Christmas can be difficult time for young people who have left care. They may not be able to be with their family, and face being completely on their own on Christmas Day. But St Christopher’s staff go above and beyond to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Last year, 16 year old Ella had just moved into her own flat. It was scary for her to have to look after herself suddenly – paying bills, cooking all her own meals and living like an adult, even though she was still very young. Though Ella really wanted some safety and security, she didn’t have a strong relationship with her adoptive parents and didn’t feel comfortable staying with them for Christmas.
She called her children’s home to tell them that she was worried she would be on her own on Christmas Day. Without a second thought, the staff invited Ella to come and spend Christmas with them. They arranged for a taxi to pick her up and drop her back, and Ella spent a happy, cosy day at her children’s home which they’d decorated with a Santa’s Grotto theme.
You can help a child like Ella feel loved on Christmas Day. Your donation to our Christmas Appeal could help pay for a taxi or train ride home, and make sure that there’s a present waiting for them under the tree.
Today St Christopher’s Fellowship announced our Christmas Appeal 2018. No child should feel lonely at Christmas, and with your help we can make Christmas special for children in care and young care leavers.
For many of the children and young people we care for, Christmas can be a lonely time. The time of year when others are happy and spending the day with family can be very difficult for our children. And for young people who have left care or are homeless, they can find themselves on their own with no family to be with – just like Ella, who was worried about spending Christmas alone.
You can help make sure none of our children and young people feel lonely at Christmas.
As part of our strategy for the next five years, St Christopher’s has committed to lifelong learning and thriving for all the children and young people we support. One of the aims of this is to collaborate with young people to make their journeys to independence easier. By fundraising so that young people can spend Christmas where they want, with the people they feel closest to, we are making this aim become reality.
Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive of St Christopher’s, said: “Many of us take it for granted that we can be with our families on Christmas Day, but sadly this often isn’t the case for young care leavers. So we want to make sure our young people are welcome at their children’s home and don’t have to spend Christmas alone.
“Every donation to our Christmas Appeal will make a difference, and help us to make sure our young people feel safe, happy and loved – not just at Christmas, but every day.”
How you can help
Thank you to all of St Christopher’s supporters.
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.
We've put together 50 stories for 50 years!
On Wednesday 28th November, Break celebreates 50 years of changing young lives. We've put together 50 stories of young people and families who have come though Break's doors.
We hope that you enjoy reading and discovering more about Break and the young people we've supported over the past 50 years.
From supporting children from Chernobyl in Ukraine, who came for a health-restoring break in Sheringham in the 1990s to stories from parents who have enjoyed a welcoming break from the 24/7 demands of caring for a child with complex needs.
All of these are true stories and many of them are in the contributors' own words. Some names have been changed to protect our young people's identities.
Member News: A positive move for fostering in the East Midlands with the opening of Team Fostering's new South Normanton Office
Team Fostering reaches out for foster carers with the opening of new South Normanton office.
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit fostering agency, established in 2001 and operating across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East.
Due to continued success across the East Midlands the agency will be opening a new local office in South Normanton this December. Moving from a previous site just west of Papplewick, the new base will provide a more accessible office for foster carers to attend in-house training and support groups which will continue to take place regularly in South Normanton.
More foster carers are needed across the region and Team Fostering’s new office will provide a fantastic location for those considering the role, with the opportunity to join an agency that has a strong reputation for comprehensive support, innovative training and competitive benefits.
Kathleen Walley, Assistant Director at Team Fostering, said ‘I am really excited about our move to South Normanton. Purchasing this office is a sign of our ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of children and young people in the East Midlands area, while providing a high quality space for foster carers. The building includes a large training room and a room that we will be using as a young person’s room for activities and individual work. There’s also a specially designed kitchen to encourage young people to come together to make and share meals as part of developing their skills.
‘A dedicated team of social workers in the region will continue to support foster carers from this new base. We’re looking forward to recruiting more foster carers locally who believe they have the skills and experience to work with us in Putting Children’s Futures First.’
This is an extremely positive move not only for the agency but for the fostering industry across the East Midlands. The agency already employs a number of foster carers in the region and this is a perfect opportunity for the recruitment of new foster carers as well as for existing carers locally who are thinking about joining a new agency.
