Location: Great Moor, Stockport
Salary: £16,879 - £19,867
Hours per Week: 37.5
At Together Trust we believe everybody deserves an equal chance in life. There are no exceptions. We provide a wide range of support services including fostering, residential, community and family support. We also provide specialist educational support through our schools and colleges.
We follow a robust safer recruitment process and all successful applicants will go through recruitment checks. If you’re successful we’ll need you to have an enhanced DBS check. For all roles we’ll also need a minimum of three references. Depending on the role you apply for, we might also need to request references from each employer where you have worked with young people or vulnerable adults.
We’ll also need to know about any breaks in your employment history with evidence from documents like birth certificates or passports. If you’re successful and have worked outside the UK for any longer than three months in the last five years, we’d also need to complete a foreign DBS or code of conduct check.
Our supported tenancies in Stockport provide home living and community access support to vulnerable young adults who have a learning disability or autism. The aim of the service is to enable adults to live in their own home rather than residential homes where our staffing teams provide extensive care, specialist positive behaviour support and promote independence and inclusion within the local community. Through interest lead activities and support you will empower the young adults to take control of their own lives.
As our Specialist Community Support Worker…
You will provide practical and emotional support to the young adults in our care, giving them the confidence they need to be as independent as possible. You will offer assistance and guidance in all aspects of daily living, encourage and accompany them in activities and interests and ensure they are safeguarded at all times. You will take direction from your team leader, participate in team meetings and will help to ensure the young people we support have the best opportunities to access the local community, further education and any other interests.
Experience is preferable but is not essential – what’s more important is the desire for a challenging and rewarding role and a genuine interest in developing your skills through the training that we offer. As the team offer 24/7 support, you will need to be flexible and willing to work shifts (to include earlies and lates) over a 7 day week. You must be committed to providing exceptional support and care to those who access our services.
Full details and application documents here
St Christopher’s is delighted to release their Impact Report 2020 as part of their 150th birthday celebrations, which has been co-produced with young people accessing their services.
This report commends young people’s achievements from over the last year, examines new services that have been developed in line with what young people need, and shares the ways in which staff and foster carers create brighter futures.
It also includes interviews with people who used to live in St Christopher’s services, where they have shared the difference that the charity has made to their lives.
he brochure has been co-produced with young people, showing St Christopher’s commitment to listening and acting on their views. It begins with an introduction from a St Christopher’s young person about their experiences and the impact services had on their lives. Other young people from the UK and the Isle of Man interviewed Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley and Chairs Bert O’Donoghue and Jane Poole-Wilson, grilling them about future plans for St Christopher’s. Finally, young people looked over the whole report to give feedback before it was printed.
The Impact Report is available to read now. You can keep up with the rest of St Christopher’s 150th birthday activities on social media using #StChris150.
In 2020 St Christopher’s Fellowship is celebrating 150 years of creating brighter futures for children and young people. We are inviting people to become part of our legacy by supporting our work over the coming year.
Our charity started out as Homes for Working Boys in 1870, set up by three school friends to aid boys and young men who moved to London for work but struggled to support themselves. We merged with the Fellowship of St Christopher’s in 1967 with a renewed focus on providing safe homes for young people who could not live with their own families or were homeless.
Today, St Christopher’s is a provider of services and homes for children and young people in care. We offer children’s homes, supported housing, foster homes and specialist outreach services for young people who are often overlooked by statutory help.
Our approach to working with young people focuses on bringing out their “inner diamond”. By helping young people to recognise their own talents, value and potential, we can build their self-confidence and support them to lead happy, successful lives, regardless of what has happened to them in the past.
Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley said: “Over the last 150 years St Christopher’s has changed thousands of lives. We want to continue this vital work, but we need support from the community to do it. Anything that the public can offer to support our mission is gratefully received.”
