As a not-for-profit fostering agency, we are committed to celebrating our ethical status, social aims and objectives that put children's futures at the heart of everything we do. To this end, we launched a campaign in January 2019 that celebrated our not-for-profit status, in association with our 18th birthday.
The campaign ran for the entire month and consisted of activity that highlighted the work the agency does and the positive impact that operating not-for-profit has for children, young people and the foster carers that look after them. The launch was timely, with January marking the agency's 18th birthday and 10th anniversary of losing one of our founding directors, Peter Richardson, whose commitment to establishing fostering as a not-for-profit sector helped drive the agency in its very first days.
During the campaign Team Fostering welcomed internal and guest speakers, with input from founding directors Walter and Elaine Young, The Growth Partnership director John Payne, our CEO Jane Butler and, most significantly, guidance and accounts from our fantastic foster carers, children and young people. Key themes covered the impact of working for an agency that is not-for-profit and what this means for those in our care, why the agency chooses to operate this way and the steps we have taken to future-proof this setup. This was further supported with 'The History of Team,' looking back over the past 18 years, recognition of the anniversary of Peter Richardson's passing and why we believe it is crucial to promote not-for-profit fostering across the United Kingdom.
The campaign generated outstanding results and was led by Charlotte Brydon, our Marketing and Communications Officer. We were recently advised that Team Fostering has subsequently been shortlisted as a finalist for 'Not for Profit Campaign of the Year' in the North East Marketing Awards 2019!
'Operating as a not-for-profit agency is a significant part of our service provision and is something that staff and foster carers report as the top reason they chose to join Team Fostering, supporting our mission statement to put children's futures first,' Charlotte shared, 'The creation of the campaign was led by such feedback and to be shortlisted for this award is a fantastic achievement, both for Team Fostering and for all not-for-profit fostering providers that seek to promote ethical fostering. The other finalists in the category are incredible and we're thrilled to be recognised alongside such organisations.'
Team Fostering is an agency member of The Fairer Fostering Partnership, a group of not-for-profit and charitable fostering providers that operate across the UK. The agency covers the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands and is proud to recruit and train foster carers who want to make a different to lives of children and young people.
To learn more about the training, support and pay you would be entitled to at Team Fostering, contact us:
submit an online enquiry form by clicking here
call us on 0800 292 2003
These Three Words, by Jess van der Hoach, has been praised recently in the fostering sector for the way it links together the feelings, emotions and behaviours associated with anxiety, with some of the therapeutic tools that can be used in order to enable better self-regulation, increased confidence and different ways of thinking.
Jenny*, a young person in care with Team Fostering, recently read the book and praised it highly. She has put together the below book review.
'Why I enjoyed These Three Words'
Written by Jenny*, aged 12
'The story is about a girl called Luna Ray with anxiety, which is unusual because you don’t find many books like it. Luna is a teenager who has been through a lot but doesn’t understand. My favourite character was Luna’s mother, but she thought Luna was just a ‘normal typical teenager’. During the story Luna starts to overcome her anxiety.
I think the writer wanted to tell this story because she wrote it for her daughter and I think she must have anxiety. The book made me feel like Luna, the main character, was discovering something new and different techniques, it made me feel inspired. It made me think about how anxiety works and it taught me a few good things.
It was a good story because it helps people with anxiety and teaches ways to reground yourself, because not all people can get counsellors.
I think it is important to say that the book helped me think about my anxiety. I would recommend this book because it’s helpful and it works to help people like Luna and I.'
Team Fostering is committed to working with children and young people to overcome any challenges they are facing, and it's great to hear of books like this that just remind children that they aren't alone in their challenges.
We are an ethical, not-for-profit agency with a strong mission statement of 'Putting Children's Futures First.'
We continue to recruit foster carers who share our values, offering our carers comprehensive support, innovative training and competitive fees.
If you're interested in joining Team Fostering we would be delighted to hear from you, whether you have or haven't fostered before.
You can reach us in the following ways:
send an online enquiry by clicking here
email us via email@example.com
call us on 0800 292 2003
Member News: Team Fostering - How would I know that the children and young people I might foster would fit in with my family?
Fostering is an extremely rewarding role, but is not without its challenges. Making the decision to become a foster carer can be incredible, giving you the opportunity to truly change the lives of children and young people who may not have had the best start in life.
Many of the children and young people in care have had traumatic experiences early in life that have led them to being in care. As a result, they may present challenging behaviours that can be difficult to manage without the right training and support. We train our foster carers but we also have local, dedicated placements departments that carefully consider the behaviours and experiences of each child when looking for prospective matches among our foster carers.
