, we wanted to do things differently,” said Emma. “Our goal was to disrupt the status quo around foster care recruitment and provision.
We continuously challenge ideas about who can foster because we think it is so vital that children in care have the chance to stay in their local area with people from similar backgrounds. As a result, we work with a variety of carers, but we need more.”
In particular, CFC is looking for people who can look after sibling groups, older children, and parent and child placements. Specialist training is provided for all carers, along with access to monthly support groups, financial allowances, and regular consultations with a child psychotherapist.
Supervising Social Worker, Loren Hannah, said, “This move is so important on several levels. But one thing I’d say is if people want to find out more about fostering – just come along and see us – the kettle is always on.”
Community Foster Care’s Rebecca Robson has won a top national award for her outstanding work as a social worker.
She clinched the honour at an awards ceremony run by The Fostering Network – the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards which shine the spotlight on those who make an exceptional contribution to the sector.
She was nominated by CFC foster carer Andrea Jones who said: “Rebecca is dedicated, caring and so very often goes way above and beyond any expectations of a social worker. She is an all-round fantastic example of a decent human being and exceptional social worker.”
The judges concluded that Rebecca, based in our Lancaster office, is an outstanding social worker in how she exceeds expectations time and again. For example, when a child was in hospital, she sent the carer home to get some much-needed rest and sat in hospital with the child until almost midnight. The next evening, on her day off, Rebecca returned to offer support and stayed until 3am.
Rebecca also takes time to consider the feelings of the birth children of foster carers, sometimes taking them out to give them an opportunity to talk about how things are going.
Even when off duty, Rebecca keeps her phone on and will answer if you need her. She is there for every support group, training day, day out and fostering event.
CFC CEO, Mark Kingston, said: “We are enormously proud of Rebecca. She is an outstanding social worker who emulates the charity’s values. She really does go way above and beyond any expectations we might have of her.”
Rebecca has been a social worker with CFC since 2018. She previously worked in the child protection and court team in Cumbria and Lancashire.
The Fostering Network’s Fostering Excellence Awards ceremony took place in London on 23 October.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “Social workers play such an important role in foster care and particularly in the lives of those in care. That’s why it is so encouraging to meet social workers like Rebecca who are totally dedicated to their role, foster carers and young people. Rebecca’s commitment to helping carers and young people in times of difficulty is a real credit to her and exemplifies the impact she has had everyone she has worked with.”
There was plenty of cheering when Community Foster Care held an open day to celebrate the opening of new premises in the heart of Gloucester.
As the charity marks its 21st anniversary, Chief Executive Mark Kingston said the move to Kingsholm Road “marks a mighty step in our coming-of-age strategy”.
“When Community Foster Care started life, it was inspired by a belief in the local communities of Matson, Coney Hill and Hester’s Way. The aim was to invest in these communities and together provide loving homes to the children in our care,” he said.
“Since we have moved here from Staunton, we have seen many more children, young people and carers here at Kingsholm - which is brilliant.”
More than 70 people attended the open day which included a buffet, bouncy castle, children’s entertainer and painting room.
Patron of CFC, Dame Janet Trotter, performed the official ribbon-cutting with the help of foster carers Wendy and Steve Impey who have been with the charity since it started, and Gloucester rugby player Henry Trinder who is also a foster carer for Community Foster Care.
“Community is very much part of this organisation,” she said. “It may seem strange that we are here to celebrate a building but it’s important because it is in the middle of the Gloucester community. We want to interact with this community and draw more people into fostering and the wonderful work that Community Foster Care does.”
Chair of Trustees, Judge Charles Wade, added: “Here we are at the heart of the City of Gloucester, enabling our carers and staff to access the centre of operations much more easily than before. I and the trustees are confident that it will have a major positive impact upon the future of the charity.”
Mark thanked everyone who makes the work of Community Foster Care possible. “I am lucky to lead an organisation with such fantastic carers and staff. You really are remarkable,” he said.
Member Job Opportunity: Community Foster Care - Supervising Social Workers in Gloucester and Royal Wootton Bassett
We are searching for new talented inspired people to join our crew.
As a small community-focused fostering charity, exciting things are happening, and we’re look for new crew members to join our expedition.
We’re propelled by our values and our beliefs to explore new ways to realise young people’s potential and achieve our mission.
We currently have posts for Supervising Social Workers or Senior Supervising Social Workers in Gloucester and Royal Wootton Bassett.
£27,900 - £36,000 pro rata, plus car allowance and other benefits.