To support St Christopher’s or find out more about our work, click here
TACT is delighted to be associated with ‘The Arrival’, the story of two siblings separated by adoption by Olivier Award-winning theatre director Bijan Sheibani. The Arrival is currently running at the Bush Theatre until January 18th.
The play explores the real need to keep siblings together when fostering or adoption is taking place, and the life-long detrimental effects that can happen when siblings are kept apart.
The play has received very positive reviews, including from TACT members of staff and young people. A TACT social worker described it as “beautiful and incredibly moving” while a TACT care-experienced person said “it does a fantastic job capturing the difficult emotions experienced by many in the care system”.
TACT is fully aware of the damage that can be caused when siblings are separated.
TACT CEO, Andy Elvin said: ‘TACT knows the importance of siblings remaining together when they go into care, because that is what they tell us they want. However, there may be occasions when siblings cannot be all placed together due to concerns of behaviour or risk, or simply because of the lack of available foster families. Fostering sibling groups can sometimes be challenging and demanding, but it is also extremely rewarding. TACT is constantly looking for more foster carers who want to give brothers and sisters a stable family home, particularly those who can care for the larger sibling groups.’
Research shows that maintaining sibling relationships for those in care is associated with more stable placements, stronger developmental outcomes and better mental health and wellbeing. Conversely, separation often results in life-long issues around identity and attachment.
Despite this, sibling separation remains the norm. In 2009, 81% of children in care were separated from their siblings, 73% were separated in 2011 and 71% in 2014. The Victoria Derbyshire Show reported in 2018 that more than half of siblings were separated in 30 out of 50 councils. There are no official government figures about the number of separated siblings in the care system. This lack of recorded figures on the matter illustrates how this is an under-explored issue that needs more attention.
The primary problem is that there simply are not enough foster carers and adopters for sibling groups. The need for children to be placed in a foster family is often urgent, and there are limited number of homes with the available space to accommodate siblings.
The Arrival explores these long-term issues, starting with the joyful reunion between biological brothers Tom (Scott Karim) and Samad (Irfan Shamji). Despite Tom’s adoption and all the years spent apart, the two brothers are joined by an undeniable biological bond. But as they become closer and their lives entangle, the psychological effects of being separated begin to cast a dark shadow over their new-found bond.
A taut family drama about obsession, betrayal and the human need to belong, The Arrival is a world premiere written and directed by Olivier Award-winning theatre director Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles, The Brothers Size).
Written and Directed by Bijan Sheibani
Design – Samal Black
Lighting Design – Oliver Fenwick
Sound Design – Gareth Fry
Movement Director – Aline David
Cast – Scott Karim and Irfan Shamji
At Team Fostering our mission statement is simple; Putting Children's Futures First. This embodies our not-for-profit status that drives all decision-making with children at heart, and is embedded throughout the agency.
As an agency with ethical aims we continually seek ways to improve our service, whether that's through innovative support packages for carers, unique training opportunities or child-centred initiatives. In turn this supports foster carers to meet the needs of children and young people in their care.
To this end, in 2018 we partnered with John Sands, a clinical psychologist to form our own Psychological Support Service, a new service that offers foster carers further specialised support. John's work is underpinned by attachment and resilience theories that align with the therapeutic framework used by Team Fostering, The Secure Base Model.
The service initially launched as a 1-year pilot to run from 2018 to 2019 but, following an extremely positive response from foster carers, it was extended to continue into Summer 2020. The aim of the service is to provide support and information to carers and staff that will strengthen their ability to tailor care for individual children, providing them with an opportunity to recover from early traumatic experiences.
John continues to be available across four of Team Fostering's offices; North Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Sheffield and South Normanton; for one day each month. There are two elements to the service; workshops that are open to all carers and staff in the morning, followed by individual consultations over the afternoon. By adopting this model we hope to be able to support as many carers as possible, both to enhance their understanding of the impact of trauma on children and how to help them recover from their experiences, but also to have the opportunity to talk in detail about particular issues.
