Barnardo's foster carers are sharing their inspiring stories during the charity's Fostering Week
Since Barnardo’s first fostering campaign ten years ago, the charity has found loving foster families to care for vulnerable children more than 8,200 times.
Tony Foulkes and his wife Cathie, have welcomed five children into their homes over the last nine years. For Cathie and Tony fostering proved to be life changing both for the children they have fostered and for themselves. They currently care for two children.
Tony said: “We love it. Tony said: “They are a lovely and they keep us on our toes. We have so much fun with them. I would definitely recommend fostering to others. There is support there for you and you know you are doing something good.”
Cathie, who works part-time for a local hospice, said: “All children are challenging but as long as you set up routines and stick to them the children respond. We constantly reassure them that they can talk to us about anything, we are there for them. When they leave us but still take the time to visit or phone us to tell us they love us, that’s the reward – and they keep us young!”
Since Barnardo’s first fostering campaign ten years ago, the charity has found loving foster families to care for vulnerable children more than 8,200 times. Over the decade, the number of children in care in England has risen by 27 per cent.
Without more foster carers Barnardo’s could struggle to find the right carers to look after children.
This is why the charity is appealing to people to find out about how they can become foster carers and help change a child’s live.
Foster carers need to live in the right location and be available when a vulnerable child needs a loving family and have the right training and skills.
This could be particularly difficult for those children who are disabled, have siblings, are older, or from a religious or minority ethnic background. It is important for their needs to be met and for any child to be given the opportunity to continue their religious or cultural beliefs with foster carers who are able to support this.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “Every child deserves a safe and happy childhood. We urgently need more foster carers to ensure that children in care have just this.
“We know that being a foster carer can be challenging, but we also know how incredibly rewarding it is and have seen first-hand the positive difference it can make to a child’s life.
“Barnardo’s is with carers every step of the way providing training and support throughout the whole fostering journey, from the first enquiry, through the approval process, to when carers meet their first foster child and beyond.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer or the support Barnardo’s can offer visit: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what-we-do/fostering-and-adoption or call 0800 0277 280.
Team Fostering is an agency that prides itself on promoting diversity and operating with zero-tolerance towards discrimination.
We sometimes hear from LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who mistakenly believe that their sexuality will prevent them from becoming foster carers. At Team Fostering we have many LGBTQ+ fostering families, some who foster as single carers and some who foster as couples.
This September we're promoting Team Fostering as 'An agency to call Home' and are celebrating the diversity of our foster carers, staff and children. We have recently renewed our agency membership to New Family Social, the UK’s leading charity for promoting LGBTQ+ fostering and adoption. As an agency member our foster carers are entitled to free individual memberships to the service which offers a national support network for carers and adopters. Many of our foster carers find this extremely helpful with access to a platform to share experiences, speak with other LGBTQ+ foster carers and access a range of resources for fostering.
There are certain criteria all of our foster carers, regardless of sexuality or gender, need to meet. For example, foster carers need to be over 21, be able to drive and have a spare bedroom that could be used for a child or young person. For further information and to check if you meet this basic criteria, you can do so by clicking here.
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency that operates across Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the North East. We are proud to support LGBTQ+ fostering and welcome enquiries from a diverse range of families.
To learn more about fostering with Team Fostering or discuss any eligibility concerns you have, call us on 0800 292 2003, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online enquiry form to request a callback.
Our Essex and Hereford offices recently celebrated their 4th and 2nd birthdays so we held a joint Birthday Party today!
Our foster carers, young people and staff teams travelled on coaches to Scout Adventures in Youlbury, Oxfordshire. Once there, we enjoyed a day of different activities.
In the morning we built a campfire and toasted marshmallows and played ball games. We also blew giant bubbles and completed a nature quiz. After that we enjoyed a BBQ lunch. In the afternoon we played Woggleopoloy, a team game suitable for all ages involving nature challenges in the woods.
The day closed with our Founders, Gary and Davina, thanking everyone for making the event a huge success. As everyone gathered round to enjoy the birthday cake, the young people burst into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday!
Davina said afterwards that it was lovely to see the foster families and children from both offices meeting up and getting to know each other. She said the day really encompassed Young People at Heart’s family ethos.
Happy Birthday Young People at Heart!
The Local Government Association says severe funding shortages and huge demand pressures mean councils were forced to overspend on their children’s social care budgets by nearly £800 million last year in order to try and keep children safe.
Barnardo's says the Government must address the crisis in children's social care.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“We have long warned about a ‘perfect storm’ in children’s social care, with more youngsters needing help to cope with increasingly complex challenges, while councils are struggling to find the money they need to help the most vulnerable families.
"Today’s alarming analysis by the Local Government Association shows the lengths councils are having to go to in order to be able to provide the help families need.
“The Government must urgently address the funding challenges councils face, so all children can get help early in every community.
“But it’s not simply a question of money. The system must change too. This is why we are taking a radical new approach to delivery - working with national and local partners to co-design and deliver services, investing our own resource, and focusing on how we can change children’s lives, and the system around them, for the better.”
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.
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