When you’re considering becoming a foster carer there are some standard eligibility criteria that we, as an independent agency, need to ensure you meet. For example, we need our foster carers to have a spare room that could be used as a bedroom for a child, and be able to drive with access to a car for attending training and taking children to and from school.
However, there are still some myths that people believe when it comes to fostering and eligibility, and recently we’ve been hearing from people who thought that being single meant they were unable to be considered as a foster carer. At Team Fostering, all of our fostering families are completely different! Some are married or unmarried couples, single male or female carers, some with adult children living at home and some who’ve never had children. Being single certainly does not impact your ability to provide a loving and stable home for a child who needs it.
If you are thinking about fostering as a single carer, we would encourage you to think about the support network that you have around you. Do you have close friends or family who could offer you support in challenging times? We have many foster carers who are single and the agency provides a great support package for all of our carers. If you enquire about fostering, we will work with you to consider who in your life might offer that support, whether practical or emotional.
Once you become a foster carer you will be allocated a dedicated Supervising Social Worker, who will visit you fortnightly for the first year, and then review the frequency with you and the local authority social worker/s for any child you are looking after. We also host regular carer support groups, activities and workshops, that allow you to form relationships with other foster carers and their networks from the very start of your fostering journey. Many of our foster carers become close friends due to their shared experiences of fostering and time spent together at agency events, and they are incredibly welcoming to any new foster carers at the agency.
In summary, even if you are a single carer you will never be alone in your journey, with a team of fellow foster carers, social workers and other agency staff that are with you every step of the way.
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering, or if you’d like to ask any questions, you can reach us in the following ways:
By telephone on 0800 292 2003
By submitting an online enquiry form here
By emailing us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of our single foster carers have agreed to speaking with prospective carers about the fostering role, our agency and how they find fostering. If you'd like to arrange an informal discussion with someone, just get in touch and let us know.
Salary: £40,500 pa + £1,500 OOH Allowance
Closing Date: 02/04/2019
Interview Date: 16/04/2019
Hours: 35 Hours Per Week
TACT, the UK’s largest fostering and adoption charity, now has over 500 dedicated carers, who look after over 600 children and young people across the country. Our reputation and growth rests upon our strength in providing successful placements. As a charity, we do not have shareholders who receive profits and we invest all of our surplus income into service, staff, carers, and children’s development.
TACT's East Midlands service has been rated "Outstanding" by Ofsted and we are offering an exciting opportunity for an experienced, dynamic individual to assist and support the Area Manager in the operational management of the Area Team and the recruitment, assessment, training and support of a diverse range of foster carers and placements.
To be considered, you will need to have experience of working with children and young people in a statutory setting and ideally have a management qualification. You will also need to be HCPC registered and have a DipSW, CSS or CQSW qualification. An enhanced DBS clearance is required and this check will be undertaken by TACT on your behalf. The use of a car is essential.
You will be required to work an out of hours rota, attracting an additional allowance of £1,500 per annum.
TACT offer an excellent benefits package including 31 days paid holiday, flexible working arrangements, group income protection scheme, x10 death in service, stakeholder pension scheme, child care vouchers and fantastic learning and development opportunities. Please see the job information pack for further information.
Closing: Midnight on Tuesday, 2nd April 2019
Interviews: Tuesday, 16th April 2019 at TACT East Midlands (NN15 7HH)
TACT reserve the right to close the vacancy once we have received sufficient applications, so we advise you to submit your application as early as possible to prevent disappointment.
More details and application documents here
Fostering News: Foster carers are used to the insults, but it’s rewarding to take in children who are hungry and neglected
The girl I have in placement is suffering from chronic low self-esteem and in her worst moments crumples on the floor in a heap, which is very distressing to see. Today I spend three hours in the garden talking to her, going over everything she thinks about herself and disproving it. There are tears and snot everywhere. This used to happen three or four times a day, but now it’s just twice a week. Since being with me for almost a year, her school attendance has gone up from 50% to 100%, and doing better academically has raised her self-esteem.
