Help Young People Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet

healthy eating tips

Did you know that young people eat almost three times more sugar than their recommended daily amount? Shocking isn’t it. Eating too much sugar is a cause of concern as it can lead to unhealthy weight gain and diseases in later life.

Sugar isn’t the only problem. Children are eating many unhealthy snacks, giving them a quarter of the daily limit for saturated fats. Saturated fat can clog arteries, resulting in high cholesterol and increase the likely hood of heart disease. Salt is another problem. Most of the salt children eat is found in their food, before any additional salt is added.

Healthy Food Swaps for Young People

There are lots of useful resources that can help you to encourage young people to make sensible choices.  The NHS is a great resource and offers lots of ideas for healthy food swaps. Here is just a handful, to get you started:

  • Many fizzy drinks contain a huge amount of sugar. Obviously replacing fizzy drinks with water is the ideal swap to make. You might find this isn’t quite the same, so a great option is to try 100% fruit juice with no added sugar to some soda water.
  • Stop using whole milk (whole milk is a must for children under the age of 2).
  • Use low-fat spreads instead of butter and reduced fat cheese.
  • Grill food rather than frying food.
  • Stop eating white bread and start using wholegrain bread.
  • Don’t put table salt on the table, most food contains salt already.
  • Make your own popcorn and serve unsalted nuts as snacks.
  • Remember to try and eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. One excellent tip for adding fruit is to use it to sweeten cereals as a replacement for sugar.

Start reading the labels of the food you’re buying. Food labels give out a lot of information about how much fat, sugar, salt, protein and how many calories the food contains. Be sure to check the weight listed on the label, many show 100g when the food actually weighs a lot more. Compare the actual weight to the food label and do the math, you might find the ‘healthy’ snack is only healthy if you have a small portion.  Learn more about reading labels, here.

Welcoming Our New Education Ambassador

If you have read our latest newsletter you will already be aware of the latest addition to the Foundation Fostering team. However, we would like to extend a warm welcome to Helen, our new Education Ambassador. Helen has a history in Social Care and Education and skills from her work as an Education Welfare Officer.

Supporting Foster Carers and Our Looked After Children

Helen also brings a wealth of experience from her previous positions. She has spent time working in Children’s homes and Pupil Referral Units. The Pupil Referral Units are for young people who have been permanently excluded or experienced difficulties in mainstream education.  Helen aims to use her previous experience to provide excellent support for our foster carers and the children in their care.

Helen will work closely with our foster carers. She will ensure all of our looked after children are settled and have a supported education provision. Helen is looking forward to introducing herself to everyone personally. Helen will be reaching out to all of our foster carers and the children to have a chat and to get to know each other better.

Don’t forget to read the latest edition of our newsletter for more of the latest news. Please keep an eye on our newsletters in the coming months for all the latest news from Helen in the months to come.  You can also learn more about the Foundation Fostering team by clicking, here.

Foster Carers Introduced to the Secure Base Model

On 10 May a group of foster carers attended training led by Gill Cutter titled “Secure Base”.

The day offered an introduction to attachment: the history of understanding attachment, including the work of John Bowlby; a definition; references to research; recognising different attachment styles and the implications for children’s behaviour and meeting their needs. Group exercises helped to bring the information to life and encouraged participants to reflect on their own experiences, both as foster carers and from their own childhoods.

The importance of healthy attachment relationships for normal development and helping children achieve their potential was emphasised, with information on how to promote secure attachments.

The day introduced the secure base model, from the work of Gillian Schofield and Mary Beek at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Secure Base Model
Source:https://www.uea.ac.uk/providingasecurebase/the-secure-base-model

Schofield and Beek say  ” The Secure Base Model provides a positive framework for therapeutic caregiving, which helps infants, children and young people to move towards greater security and builds resilience. It focuses on the interactions that occur between caregivers and children on a day to day, minute by minute basis in the home environment. But it also considers how those relationships can enable the child to develop competence in the outside world of school, peer group and community”.  The research undertaken by Schofield and Beek, and the model they have developed, is widely recognised as helpful to foster carers.  We will be expanding the training we offer using this model.

