By Steve Elliff, Education and Support Service Manager
"Where did September go? Now we’re fully embraced in Autumnal weather and darker evenings, we’ve been reflecting on the many good times we’ve had this summer at Team Fostering, looking a little closer at the importance of year-round opportunities on offer to fostering families, children and young people.
At Team Fostering we have a dedicated ‘Education and Support Service’ that offers education-led support alongside activities, trips and holidays. The package provided embraces the fact that learning doesn’t end in the classroom, with personal and social development key areas that help young people succeed in life.
In fact, our annual caravan holiday couldn’t be any further away from a day in a classroom, instead offering a fun and active week for children to play, explore, learn and develop. This year, our Yorkshire and East Midlands region spent a week in Filey, on a holiday jam-packed with activities and events. This ranged from night-time walks and surfing lessons at Clayton Bay through to a ‘Team Day’, rounders and a picnic at Sewerby Hall. Planning a holiday for 150 people (foster carers, family members, children and staff) takes quite some time, but is so valuable to the agency as we watch young people make new friends and try new things, building their confidence and developing their independence. The holiday embraces everything about our mission statement; ‘Putting Children’s Futures First’.
The annual holiday begins with a meet and greet for children, foster carers and staff to get to know one another, with children quickly making friends and families subsequently flurrying to book onto activities together to allow these friendships to develop. A small staff group attend, who are on call to keep things running smoothly and offer support. Team Fostering, as a child-focused organisation, encourages staff to bring their own family on the holiday, and this further helps in bringing everyone closer together.
This year’s holiday felt extra-special. While we always receive very positive feedback from all attendees, this year we were pleased to hear that new carers found the holiday formed an important part of their induction year. Coming along to spend time together had enabled them to meet other carers that they can now approach for support and advice. This is fantastic, as we understand some newly approved foster carers can feel anxious about ‘fitting in’. Several carers whose children and young people became friends during the holiday have taken the opportunity to arrange future meet-ups so that their children can spend time with their new friends, and that is incredible.
We’re very lucky to work alongside such fantastic foster carers, who together with their families and support networks look after incredible children and young people. Thank you to all who attended our Filey holiday, and… roll on next year!"
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 email@example.com or use our online enquiry form to request a callback.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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
Over the summer holidays we'll be sharing staff profiles, foster carer videos and children's stories as part of our 'Meet Team Fostering' initiative.
This week, we speak to Training Officer Jill about her role at the agency...
What is your role and how long have you worked at Team Fostering?
My name is Jill Mitchell. I’m the Training Officer at Team Fostering and I’ve worked at the agency for almost 3 years, based in the North East.
What does a Training Officer at Team Fostering do?
I work part-time and term-time, so I have a lot to squeeze in! My role includes many functions including the researching, planning and facilitating of internal training courses for our foster carers. I work alongside carers and other staff members to develop and review training courses to make sure that the content remains up-to-date and relevant to the foster carer role. At times the agency offers 1:1 training sessions, if a foster carer were to have a need for specialist advice, and I deliver some of these sessions across the North East.
Some more behind the scenes roles include the production of resources for carers to use at home or provide to the children and young people they are looking after, for example visual timetables to promote healthy routines. I research and source external training facilitators who can bring expert advice to the agency and analyse carer feedback forms. I plan training calendars and work with other team members to monitor each foster carer’s training requirements to ensure that they are up-to-date, particularly with their accredited training.
What part of your job do you most enjoy?
I love delivering the training that carers have been involved in planning or are co-facilitating! There’s something about being in a room with exceptional people who support each other and share their experiences as a way for others to learn and feel a sense of belonging. Being a foster carer can be quite isolating at times and training is way of bringing everyone together to share skills, knowledge and experience.
Why Team Fostering?
I’m proud to be part of a not-for-profit agency where children are at the centre of everything we do. That’s really important to me.
When you’re not at work, what are you likely to be doing?
I have two amazing children who are 4 and 10. They are the centre of everything I do! Although they sometimes have competition from my best pal, Ralph the black Labrador. I spend a great deal of time at the beach, whatever the weather. I love spending time in Scotland and try to get there as often as I can.