I spend the morning comforting another foster care worker who is concerned for the wellbeing of two children who were recently taken out of her care. She took them to see their family and then got a call saying they weren’t coming back to her again. She tells me she asked the social worker how they would cope without their belongings, which had all been left at her house, and the social worker replied that she hadn’t really thought about it.
I help another foster carer bleach marks made by a permanent marker off her bathroom walls.
My placement is in tears when I pick her up from school, so I spend most of the evening trying to help her deal with some very complex trauma. I get a call late at night from the local authority saying there is a teenager who has beaten up members of his family and they have refused to let him stay at home tonight. I wait for them to bring him to my house but I get a call a few hours later saying he has refused to go into foster care.
I meet up with a support group for foster care workers that we have set up. We all feel unsupported by our local authority. They don’t pick up the phone, so we can’t get hold of our support workers when we need them. When we do get to speak to someone, they are often young and inexperienced, and have not had the adequate training.
I don’t blame the people who work in local authorities, they have suffered huge cuts. Because of this we are, for the most part, alone with children who have complex needs.
I’m so tired. A boy was dropped off at my house at 1am. He arrived with absolutely nothing so after tucking him in, I went to the 24-hour supermarket to buy him a school uniform. He wakes up at 5am wanting to put the TV on. I give him a long wash as it’s obvious he hasn’t had a shower or bath for some time.
As I arrive with him at the school gates, friends of his parents shout abuse at me. One of the mothers screams in my face, telling me that the child was safe with his father. As I walk back to my car, they hurl insults at me.
I arrange to pick him up slightly earlier from school, so he doesn’t witness that abuse. I’m used to the insults, it’s something you learn to cope with.
My new foster child slept well last night, so I did as well. Children are little sponges and soak up their new environment – he wants to know and do everything. This is the really rewarding part of my job: taking in children who are hungry and neglected, cleaning them up, buying them uniforms and sending them to school happy. Seeing him smiling this morning makes it all worth it.
A glossary of words and terms that aims to change the language of the care system has been published. Language That Cares is a collaborative effort led by adoption and fostering charity TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust) and the charity’s children and care experienced young people, with contributions from 15 local authorities and organisations.
Read the glossary here
St Christopher’s has given evidence to an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) enquiry into financial education for young people in care so that MPs and organisations can work together to introduce better support.
Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley was invited to give evidence directly to the MPs involved in the APPG about how to make sure care leavers had opportunities to learn how to budget, manage their money and a safe space to trial new things.
At St Christopher’s we are committed to raising aspirations for care leavers and offering lifelong learning and thriving, instead of leaving young people to go it alone once they reach a certain age. Through our Staying Close pilot, young people have opportunities to go back to their children’s homes so that they can stay in touch with the people they care about the most. This commitment was central to the evidence we provided, as we know from our young people that having just one key person who is on your side can make all the difference.
In answer to MPs questions Jonathan explained how leaving care was a process rather than a single event in a child’s life. He explained how starting transitions work sooner would provide care leavers with a better foundation for adulthood, which includes learning about budgeting and money management.
He also explained how mental health issues can impact on young people’s ability to cope with living independently at such a young age. This led onto a discussion about corporate parenting responsibilities, where providers and local authorities commit to providing children in care and care leavers with the same love, support and nurturing as any other young person.
Jonathan also shared examples of current best practice for financial education in our services. For example, one care leaver on the Isle of Man had racked up £150 in bank fees from being only a few pounds overdrawn. He did not have the confidence to speak up for himself and ask the bank to waive these, so a member of the Aftercare team advocated on his behalf. Without this support from a person he trusted, this young person would have spiralled into debt and homelessness, showing just how important relationships are to care leavers.