Meanwhile, here are some links where you can read more about attachment.

http://www.pafca.co.uk/theory-articles/

http://attachment-training.com/at/resources/attachment-primer/

Support and Training for Our Foster Carers

foster carer

We are dedicated to providing children and young people with a happy home life and positive outcomes. This is achieved by looking after the well-being and development of our foster carers. By giving our foster carers the support they need, they, in turn, are ready to support the young people in their care. We grow and evolve together. One of the ways we have recently evolved is the addition of online training courses.

We received very positive feedback after our first online course that was a refresher on safeguarding.  We shall continue to offer our online training courses moving forward.  Providing online training is an excellent way of working around busy lives and means everyone is able to attend with ease.

Face to Face Training for Foster Carers

The online training for our foster carers is in addition to the face to face training sessions we provide in our offices. We love to see you in person and we know that our foster carers also appreciate the contact that reaches beyond the Internet.  The online training is simply another way of ensuring everyone has full access to our courses.

We are always keen to hear all feedback, so if you haven’t let us know your thoughts on the online training, we’d love to hear them.

NSPCC Study Finds Children Don’t Feel Safe Online

NSPCC Study children onlineChildren are not feeling protected when they’re online, according to a recent study by the NSPCC. 1,696 children aged between 11 and 18 years were questioned as part of the NSPCC’s Net Aware programme.  Four out of five children feel that the social media companies they use aren’t doing enough to keep them safe. The study also revealed that children were being exposed to bullying, self-harm messages and images they don’t feel are appropriate. The riskiest sites rated by the children in the study were Facebook and Ask.fm.

Rating Websites, Apps and Games

The children were questioned about different experiences such as the signing up process and to see how appropriate the content was for their age group. They were also questioned about if they could report or block people on the site, game or app as well as change privacy settings and get support.

1,380 children out of the 1,695 that were questioned said that social media websites need to do more to stop them seeing harmful or inappropriate content.  A 16-year-old girl said that Ask.fm didn’t have strict controls and so lots of hurtful messages were being spread about people, which she believes contributes to self-harm and negative thoughts.  A spokesperson for Ask.fm said that the company takes the findings very seriously. They have contacted the NSPCC to learn more about the findings are working to improve tools and policies to protect their users.

Being Themselves in Virtual Worlds

Other websites that were rated include IMVU and Omegle. One 18-year-old male said he enjoyed using IMVU as he could be himself; choose how his avatar looks in the 3D virtual world and talk to people that don’t know him.

Peter Wanless, the NSPCC chief executive said that the ‘children don’t feel they are being shielded from upsetting, dangerous and adult content.  It’s vital parents know about their child’s online world and regularly talk with their children about how to get help if they need it.”

Read our 10 tips on how to help children stay safe online, here. Further advice is available from the NSPCC website.

 

 

 

 

 

Foster Care Fortnight 2017: New Foster Carers are Urgently Required in the Midlands

Foster Care FortnightFoster Care Fortnight 2017

The first week of Foster Care Fortnight is almost over already. There have been many inspirational stories in the news and shared across social media.  We hope you’re following us on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve been sharing some of our favourite stories and links over on those channels.

Today, we’d like to remind you that there are many children in the UK that are in need of caring foster homes. Statistics shared by The Fostering Network show that in the next year,  7,180 brand new foster families need to be found.  Shockingly, every 20 minutes a child comes into care here in the UK. Further data shows that 97% of fostering services are looking for carers for children in their teens. Furthermore, 87% of fostering services in the UK need foster carers for siblings.  5,900 new foster families are needed in England alone.

Further data shows that 97% of fostering services are looking for carers for children in their teens. Furthermore, 87% of fostering services in the UK need foster carers for siblings.  5,900 new foster families are needed in England alone.