30 hours or 37.5 hours
Closing date: Sunday 12 May 2019
Interview date: Wednesday 15 May 2019
We employ robust and thorough safer recruitment procedures. To find out more about these exciting charity opportunities, to read the recruitment packs and grab an application form, visit:
Child and adolescent therapist Vicky Blackwell has taken up a new role with Community Foster Care.
Vicky has worked extensively with fostered and adopted children for more than 10 years. Initially trained as a social worker before further training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Theraplay, she has wide experience of children with a range of different mental health issues such as RAD, PTSD, ADHD and anxiety disorders as well as emotional difficulties around loss and grief, attachment and problematic relationships.
“I believe it’s important to work with the whole family system when working with children,” she said.
For Community Foster Care, a not-for-profit agency, she will provide a therapeutic family consultation service for looked-after children, working with both children and carers in and around Workington and Lancaster.
“Integrative psychotherapy can make a big difference to children who have experienced early-life trauma, allowing them to have their emotional developmental needs met, which are often delayed or under-developed because of the impact of relational trauma,” she said.
“Cared-for children can have profound attachment difficulties that prevent them from making a good enough relationship with their carers. Understanding and responding appropriately to the child’s attachment behaviour helps both carers and children to relate to each other differently.”
After qualifying as a social worker in Salford in 2007, Vicky worked primarily with families with adopted children for more than ten years. She retrained in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy in Manchester in 2014. She is also a certified Theraplay practitioner and supervisor. She now runs her own private practice Family Be, which provides clinical therapeutic interventions to children and families with varied backgrounds and family systems.
Registered Manager with Community Foster Care, Emma Weaver, welcomed Vicky: “We’re really pleased to have someone with Vicky’s approach and skills as part of our team. She’ll help us better understand the trauma and broken attachments which children experience and how that affects them,” she said.
“She will play a key role in providing expertise at times of crisis, enabling us to build understanding and resilience within the family.”
Amanda Culverhouse has joined Community Family Care as Project Lead for the new Family Group Conferencing Service launched in North Somerset.
After a 16-year career in Human Resources and six years as a mediator in situations such as bullying and harassment, Amanda trained in Family Group Conferencing in 2017. Since then she has also provided advocacy for young people in Somerset.
She and a sessional team of FGC co-ordinators will deliver the service from Worle for a minimum of 24 referred families per year for North Somerset Council.
“Most of the families we work with are put forward for support by social workers, usually when relationships have broken down and a child may be about to go into care,” said Amanda.
“We bring together the family’s relatives, friends and maybe neighbours and help them to come up with solutions that keep the family together in a safe and supported environment. The service is often a lifeline to families who don’t know where else to turn.”
Manager of Community Family Care, Sasha Hart, said: “We’re proud to have Amanda to lead on our new Family Group Conference service. Her experience and ability are invaluable and we’re excited to have her on board to launch the service.”
Community Family Care won the three-year contract for North Somerset Council, worth £150,000, by competitive tender.
The independent, not-for-profit agency provides bespoke support services for children and families, building on families’ strengths to help make positive change and bring about lasting outcomes.
Click here for more information about Family Group Conferences at Community Family Care.
Community Foster Care is pleased to have achieved an overall ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted for our teams in both the North and South.
Ofsted Social Care Inspectors concluded that CFC provides “high-quality, consistent foster care [which] helps children and young people to feel confident and valued”.
They listed an impressive list of strong points:
Our foster carers were praised as “highly-skilled and experienced... extremely dedicated and committed.”
We pride ourselves on the quality of care and support we provide and it’s good to see that recognised by Ofsted.
View full Ofsted report for our North Office.
View full Ofsted report for our South Office.
Community Foster Care has welcomed a new supervising social worker to its team in Lancaster.
Rebecca Robson, 31, was brought up in Kendal and qualified with a BA Hons in social work at the University of Lancaster in 2010.
She has since worked with homeless adults in Lancaster and in residential care. For three-and-a-half years she worked in the child protection team in Cumbria. She joins Community Foster Care in Quarry Road, Lancaster from Lancashire Children’s Services where she was a member of the child protection and court unit.
“I like the ethos of Community Foster Care – there’s a good family vibe and everyone is passionate about improving the life chances of children in care,” she said.
Registered Manager of Community Foster Care, Emma Weaver, welcomed Rebecca to Community Foster Care, a not-for-profit agency and charity.
“She’s a great addition to our team. Her experience with children and young people will be invaluable,” she said.
Community Foster Care provides foster carers for children all over Lancashire and Cumbria.
Supervising Social Worker
Full Time Position, Gloucestershire
Salary: £26,000 - £36,000 pa depending on experience.
Must be able to drive and have access to a car. Car allowance paid.