We know that it is important to give young people in our care a safe environment for them to try new things and make mistakes. In our homes, this happens through daily practice as well as our life skills work. If all children in care were given this space and trust, it would allow them to develop their own risk competencies and give them practical experience to draw on when they faced challenges in adulthood.
The event gave us the chance to educate MPs on what life is like for children in care and care leavers, as well as fight to get them the right support. We are looking forward to reading their recommendations in the coming months.
Monday April 8th
10am - 4pm
If you are aged 16 or over and are currently, or have previously been placed with TACT Foster Carers, this is an opportunity for you to come and get creative at TACT Connect’s first event!
TACT Connect is a new service for TACT care leavers, creating an inspiring network of care experienced people that support and celebrate one another to learn and access new skills. TACT Connect also aims to make it easier for you to keep in touch with TACT and access any support that you might need to help you in achieving your aspirations.
At this workshop you can get messy with graffiti pens and peculiar paints, and have your work displayed in an exclusive art show. Even if you have never picked up a paint brush before, come and unlock your inner creativity alongside other care experienced people.
Join us to celebrate care experienced people, feast on free food, meet others, become a published artist and much more. This is a free event, lunch and refreshments will be provided and travel and accommodation will be paid for by TACT.
This event is for TACT care experienced people aged 16 years and above. Places are limited, so sign up now!
Find out more about TACT Connect or sign up here: www.tactcare.org.uk/tact-connect
TACT East Midlands has been rated Outstanding by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), for its work with foster carers and looked after children in the East Midlands.
Outstanding is the highest judgement that an Ofsted inspection can bestow on an independent fostering agency. In summing up why TACT East Midlands deserved such an accolade Ofsted stated that it ‘provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good. The actions (of TACT) contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people.’
Among the many elements of TACT East Midlands’ service that warranted high praise from Ofsted were:
TACT CEO Andy Elvin said: “I am extremely proud that our East Midlands service was rated so highly, and I know that in terms of quality of provision it is the same story across the whole of TACT. It is brilliant that Ofsted has recognised the skill, commitment and expertise of our Outstanding East Midlands staff and of course our fantastic foster carers.”
LGBT foster carers and adopters join Barnardo’s in urging people to welcome a child into their life during awareness week
This week Barnardo’s is proud to support New Family Social as it urges more LGBT+ people and couples to consider fostering or adoption.
This year the theme for LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week, which runs from 4th to 10th March, is ‘7 days to love’. In support of the awareness week, some of Barnardo’s LGBT+ foster carers and adopters have spoken out to encourage others to consider fostering and adoption.
One such couple is George and Martin Lusty, from London. They adopted two little boys when they were three and four in July 2014 and say it has “tipped our lives upside down – in a good way!”
George said: “It’s possibly the biggest challenge you will ever undertake but it’s so worth it. We have two cheeky, kind, inquisitive boys who are the centre of our lives. One is incredibly sharp and he loves music. His brother is more reflective, loves the natural world and can gasp at the beauty of the everyday. We are so pleased we adopted two brothers – they are an incredible duo with a fierce loyalty to each other and such a strong bond.”
George said he would strongly urge any LGBT+ person or couple who is thinking of adopting to take that first step and contact Barnardo’s.
He said: “This is the most life changing decision you can make and to be honest you do have to make a leap of faith. I’d say contact Barnardo’s and look on websites like New Family Social to make contact with other adoptive parents, it’s so helpful to talk to people who are going through the process.”
Sue Mason and her partner Fay Munson, from Essex, have been permanent foster carers for Andrea, who has cerebral palsy, since she was 2 and a half.
Fay said: “So many children are in need of good homes and we really wanted to help make a difference to a child’s life”.
Sue added: “The first two months were challenging – nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent - but fostering Andrea is extremely rewarding for us as a family. Andrea has made a huge difference to our lives and has given us so much. We couldn’t imagine life without her.