Fostering is a challenging but rewarding role, and Team Fostering is an agency known for its commitment to providing foster carers with the tools and skills to flourish, truly making a difference to the lives of children and young people.
If you live in the East Midlands and would like to become a foster carer for a not-for-profit agency with an outstanding reputation for putting children's futures first, contact us to learn more about the salary, training and support we offer.
You can contact us in the following ways:
Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
Send an online enquiry by clicking here
Email us via email@example.com
Team Fostering's North East team have are delighted to announce that they received Outstanding in their latest Ofsted inspection, which took place in October 2018.
This means that the team have received Outstanding by Ofsted for over 11 years now, since the current grading began!
The report is available on our website and features some wonderful feedback from children and young people, foster carers and staff. We are immensely proud of the work that is carried out across all of our offices, and delighted that Ofsted were able to witness the efforts of the agency first-hand.
Team Fostering is committed to making a difference to the lives of children and young people, with ethical values and a strong mission statement of 'Putting Children's Futures First.'
Well done to our team!
You can view the report here: Ofsted Report 2018 (North East)
If you're interested in fostering with our Outstanding agency, or learning more about the role, you can do so in the following ways:
Call us on 0800 292 2003
Send us an Online Enquiry here
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel supports young people as they leave residential care
On Tuesday 13th November, Break's Project Implementation Manager, Rachel Leslie tells her story and shares her views on the challenges young people face as they leave residential care at just 18.
"I wonder what it is like not knowing where you will live when you turn 18; not knowing what is in front of you, your future and where you are going, whether the people who stand next to you and make you feel safe will disappear from your lives because you’ve got to move on. When I left home at a similar age it felt so different; it was so supported and safe. Tonight I will be tucking into home-cooked food with my Mum and Dad, sleeping in my old room that I left when I was 18; that’s 24 years ago."
Head over and take a look at the full article with the Social Care Institute for Excellence now.
Member News: TACT - Peterborough care leaver hopes to help fellow foster children after finding work with charity
A Peterborough care leaver hopes to help fellow foster children after finding work with a charity which supported her through childhood. Mum Laura (20) is working with The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) which runs Peterborough City Council’s new Permanency Service, which includes fostering and adoption. Here in this first person piece, she explains how her life has been transformed: I am 20 years old and I live in Peterborough. I went into care, along with my older sisters, shortly after I was born due to fact that our mother and father both had drug and alcohol problems and neglected us.
I don’t have any real memory of my first foster placement as I was so young, but at 10 months old I was adopted by a couple, who, when I was two, split up, and I remained with my adoptive mother. Unfortunately, our relationship started to break down because she was alcohol dependent and abusive, and that, coupled with discovering that I was pregnant with my daughter Naomi, led me to going back into care when I was 16. When I returned to care I was referred to TACT. The plan was for me to go into a mother and baby placement, so I could be assessed for my parenting skills and then move on to independent living. However, my first two mother and baby placements broke down, and at first I thought it was the fault of the carers, but I realise now it was because I just didn’t want to have an assessment to prove I’m a good mum.
My social worker and independent reviewing officer realised the root of the problem and they arranged for me to return to my favourite TACT foster carers Kris and Dave, without having to be subjected to a parenting assessment. I loved it at Kris and Dave’s. I felt part of the family, they looked after me and supported me. I remember Kris threw me a little baby shower and I was so overwhelmed I cried. I used to love the little things like sitting and watching TV dramas with Kris and we’d talk loads, or when Dave would make me belly laugh. My daughter Naomi used to find Dave’s silly faces funny too. In the summer they took me and my foster sister to loads of places like London and Hunstanton. They always treated us well and made us laugh and comforted us when we needed to be, and we had the best meals! Going into care in my teens was at times stressful and emotional, but overall it was actually a positive experience. It gave me a voice for the first time. I felt valued and respected - what I had to say mattered.
Instead of my life being in the professionals’ hands it was in mine and they helped me along the way. I was taught how to manage my money and budget and I was given advice about education and my options as well as how to deal with my relationships.