Part of our ethical approach at Team Fostering means that our staff get to know foster carers during assessment and approval. Following your approval, a member of our local placements team would arrange a visit with you, where they would establish a thorough understanding of your family and home life, experiences and skills. Building this relationship with you means that when local authorities referred children and young people to us, we could quickly determine whether they would be a positive match for your family, a match that is likely to result in a positive outcome for the young person. We provide our foster carers with all of the information given to us about each child or young person where we believe there is a good match. While we would never recommend you looked after a child or young person unless we truly believed it to be a good match, you would be able to say no if you felt that the match was not right for your family.
If you were to welcome a child or young person into your home following a positive match, you would be provided with comprehensive support, innovative training and competitive fees that would allow you to commit to the role full-time. We aim to keep all children and young people in our care in stable environments, but we understand that fostering is challenging and we would be right by your side to help in any uncertain times. There are many different types of fostering, including short term and long term. You can read about these by clicking here.'
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit agency, which means we can invest all of our resources into putting children’s futures first. We operate across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands, with a team of amazing foster carers and staff. If you’d like to join us and become one of our foster carers, we would love to hear from you, whether you’ve fostered before or even if you’re completely new to the role.
Contact us today to learn more:
Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
Send an online enquiry by clicking here
Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch a short film created by TACT care experienced young people from Wales who wanted to give back something to young people who found themselves in similar positions to themselves when they were younger. In film, they also “talk to their younger selves” giving advice which they feel they can now give having learned so much from their experiences.
The film is a positive endorsement not just of the young people’s wonderful qualities and personalities but of their experiences living with fabulous foster carers who have clearly meant so much to them in their lives.
Watch the film here
Richardson’s hope to make a difference to local charity.
Norfolk holiday company, Richardson’s, is hoping to make a difference to young vulnerable people and families across East Anglia with the announcement of its new charity partner, Break.
The holiday company, which owns Richardson’s Boating Holidays and Hemsby Beach Holiday Park and Richardson’s Family Entertainment Centre will over the next five years raise money for the charity as well as providing short breaks for young people throughout the year.
Greg Munford, Chief Executive of Richardson’s said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with Break and supporting the great work they do with children, young people and families. Over the next five years we aim to raise as much money as possible for the charity, as well as providing children, who may ordinarily never be given the opportunity of a short break, the chance to enjoy the fun and relaxation of a holiday.”
Photo: Greg Munford Chief Exec at Richardson's is joined by Break's Interim CEO, Rachel Cowdry.
Rachel Cowdry, Interim CEO at Break, said: “We are thrilled Richardson’s have chosen us as their charity partner and we look forward to working with them. The support of organisations such as Richardson’s is vital to our work, not only in fundraising terms, but in providing vulnerable young people with unique opportunities that we would not be able to provide ourselves.”
Break has been changing young lives for over 50 years. The charity works tirelessly to support young people in care and moving on, children with disabilities, children at risk, and families who need support, finding a way through difficult times and opening the door to brighter tomorrows.
Member News: Action for Children - Actor Jess Hynes: why I've joined the campaign for better childhoods
I remember my childhood as a time of happiness. Yet I know that not everyone is so lucky - some children have no one at all.
These days, we know better than ever how formative these years are. So it’s almost unbelievable that things seem to be getting worse - not better - for children in the UK. Yet a new campaign from charity Action for Children highlights that many children are missing out on the vital support they need to have a safe and happy childhood.
I’m adding my voice to the campaign because I believe this is unacceptable. Together we can urge the government to take urgent action now: to Choose Childhood.
Latest statistics show that 4.1 million children in the UK are living in poverty. As many as one in five have been exposed to domestic abuse. And there was a 38% increase in children in England identified at being at risk of harm between 2009/10 and 2017/18.
This isn't inevitable - we can help change things. By joining the Choose Childhood campaign, I'm calling on government to create a cross-government National Strategy for Childhood.
When Action for Children spoke to children, parents and grandparents as part of its research, it found the majority think childhoods are worse today than for the previous generation. Over a quarter of young people are worried about their mental health, and over a third about how they look. The charity is particularly concerned about vulnerable children and young people, such as those facing domestic abuse and deprivation.
Despite all this, services that help vulnerable children and families are being removed. Funding for children's services in England dropped by £3 billion between 2010/11 and 2017/18. Cuts like these are leaving children without support to face abuse and neglect, poverty and hunger.
But this isn’t inevitable - we can help change things. By joining the Choose Childhood campaign, I’m calling on government to invest in prevention and early help for families, close the £3.1 billion funding gap in local services, and create a cross-government National Strategy for Childhood.
As an ambassador for Action for Children, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that the right support can make. The charity runs more than 476 services across the UK, and supports 387,000 every year. But without government support, children continue to fall through the cracks. That’s why I’m choosing childhood - and I’m urging you to do the same.