“Andrea has made such amazing progress from the little girl who first came to live with us. She continuously amazes us with how far she has come. Despite her disabilities Andrea has a thirst for life and has a fantastic sense of humour, she loves Disney, pirates, lions, and her iPad!”
The couple also said they would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to get in touch with Barnardo’s to find out more.
Sue said: “I would advise anyone considering fostering or adoption to follow their heart. It has been the most rewarding thing Fay and I have ever done and we have also got back so much in return. I would say be brave and go for it”.
Barnardo’s has more than 100 years of experience at finding families for children, offering support and training for both foster carers and adopters from the first point of enquiry and beyond.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan is proud to support LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week.
He said: “At Barnardo’s we find loving families for vulnerable children in communities across the UK, and we give foster carers and adopters the training and support they need.
"Fostering and adoption can be a challenge but it’s also incredibly rewarding and gives children the love, care and life skills they need to build better and brighter futures.
“I would urge anyone from the LGBT community who is considering becoming a foster carer or adopter to get in touch to find out more. Incredible things happen when you believe in children.”
To find out more about fostering and adoption visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption
Child and adolescent therapist Vicky Blackwell has taken up a new role with Community Foster Care.
Vicky has worked extensively with fostered and adopted children for more than 10 years. Initially trained as a social worker before further training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Theraplay, she has wide experience of children with a range of different mental health issues such as RAD, PTSD, ADHD and anxiety disorders as well as emotional difficulties around loss and grief, attachment and problematic relationships.
“I believe it’s important to work with the whole family system when working with children,” she said.
For Community Foster Care, a not-for-profit agency, she will provide a therapeutic family consultation service for looked-after children, working with both children and carers in and around Workington and Lancaster.
“Integrative psychotherapy can make a big difference to children who have experienced early-life trauma, allowing them to have their emotional developmental needs met, which are often delayed or under-developed because of the impact of relational trauma,” she said.
“Cared-for children can have profound attachment difficulties that prevent them from making a good enough relationship with their carers. Understanding and responding appropriately to the child’s attachment behaviour helps both carers and children to relate to each other differently.”
After qualifying as a social worker in Salford in 2007, Vicky worked primarily with families with adopted children for more than ten years. She retrained in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy in Manchester in 2014. She is also a certified Theraplay practitioner and supervisor. She now runs her own private practice Family Be, which provides clinical therapeutic interventions to children and families with varied backgrounds and family systems.
Registered Manager with Community Foster Care, Emma Weaver, welcomed Vicky: “We’re really pleased to have someone with Vicky’s approach and skills as part of our team. She’ll help us better understand the trauma and broken attachments which children experience and how that affects them,” she said.
“She will play a key role in providing expertise at times of crisis, enabling us to build understanding and resilience within the family.”
Amanda Culverhouse has joined Community Family Care as Project Lead for the new Family Group Conferencing Service launched in North Somerset.
After a 16-year career in Human Resources and six years as a mediator in situations such as bullying and harassment, Amanda trained in Family Group Conferencing in 2017. Since then she has also provided advocacy for young people in Somerset.
She and a sessional team of FGC co-ordinators will deliver the service from Worle for a minimum of 24 referred families per year for North Somerset Council.
“Most of the families we work with are put forward for support by social workers, usually when relationships have broken down and a child may be about to go into care,” said Amanda.
“We bring together the family’s relatives, friends and maybe neighbours and help them to come up with solutions that keep the family together in a safe and supported environment. The service is often a lifeline to families who don’t know where else to turn.”
Manager of Community Family Care, Sasha Hart, said: “We’re proud to have Amanda to lead on our new Family Group Conference service. Her experience and ability are invaluable and we’re excited to have her on board to launch the service.”
Community Family Care won the three-year contract for North Somerset Council, worth £150,000, by competitive tender.
The independent, not-for-profit agency provides bespoke support services for children and families, building on families’ strengths to help make positive change and bring about lasting outcomes.
Click here for more information about Family Group Conferences at Community Family Care.
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