New Foster Carers Are Always Welcome

There is an extensive need for foster carers in the Midlands to share their homes with children of all ages and abilities. We are always searching for new foster carers to join our agency. We urge you to get in touch with us if the Foster Care Fortnight has inspired you to learn more about fostering.  Our aim is to give support to our foster carers to ensure they are able to support the children in their care. We are here to answer any questions you have about our agency and fostering and help you through your fostering journey.

Call our office or leave us a message and we will be in touch with you as quickly as possible. We understand that you might not want to pursue fostering, there is no pressure, and the choice is always yours.

 

4 Fostering Myths Busted

fostering mythsMany potential foster carers don’t ever get as far as making an enquiry with a fostering agency because of misconceptions. Today we want to encourage you to take the first step on your fostering journey by busting a few of the most common fostering myths.

You can’t foster children if you don’t own your own home

In order to become a foster parent you will need to have room for the child or children being placed in your care. However, you don’t have to own your abode, renters are also welcome. We don’t care if you own your home outright, if you pay a mortgage or if you rent. All you need is a spare bedroom for the child.

You have to be parents if you want to foster children

Another common myth is that you need to be parents to your own children if you want to become a foster carer. This is not true, it doesn’t matter if you have had children or not. What does matter is that you have experience that will aid you in looking after a child.

Only straight married couples can apply to become foster carers

A child will not be denied a safe home because of the relationship status of the carer. You can be married, divorced, single, gay, lesbian or straight.  Your sexual orientation and relationship status will not stand in your way. The most important thing is that you are able to provide a child or children with a warm and safe home.

You can’t keep working if you join a fostering agency

Never let your job stop you from finding out more about fostering. There are situations when you may need to give up your job, but this isn’t always the case. You may need to speak to your employer about changing your hours or work around school hours or share time with your partner. We can discuss all of this with you so you’re able to choose the right options for you and your family.

No one cares about Foster Carers

We never ignore the needs of our foster carers. We are here to support you so you’re able to support the child or children that are relying on you. You will not be alone through your fostering journey.

Fostering enriches the lives of everyone involved.  There is no harm in giving us a call and finding out more about becoming a foster carer.  Call our friendly office today or send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

 

A Carers Guide to Pokémon Go

Foster Carers Guide to Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go is still a hugely popular game, even if the trend has died down a little from last summer. New Pokémon have been added, there are frequent events and the summer holidays around the corner.  With all that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to offer a basic guide to our foster carers who are concerned about their foster children and children using the app.

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokemon Go is an app that is based on the popular Pokemon franchise. It’s where the players become trainers, with an aim to collect all the Pokemon they can and get ones that are strongest to help take over gyms.  Players need to visit Pokestops to collect Pokeballs and other in-game items and use the balls to collect the Pokémon.

It uses augmented reality so it appears that the Pokémon, Pokestops and Pokegyms appear in real life places. It uses Google Maps, and players are able to track down Pokémon, gyms and stops by looking at the screen and following the map. In order to work it needs to have constant use of the GPS on the phone and the camera if augmented reality is turned on.

What are the Risks?

According to the NSPCC, the risks are as follows:

  • This is a social game and many players will come across each other as they play the game in their own towns. There is a chance that they will meet and talk to strangers. Therefore it is important to discuss stranger dangers with the children in your care. You should also encourage the children to inform you where they are going if they are allowed to go out unsupervised.
  • There have been a few accidents caused by players not paying attention to their surroundings. Remind children the importance of road safety and being aware of what’s around them when playing the game.
  • The game drains batteries very quickly, even when using the battery saving feature in the settings of the app.
  • It is possible to spend real money in the game. The in-game purchases start at 99p and go up to £99.99. Remove payment details or add a new password to stop in game purchasing.
  • The app will have access to personal data including the email address and date of birth.

Safe Playing

Here are a few additional tips on how to enjoy the game and reduce the risks.