We are looking for an energetic, creative and courageous qualified Social Worker, who can demonstrate a tenacity and enthusiasm in making a positive difference to the lives of children who we look after.
We are looking for a passionate person to support our foster carers in the South West of England to provide loving stable homes to children and young people who have experienced trauma.
We are a small team and positive relationships are valued. Therefore, it is essential that the post holder is able to work effectively with others with a flexible and adaptable approach – always demonstrating their commitment to working to the highest possible standards whilst remaining at all times child centred.
Community Foster Care is a small children’s charity operating as an Independent Fostering Agency, as well as providing other children’s services. We are passionately committed to our values and to enabling children and young people to thrive, be ambitious and to dream. Working for Community Foster Care means you are too.
The post holder will be based in our Gloucestershire office, however, they will be required to support carers across the South West and work closely with our colleagues in Wiltshire.
A driving licence and access to a car is essential.
You will also be required to participate in an Out of Hours Duty rota.
Applicants must demonstrate:
The role will require the post holder to be involved in the recruitment, assessment, training and support of foster carers.
You will be required to support the children we look after to ensure that they are provided with the highest possible standard of care and the best opportunities to achieve all their ambitions.
The safeguarding of children is paramount, this post will require the successful applicants to undertake an enhanced DBS check.
What you get by working for Community Foster Care
For more information or an informal discussion about the role, please contact registered manager, Lyn Taylor, on 01452 849301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please complete an application form and email it to email@example.com. Alternatively you can post it to Lyn Taylor, Community Foster Care, Unit 15, The Hawthorns, Staunton, Gloucester, GL19 3NY.
More information and application documents here
Community Family Care has won a three-year contract to run a groundbreaking youth services project for Bradford on Avon Town Council in Wiltshire.
The council has drawn up a new Youth Strategy and sought an organisation to deliver a new approach.
It was impressed with the presentation by the Community Family Care team and agreed that CFC would provide “a highly innovative, responsive and localised service” for Bradford on Avon and the surrounding villages.
The new service will also bring jobs to the area with the expected recruitment of several youth workers.
Community Family Care’s team will work with young people aged 10-18, and with people aged up to 25 if they have additional needs or have been in care.
It will deliver some ‘traditional’ services in addition to outreach work and more targeted work with young people. The not-for-profit organisation will also work closely with schools and other service providers, including delivering preventative work to address behaviours that may place young people at risk.
Councillors are keen that the service provides a platform for young people to have more of a say in decisions that affect them, and wants the service to provide opportunities for youth participation and citizenship initiatives.
Leader of the Council Dom Newton said: “We are very excited to be working with Community Family Care in delivering one of the first new Youth Services to be commissioned since 2010.
“The service has key elements – outreach and detached work, as well as youth club services – but it will really be for our young people to decide, with the new youth workers, what those new services really look like.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how those develop, and are hopeful that it will help a new generation of young people engage in their local community, and with an expectation and understanding of their right to have their voice heard in decisions, locally and nationally.”
Mark Kingston, Chief Executive of Community Family Care, based in Gloucestershire, said: “We’ve been operating in Wiltshire for more than 14 years and see our role as unleashing the potential of young people, enabling them to realise their ambitions and bring a rich seam of experience to their local community.
“We believe that sticking by children and young people is a vital ingredient in our belief in them and that investing in the community will bring long-term social and economic gains which are critical to the realising of ambitions and happiness.”
Notes for editors:
Community Family Care
Community Family Care is a trading name of Community Foster Care, which is a registered charity with 20 years’ experience of supporting children and families through fostering and edge of care services.
Established in 1998, Community Foster Care developed from neighbourhood projects and supported local families to foster; enabling young people to safely remain within their communities.
Today Community Foster Care operates across offices in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria, providing high quality fostering services and, through its Community Family Care Team, it also offers a range of edge of care and early intervention support to children and families.
About Bradford on Avon’s Youth Strategy
The Youth Strategy document was adopted by the Town Council in late 2017, and covers both youth service provision in the town and area (part one) and improving opportunities for jobs and housing in the town (part two) for young people up to the age of 30.
This was based on a review of current demographic trends, which show a marked difference in the numbers of 20-30 years olds in the town, against other towns of similar size, and the social imbalance that can bring.
It is also predicated on the idea that providing young people with the opportunity to engage in their local community means that they will value the outputs far more, and that it embeds a habit of engagement in decision-making that will enhance political engagement of all types.
BOATC have assigned £40,000 funding for the Youth Strategy in year one, with a further £8,000 from the CWLPEC and around £6,000 from the Bradford on Avon Area Board. The contract is for three years lasting until July 2021, with a total contract value of just under £142,000 split over those three years.
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