Jessica Hynes is an award winning actor, director and writer, and has been a celebrity ambassador for Action for Children since 2007.
Story By Iddi Cayman CFT Apprentice and Care Leaver
All I knew was that I was going to be going abroad for a proper holiday, not to say I didn’t have an amazing time in a static caravan in Wales the previous year. I was 12 and this would be the first time I would leave the country and the first time I would be flying, and I was very excited. My Foster Carers had suggested that we go to sleep at 19:00 however I was on a holiday buzz and I wasn’t going to sleep. I stayed up to watch TV until 22:30 where we all started the rush to shower and change before embarking on our car journey to the airport for a 01:30am flight. We all loaded into the car and there was a silence as my brothers and sister fell asleep within 10 minutes of the journey.
I sat watching the dark streets blur past the car window and it wasn’t long until we were pulling into the airport parking facilities. At this point, we started what felt like half an hour walk from the parking facilities to the airport itself. Despite weighing my suitcase after almost every item of clothing I was nervous that my case would be overweight. My brothers and I made bets on the weights of each bag. I was now five euros down.
Going through security put me on edge as my first experience with airport security would be the first of many checks. Of course, I would be asked to go through the full body scanner tube. I was so embarrassed and as soon as I was through, I regrouped with my Carers. A few airport security jokes later we journeyed through duty-free, I was amazed at all the high-end brand and products. I was ready to splurge all my pocket money when my Carer reminded me how annoyed I would be if I waste my money now.
Time to board, and I had a rush of different emotions, I was nervous I was flying, excited I was going on holiday and happy to be in another country in about 4 hours. I won the window seat, but there wasn’t much to see outside apart from the lights from the airport building. I settled into my seat, and the plane’s engines began to whirl up as we were going to begin the flight.
We took off, and I never forget the first time I felt that sensation and feeling that taking off gives you. Once we were up in the air, I looked out and saw all the lights across the city it was amazing. My brother hated me because I had the window seat to take in the view and within 10 minutes, I was falling asleep. I woke 2 hours into the flight and was startled by the sight out of the window of the wing of the plane bouncing and flexing. My Carer explained that the wing must flex, bend and bounce to enable the wings not to snap off.
I listened to music for the rest of the flight and time soon passed. We began our descent to the island of Rhodes, and I could see the lights scattered across the whole island and I was ready to get off this plane. The plane came into land and I was so excited I didn’t even realize we had landed; I was already grabbing my bags when my Carers insisted we waited for everyone else to get off. I remember the wall of hot moist air just hitting me as I walked out of the plane door it was intense.
We hopped on the transfer bus and were dropped off by an inlet area of the airport, where we were greeted by a series of security kiosks where we provided our passports and were waved through. We grabbed our bags from the conveyor belts and met our coach outside a short 15-minute ride to our hotel. We were given our keys and picked up on go-karts to our rooms with our luggage, it was about 06:50 when we arrived, and I wasn’t tired despite only sleeping 2 of the last 24 hrs. I lay in bed and I was out like a light.
The breakfast was amazing with all different types of foods from across Europe to choose from, and I wanted it all. We all had our fill and discussed the plan for the day. My brothers and I returned to the rooms to get ready to explore the facilities that were on offer to us. We visited the Blue Bay hotels Water park and 6 swimming pools which were only seconds away from the sea. Our balcony view was looking out to sea and in the distance, you could see Turkey. For the first day, my younger brother and I explored and abused the free all-inclusive ice-cream and fizzy drinks by making coke floats on holiday.
The second day we learned of the free entry bands for the water park for hotel residents, so we spent the whole day there briefly seeing the rest of our family in passing. I loved the freedom that this holiday gave me. At the water park I made friends with others around my age, and we grew close very quickly. Before the end of the day, we were all hanging out while our families were at the evening entertainment; Karaoke wasn’t my thing.
One evening my mates and I walked to a restaurant in the hotel complex called Pegasus. I felt very mature going for a meal without parents and Carers at a restaurant; of course, while in this foreign country I thought I must try some of the traditional Greek food. I ordered a burger however it counts as exploring with food since I had halloumi on it. It was delicious and my love for halloumi had begun.
I was a different person on holiday. I could be whoever I wanted to be, and it allowed me to recreate myself. As far as these people knew I wasn’t in foster care, I’m with my dad and new stepmom.
On this holiday I was still exploring my fashion sense in terms of clothing. I had all different styles of clothing I wore on holiday from a bright red button-up shirt to purple chinos or trainers with my name embroidered on them. That one look I promise won’t happen again, but I have one outfit which I still bring out once a year and it is for partly Irony and all novelty. I still enjoy a truly awful Hawaiian shirt the goofier the better with short Cream chino shorts!