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency covering the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. If you're interested in becoming a foster carer, contact us to learn more about the role, support, training and salary by:
calling us on 0800 292 2003
submitting an online enquiry by clicking here
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.”
Member News: Barnardo's - Political leaders must solve social problems leaving children ‘scarred for life’
On the day of the next Election Debate, 140+ children’s organisations are calling on political leaders to set out their solutions to the social problems that can leave millions of children ‘scarred for life’, including child poverty, mental health, domestic abuse and serious youth violence.
In an open letter to all political parties, organisations including the National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, Barnardo’s, Action For Children and The Children’s Society, say children are being ‘crowded out’ of the discussion of the nation’s future, leaving their needs overlooked and their voices unheard.
As party leaders set out their visions for the future, the letter urges them to put children at the heart of this election, and take action to prioritise them in the next Parliament.
There are nearly 14 million children living in the UK, of whom over four million live in poverty. A child is taken into care every 15 minutes and one in eight 5 to 19-year-olds have at least one mental health condition. The charities say the services vulnerable children such as these rely on are facing a ‘funding crisis’ as the number needing help continues to rise. The Children’s Commissioner for England estimates it will require £10bn of investment to turn this situation around and support our children to thrive.
The organisations insist children should be put at the front of the queue for increased funding. The letter calls on political parties to focus on preventing crises in the first place by providing early support for children and families, to prevent their problems spiralling out of control and requiring more expensive services later.
On the day of the second televised Election Debate, children and young people are raising their voices along with children’s charities, using the hashtag #IfIWerePM to share their priorities for Government.
Geraint (aged 18), a member of the National Children’s Bureau’s Young NCB, said:
“I like the idea of votes at 16, but there needs to be more education about politics for young people (and everyone else!). We need to learn about the parties, how to vote, and the issues. If I were prime minster, I would push for greater political education.”
Bilkis (aged 20), a young trustee for The Children’s Society said:
“If we start to put money towards a child’s early development and learning, as well as funding for youth engagement services and clubs - I believe there will be less gang related violence and anti-social behaviour in the community. Instead young people will be learning life skills, having fun and feel inspired to give back to the community.”
Gabby (aged 17), a young supporter of Action for Children, said:
“There needs to be more of a focus on the things that affect us like mental health. It seems like Brexit is all that is talked about now and we weren’t allowed to vote on that even though it’s going to massively affect us. Our views aren’t taken into account at all. A lot of politicians don’t understand the pressure we face and think we should just get on with it.”
Louise (aged 17), a member of Barnardo’s South East and Anglia Region Our Voice Youth Forum, said:
“I’m really passionate about the mental health care in this country and how restrictive it is. It needs improving so that early intervention can happen. I understand from a different perspective because I’ve been one of those individuals in care of CAMHS, which finishes when you are 18. That’s a major crisis point for lots of individuals like me.”
Fostering is an amazing role and one that can be incredibly rewarding, but it is certainly not without challenging times. As a foster carer you look after children and young people in your home as part of your family, and while our foster carers describe the experience of watching them grow as incredible, some of these children have come from traumatic backgrounds that impact their emotional wellbeing, behaviour and development.
For many, Christmas is an exciting time as children and adults alike look forward to time with loved ones, festive cheer, gifts and celebrations. Sometimes fostering a child who hasn’t experienced this before can give you the opportunity to introduce them to the many festivities of Christmas day, which can be exciting and fulfilling. However, it can be a difficult time for those who may not understand why they aren’t at home with their parents or who are overwhelmed by a festive buzz that they aren’t used to, stirring up a range of emotions that might be challenging for you to manage.
Where possible, speak with the child’s social worker about what Christmas meant for them before coming into your care. Was it celebrated at all? Were there religious elements to their Christmas? What about their experiences with gifts, Christmas food or other traditions? This isn’t to say that you’ll match their past experiences bit by bit, as there will be many whose previous neglect at Christmas (and throughout the year) will shock you, but it is useful to understand how different your own traditions may be, so that you can prepare to accommodate them and welcome them without overwhelming them.