Through TACT I was also given therapy to help me deal with the past which was amazing and super helpful. Eventually, at the age of 17, I was ready to move on to independent living with my daughter Naomi. Leaving Kris and Dave was stressful, but I think moving out of a family home always is. I got my flat very quickly and I loved it, my TACT social workers came with me to view it and sign the contract, and Kris and Dave helped me move in and set up my bills. I was given a grant to furnish my flat which made me feel spoilt, and once I had moved in I felt very grown up. Suddenly I had it all, which I never imagined would be possible when I was living with my adoptive mother. After I moved out I went back to college where I studied health and social care level 3, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to help people like me.
One day my personal adviser, Frank, told me about an apprenticeship run by the Rank Foundation group which provides young people with the opportunity to work in a field of their choice and get involved in the community. So I applied, travelled to London for an interview, and very soon after I discovered I was successful. It all happened so fast. And having decided I wanted to use the apprenticeship to work with children in care, TACT Peterborough took me on as an assistant children’s resource worker. I am so excited about the opportunity, and I’m hoping to work with children and young people living in foster care, social workers and foster carers with anything I possibly can, such as speaking on behalf of the person at child care reviews or other appointments and working as an advocate. I am in a good place in my life right now, and I can attribute a lot of that to the opportunities, support, love and stability that I received whilst in foster care. I want to say to Kris and Dave, and indeed all foster carers, keep doing what you’re doing, which isn’t easy so hats off to you guys, and thank you for giving children and young people better futures.
Barnardo's is pleased to hear the announcement in the Budget from Chancellor Philip Hammond that £84m will be invested over five years to expand programmes for children in care.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:
"Children’s services are reaching breaking point, so we welcome this much needed cash injection in today’s Budget.
But children and families desperately need support much earlier – to prevent them going into the care system.
We are working with government, local authorities and others to develop long-term strategic partnerships around the country, co-designing and co-delivering services, so that young people get the help they need when they need it."
Did you know that as foster carer, you can foster both a parent and their children? It’s called PACT (Parents And Children Together), and there is a great need for PACT trained foster carers. Jane, one of FCC’s Supervising Social Workers and PACT trainer, explains why.
As a Supervising Social Worker for FCC I have supported many foster carers providing a variety of placements.
Recently, we have provided an increased number of Parent and Child placements. This is where a parent is placed alongside their child in the foster home. This can be one or two parents and a baby or a child. We have also had a mother and two children placed with us. This type of fostering is very different to the usual placement of a child or young person in the family home but is as equally rewarding.
Often these placements have been requested by the court where there have been concerns about the mother’s ability to parent and are usually requested for a 12 week assessment period, but due to circumstances this can vary.
Issues that we have dealt with include concerns around a parent’s previous drug or alcohol use, learning disabilities or inappropriate partners. Maybe the parent has previously had a child removed from their care. Having a parent live in the foster home gives them a chance to learn new skills and build their confidence to enable them to parent their child adequately.
Carers assist them with learning routines with regards to feeding, laundry, play and sleep times etc. Parents are involved in all aspects of family life with the carers acting as appropriate role models. Parents have been supported to attend local baby groups, visit the clinic and doctors etc. They have taken part in family activities to include meals out, cinema and barbeques. The carers need good observation and recording skills. They need good communication skills as they will need to build a relationship with the parent but also remain clear that they have to report back to the Social Worker on a regular basis.
We have seen children return with their parents to live in the community successfully with some keeping in contact with their carers afterwards. Sometimes this is not possible and the child’s needs have to remain the most important throughout. If the plan is for the child to live elsewhere the foster carers have an important role in supporting them to transition to a new family. Myself and an experienced PACT carer provide training and support specific to this role. PACT carers will have regular Social Work visits and 24 hour phone support. They will also have peer support from other PACT carers. It can be hard work but also very rewarding knowing that you have been part of a team making the best decision for a child.
Paula, one of our most experienced PACT carers, said: “The thing I enjoy about PACT placements is that I’m not the babysitter. It’s my job to encourage the parent to be a good mum or dad and it’s rewarding watching them learn new skills.”
If you feel that you could become a PACT foster carer, or if you have an interest in fostering generally, you can make an initial enquire here.
News & Jobs
News stories and job vacancies from our member agencies, the fostering sector and the world of child protection and safeguarding as a whole.
Browse News Archives