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.
A survey of carers from Community Foster Care has revealed high satisfaction rates in all areas.
Carers were asked their views on all aspects of fostering, including support, allowance rates, training, activities and relationships with staff and social workers.
In almost areas, the foster carers who responded rated Community Foster Care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Equally, levels of satisfaction were consistently around 80 per cent.
Chief Executive of Community Foster Care Mark Kingston thanked carers for taking part in the survey.
“It is imperative that we seek your feedback on a regular basis and that we learn from what you tell us,” he said.
“Whilst we strive for perfection we recognise that there’s always room to improve. We firmly believe that our charity will be better for it.
“It’s great that the overall satisfaction rates were so positive and there was little negativity. However, there were also some very constructive comments about how we can do a better job, in particular in terms of training and support groups.”
Asked how satisfied carers are with the frequency of supervision, 97% were satisfied or extremely satisfied. A further 78 per cent were satisfied with the support received.
Supervising social workers and placement support workers notched up 91% in the satisfaction ratings for understanding the needs of cared-for children. A reassuring 97% said they were satisfied or very satisfied that Community Foster Care listens to its carers.
When it came to the level of allowances, 83% of those who responded were satisfied or extremely satisfied.
Whilst the matching process of carer with children scored highly, 34% of those who responded said they’d like better quality information about children before their placement begins.
All Community Foster Care’s carers in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Lancashire and Cumbria were invited to take part in the survey. They could choose whether to remain anonymous.
Community Foster Care is seeking some new trustees to join our board, and the board of our sister charity, Community Family Care.
Our board of trustees is made up of people with a variety of skills, experience and knowledge which helps us to develop, strengthen and grow the services we offer to children, young people and their families.
We meet three times per year at our Staunton offices and once per year at our office in Lancaster. This is a strategic meeting covering the business and finance aspects of the charity.
Trustees are also expected join a sub-group with which they’d like to engage. Our current sub-groups include finance, investment, safeguarding and foster children.
If you think your skills could strengthen our board and would like to discuss this exciting opportunity further, please get in touch with our board secretary, Kathy O'Keeffe, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Foster Care is a not-for-profit foster care agency which provides foster care placements for local children in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Cumbria and Lancashire. We provide fostering services where children flourish and have the greatest opportunities to achieve their personal ambitions.
Community Family Care, our sister charity, provides community based family support services to the local community in Gloucestershire, including training, support and guidance to families. Enabling children and families to stay together is central to our mission, and our work is focused on supporting people to make the changes necessary to improve the lives of children.
Our CEO is retiring and we need someone who can carry on the good work and help drive the businesses forward. The work we do makes a difference to children’s lives and to the communities where they live and this is an exciting opportunity for an experienced practitioner with proven business acumen to join our child focused charities as we continue to grow and develop over the forthcoming years.
13th September Informal Chat for Longlisted Candidates
4th October Stakeholder Interviews
5th October Formal Interviews
Please note candidates will be expected to attend on all three dates
Find out more and download an application pack
Closing date for applications is 7th September.
Community Foster Care is proud to announce that Dame Janet Trotter is the charity’s new patron.
Dame Janet, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire and former Chair of the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
She has always been a strong supporter of young people who face disadvantages and met many of Community Foster Care’s foster carers when she presented the charity’s annual awards in 2016.
“It is an honour to have been invited to become patron of Community Foster Care. All children need love and support as they grow up but there are many children locally who, for whatever reason, cannot live with their natural parents,” she said.
“Fostering takes special skills and qualities and I have been impressed by both the high quality care offered by the families who foster and also by the many young people who respond to a new family environment.
“I look forward as patron to contributing more regularly to this special organisation.”
Chair of Community Foster Care and its sister organisation, Community Family Care, Judge Charles Wade, said: “We are honoured to have Dame Janet as our patron. Her empathy and understanding, coupled with the depth of her experience in so many walks of life, make her support invaluable.
”Children end up in care through no fault of their own and face challenges which most of us can’t imagine. They need strong ambassadors to fight their corner every step of the way.”
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