The final day of our holiday felt sad. To be honest I feel once you can’t use your own room the holiday is already over. I was incredibly upset, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t throw a strop leaving the hotel on the coach to the airport. However, my Carers took one look at me and reminded me to not ruin the week that we have all shared, which had been incredible, and I will never forget.
My first holiday was amazing, and I looked forward to each holiday in the years to follow, they were all different and special in their own way.
St Christopher’s is pleased to welcome recommendations from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People about how different groups can better support children in care with managing their money.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People launched this inquiry with a call for evidence, which St Christopher’s contributed to in January 2019. The strength of our expertise then secured us an invitation to the next stage of their inquiry, where Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley met with MPs in March 2019 to share more detail about our experiences and recommendations for how we can better equip young people to manage their finances.
The report outlines 22 key recommendations for schools, foster carers, local authorities, government, charities and businesses. St Christopher’s is directly quoted in the report about the importance of where young people’s financial education comes from.
The APPG’s suggestions include making financial education a statutory part of the school curriculum, giving foster carers access to training, tools and resources, and providing government funding for people working with children in care and care leavers so that they are trained in financial education too. By recognising the roles that all these organisations and individuals can play in making financial education a success, we hope that there are more resources available for young people to make use of and more people supporting them to achieve.
The recommendations also outline how they want organisations to keep care leavers’ financial education central to their corporate social responsibility work and for banks to make sure it is easy for children in care to set up and access a bank account. At St Christopher’s we put children at the heart of all we do, so we are delighted to see this approach being recommended for other organisations too.
Whilst we support these suggestions and the introduction of a minimum standard, much more can still be done to ensure care leavers have the right support around them to help them succeed in independence. Leaving care is a process, not a one off event, so we need to keep listening to what young people say about their needs and wishes. We hope that all care professionals do what they can to go beyond these recommendations to create the bright futures that our young people deserve.
We look forward to seeing how these recommendations are implemented over the coming months.
If you’re thinking of fostering, you’ll have likely heard the term ‘Panel’ used when agencies or local authorities describe their recruitment process to you. You’ll have an understanding that members of a Panel will make recommendations on your suitability to foster. But how does this work, and what else are Fostering Panels responsible for?
Fostering agencies and services across the UK will establish Panels for several reasons. Team Fostering have established Panels in each region to carry out a range of functions, including;
Subsequently, the role of the Panel is extremely important to the agency and not confined to one sole purpose. Panel members need to take on the above in Panel Meetings and therefore must be able to act fairly and impartially. So, how does the agency appoint an appropriate, balanced Panel?
Team Fostering aims to ensure its Panel members represent the diversity of the community, and as individuals and a group have expertise and experience necessary to make appropriate decisions. Each Panel will comprise of an Independent Chairperson or Vice Chair with experience of fostering and childcare social work at practitioner and management level, a Team Fostering Manager who will attend as the Agency Advisor, a Team Fostering social worker with at least 3 years post-qualifying experience and Independent Panel Members. Independent Panel Members are those that can offer a range of insight and expertise into making recommendations and will likely include a Medical Advisor, a qualified solicitor, someone with recent experience of fostering children, someone with personal experience of being fostered and/or someone with professional experience in educational matters. A dedicated minute-taker will be present in all Panel Meetings to make a written record of Panel discussion, recommendations and reasons for recommendations. This is shared with the agency’s appointed Agency Decision Maker who will make decisions and qualifying determinations after considering the information presented.
We ensure all Panel Members are subject to DBS and other statutory checks and follow a thorough recruitment process when looking for new members. Our Panel Members attend regular training and workshops to continually integrate their expertise with an understanding of Team Fostering as a not-for-profit agency, and we seek regular feedback form foster carers who have attended Panel to ensure that our values and behaviours are reflected in all meetings.
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit, independent fostering agency that operates across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. Our ethical values and our not-for-profit status means that rather than pay shareholders we have the ability to reinvest more funds into the service we offer to foster carers, children and young people. This means that foster carers at the agency are supported with competitive weekly fees, comprehensive support services across the board and innovative training and development opportunities.
To learn more about fostering with Team Fostering, regardless of previous experience, contact us:
Make an online enquiry by clicking here
Call us on 0800 292 2003
In March, we published Language That Cares, a collaborative effort led by TACT that aims to change the language of the care system. We sat down with young people in care and listened to what they had to say about the language that is used day to day with them and about them and how it makes them feel. TACT Senior research and policy adviser Sara Ortiz reflects on what we have learnt from this experience and advises professionals on how to take a more compassionate and inclusive approach to communication.
Read her article in Children & Young People Now here
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