By Barbara, a Team Fostering foster carer
"Fostering is very different to anything I've ever done before.
It’s something that I considered from time to time, but I found it hard to leave behind my career in customer service to embark on something so different, that I hadn’t done before! In the end I was made redundant from my role, so took the opportunity to go for it and take the first steps to becoming a foster carer.
I always thought I needed to have some kind of training or particular experience to be considered for fostering by an agency, but actually the agency provides training before you take on the role, and Team Fostering immediately give me contact details for fellow carers who welcomed me into their support network and shared their stories with me. The people who knew me well kept telling me I would be a great foster carer, but I still worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it or that I might be making a mistake. I couldn’t have been more wrong! As soon as the first young person came to live with us I immediately enjoyed the challenges and the rewards of spending time with her, helping her and playing with her; just getting to know her.
The role has enabled me to enjoy spending more time with my family, with young people that come to live with us becoming part of the family. I understand now how important it is to have a good support network around you so that you can still have time for yourself, as fostering is a 24/7 job.
During my time at Team Fostering I have met some of the nicest people ever. It is a pleasure to work with fellow foster carers and the staff team. The staff are very supportive, knowledgeable and available when you need them, and there are no words to describe how amazing the other carers are. The training is fantastic and in some ways I wish I had some of the knowledge I do now when I was raising my own children!"
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency that recruits, trains and supports foster carers across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. If you've been thinking about fostering, you can contact us for an informal chat by:
Member News: Team Fostering - How are social work caseloads established to meet the needs of foster carers?
By Patsy Wainwright, Team Manager
At Team Fostering, foster carers are allocated a designated supervising social worker once they have been approved at the agency. We will not change a carer’s social worker unless necessary, to ensure consistency and to allow the fostering family and the staff member to build a relationship and strong level of familiarity.
As an agency team we want all carers to feel that their social worker has time to support them and the children that they are looking after. The Team Managers carefully monitor how many families are allocated to each worker to make sure that caseloads do not increase to a point where support and availability offered to each family is hindered. We have systems that allow us to balance workloads between staff. As each new carer is approved we consider which office is most local to them to ensure their designated social worker is close by, and then we look at which social workers have capacity for a new family. If all members of the team are supervising the maximum number of fostering households for providing thorough support, the agency considers whether additional hours or staff are needed.
This is incredibly important to Team Fostering as we pride ourselves on our provision of direct, comprehensive support that is delivered by staff who know the families that they supervise well. In turn, this increases the stability and level of support provided to the children and young people in their care by increasing their own support and satisfaction levels. It means that if our carers are struggling, they can contact their worker and know that their issue will be dealt with promptly and professionally, in a timely but calm manner.
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit, independent fostering agency with offices across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands and a mission statement of ‘Putting Children’s Futures First’. We pride ourselves on offering comprehensive support, innovative training and competitive allowances, all strengthened by our not-for-profit status that allows us to invest surplus funds into the services provided.
If you’d like to speak with us about becoming a foster carer, you can reach us:
By calling 0800 292 2003
Via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By submitting an online enquiry form here
By Steve Elliff, Education and Support Service Manager (Yorkshire and East Midlands)
'We all know that many young people in care face barriers to succeeding in education. Indeed, this is why we have an Education and Support Service at Team Fostering. In addition to supporting young people with their education whilst they are with Team Fostering, we also encourage them to think about what their education might look like once they have left care.
In 2013, only 6% of care leavers in England accessed higher education, compared to approximately 40% of the general population.
We know that leaving care is a big change for any young person to overcome, and this life event often falls at the same time that young people are thinking about, or planning to go to, university. University is not the right pathway for everyone, but I would challenge every foster carer to at least sow the seed with their young person, as it could be something that is right for them, whether they embark on the journey now or later in life.
Some obvious barriers that limit the chance of going to university include failing exams, dropping out of college or leaving with lower grades than expected, but I've met care leavers who've gone to university who overcame these very situations. For example, some re-sat exams or completed Access to Higher Education courses, while others have completed voluntary work or other placements that have given them a different entry route.
The following support is also available:
News & Jobs
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