Over the festive period you’re likely to have more guests in the home than usual or be out and about at the homes of friends and family. It might be worth, if possible and where you haven’t already, introducing the child or young person you’re looking after to many of these people ahead of festivities so that they aren’t overwhelmed with lots of new introductions in a short amount of time or in a small and busy space. Team Fostering’s foster carers also advise remembering to be patient and understanding. Recognise that when things don’t go to plan it’s not yours or the child’s fault, but a result of a lot of emotional challenges and past experiences that are often heightened at this time of year. Remember your support network, your fellow foster carers, supervising social worker and friends, and remember that you are entitled to support from your agency at any time of the year, day and night.
At Team Fostering our 24/7 support service runs throughout Christmas and the New Year so that foster carers are never without a local support worker to contact for help and guidance. Over December we host Christmas events that allow children and young people to celebrate with others in care and with similar backgrounds, where last year a child commented ‘the best part of today was knowing I was around people that were like me’.
We wish everyone the best over the festive season and look forward to spending some time with foster carers and young people.
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency that recruits and trains foster carers across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. If you're interested in fostering we're here to answer any questions you have about the pay, support and training you will be given by us.
Reach us by:
calling 0800 292 2003
submitting an online enquiry by clicking here
Member News: Action for Children - Thirty years later, is it time to revisit the guiding principles of the Children Act?
Thirty years ago this month a critical piece of legislation received Royal Assent. The Children Act 1989 changed our approach to the way children in the UK are cared for and protected by making the welfare of the child paramount.
Children’s views and wishes must now be taken into account in any decision. Fundamentally, the Act viewed that children are best cared for in their own families, but it also put in place a system to protect children when at risk of harm. At the time, this marked a significant change of approach: children as simply needing protection, to individuals with their own rights.
This was a change that Action for Children welcomed. We provide many early help services supporting families to build healthy relationships and individual resilience, and we see the difference that this type of support can make in preventing issues from becoming more serious.
But while we should celebrate the achievements of the Act, we should also acknowledge that we have much further to go to fully realise the Act’s vision. Legislation is always implemented in a context; the context of the last decade has made achieving the original aims of the Act particularly challenging.
Under section 17, the Act states that local authorities should promote the welfare of any children whose development is at risk. This recognised in law the importance of services that support children, young people and families to promote long term wellbeing.
Over the last decade, available funding for local authority children’s services in England has decreased by £3 billion (29 per cent). Demand for children’s social care has increased, with significantly more children now on child protection plans and being taken into care. Intense pressures on local authorities have inevitably led them to prioritise more intensive statutory services, with early help support bearing the brunt of cuts. Social workers have said that their decisions are now being influenced by the lack of resources, meaning that some cases that would have previously received support under section 17 are less likely to.
This means that thirty years on, a key intention of the Children Act, to promote the welfare of children when there are early signs of a problem and to support families to help keep them together, is still not a reality. In effect, we are rationing the help we give some of our most vulnerable children.
Our ‘Revolving Door’ reports found that as many as 36,000 children who were referred to children’s social care in 2013/14 and did not receive it, were then referred again the following year. 23,000 were then found to be in need, suggesting early opportunities to provide help were missed. We also found that only one in four children who were assessed by social services as ‘no further action’ in 2015/16 were referred onto early help, leaving 140,000 without support. Without early help, problems go unresolved, and vulnerable children are left to suffer until crisis point is reached.
Thirty years on, we are therefore calling on the government to revisit the guiding principles of the Children Act and to re-balance the focus of policy around early intervention and prevention. To make the Act’s vision a reality, the next government must ensure local authorities have the resources to invest in high quality, evidence based early help. They must also introduce a statutory duty on local partners to provide early help, to ensure all children, young people and families get the timely support they need.
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.”
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