  • Playing the game together is an excellent way of helping the child remain safe. Download the app on your own phone and spend time walking and exploring your neighbourhood together. Learn where the Pokestops, gyms and Pokémon spawning spots are located.
  • Older children might not appreciate you going out with them, but at least you will be aware of where they will be heading. Speak to the children and let them know the risks mentioned above and set some ground rules.
  • Provide a battery pack to stop the phone battery losing charge. Portable battery chargers are easily available and don’t cost a lot of money. They are used to recharge the battery on the go. Ensure the battery charger is fully charged before heading out.
  • Encourage staying with friends and not separating from the group

Pokémon Go is an excellent game that encourages players to go out, get exercise and explore their area. Understanding the game, discussing the risks and setting a few basic ground rules will help to reduce the risks associated with the app.

What is Foster Care Fortnight?

Foster Care Fortnight

Foster Care Fortnight takes place on Monday 8 to Sunday 21 May 2017, but what is it?  The fortnight is a campaign that runs each year by The Fostering Network. It is designed to raise the profile of foster care, share information on how fostering changes lives and to encourage people who have thought about fostering to pick up the phone or send a message and apply to becoming a foster carer.

During the Foster Care Fortnight, you will probably see a lot more articles, blog posts, videos and hear more stories about fostering.  It’s a great time to do lots of research into fostering, share your own stories and find out more about what a difference fostering makes to people, both the children and the carers.

How Can You Help the Foster Care Fortnight Campaign?

One of the main purposes of the campaign is to raise the profile of fostering. There are several ways you can help The Fostering Network achieve their goals:

  1. Join the Thunderclap. Click on this link and set up the automatic sharing of a message across your Facebook, Twitter and/or Tumblr. This is really easy to do and it helps to make an impact on these social networks and reach a wider audience. Everyone will send the message at the same time, increasing the chance of the campaign to trend on social media.
  2. Make a donation to the cause.
  3. Visit the Foster Care Network website and download the poster or share the #ProudtoFoster placard.
  4. If you’re a foster carer consider sharing your own story on your social networks or with your friends. Provide your friends with information on websites to visit to learn more about becoming a foster carer.
  5. Pick up the phone and give us a call if you’ve been thinking about fostering in Worcestershire, Birmingham and Stoke on Trent.
  6. Like, Share and Comment on stories and posts you see about fostering on the social networks you use.
  7. Fundraise for the campaign. There are several Foster Walks around the UK that you can join. Alternatively, you could organise your own fundraiser. Ideas include holding a Foster Bake, a Disco, Fancy Dress at work day…Your options are endless.

The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. They are committed to the difference foster care makes to the lives of young people and children.  They work with everyone that is involved in fostering children and provide support and motivation to improve foster care for everyone.

E-Safety:10 Tips to Stay Safe Online

e-safety tips for childrenE-Safety Tips

The Internet is part of life these days. Most children have access to the Internet; it’s used in schools and in our homes.  It’s a remarkable thing with many positives for children to benefit from. The Internet is educational, a place to be creative and to play. It’s also a tool to connect with others. Unfortunately, as with most things in life, there are some dangers.

Today, we have 10 e-safety tips for you to share with the children in your care.

  1. Personal information should not be shared online. Never put your home address, your town, email address or your phone number. Other information that shouldn’t be shared include your school or college or any clubs or groups you’re in.
  2. Remember that once a photo or video is online many people will be able to see it and download it. It takes seconds to download an image and you won’t even know that someone has downloaded it on your computer. Always think before you upload any photo or video of yourself.
  3. Investigate all privacy settings for every website you use.  Put the privacy on the highest possible settings.
  4. Don’t give your passwords to anyone and change them regularly.
  5. Don’t make friends with anyone you don’t know.
  6. Never meet someone you’ve met online, even if you think you can trust them. Tell a parent, your carer or a teacher if someone asks to meet you.
  7. Don’t be fooled. People on the Internet might not be who they’re claiming to be.
  8. Think about what you want to say online before you type it.
  9. Be respectful of other people’s views even if you don’t agree with them. Be respectful and don’t be rude.
  10. Don’t be afraid to tell an adult or someone you trust about anything you see or experience online that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Help children stay safe online by helping them to be #ShareAware. Open the lines of communication, set some simple rules and enjoy the Internet together. Visit the NSPCC for further advice and information on e-safety.