INTERESTED IN FOSTERING? COME ALONG TO OUR DROP-IN SESSION…

BE PART OF OUR FOSTERING FAMILY…

Interested in fostering? Come along to our drop-in session at our offices at Hanley Swan on Friday 26th April 2019 10am to 1pm for an informal chat and to find out more information.

Location: Acorn Business Centre, Roberts End, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire. WR8 0DN.  

CYP News

Saturday 2nd March 2019

The CYP Ambassador meeting was well attended and enjoyed by all.  

Our Education Adviser, Helen, covered ‘anti-bullying’ and ‘treating others with respect’.  Dean our Registered Manager, Sarah Supervising social worker and Nick covered the various means about ‘how to complain’ and the ‘tell us what you think’ facility on our website. The group designed a poster about the meaning of the word ‘respect’.  This was followed by a pizza delivery which Nick just about managed to share amongst everyone…..so he was respectful!!!

Becoming a Foster Carer in Worcestershire

Have you been considering becoming a foster carer in the Midlands? Fostering is a challenging and rewarding job that really makes a difference. There are countless individuals, couples and families that have thought about fostering for years, but many never take any further action. If you want to help give a child a better life in 2018 why not begin by taking a simple step forward?

Researching into Fostering

You’ve thought about becoming a foster carer now it’s time to do your research. There are plenty of different options available to you. We are an independent foster agency in Worcestershire, there are others along with local authorities that you can choose to sign up with.  We recommend doing as much research into all the different agencies and your local authority to find the right match for you. Look at websites, read their literature and get in touch to find out more.

We welcome all kinds of enquiries via email, directly through our website or over the phone. We don’t expect anything from you and our friendly team will supply you with all the information you require to help you make the right decision for you and your family.

What to Research

There are several types of fostering services. Here are a few tips on the type of information to use to help you decide if you’d like to start the journey into becoming a foster carer.

  • Ask for information packs and for information about the application process
  • Ask about the type of foster carers they are looking for – some agencies want carers for babies, others need carers for teenagers, siblings or children with disabilities and so on.
  • Is support given to the foster carers and how is that support delivered?
  • How much training is provided or required?
  • What do the other foster carers say about the LA or independent agencies in your area
  • Allowances and fees – will financial factors make it impossible to foster?
  • Do they have a presence on social media?

We’re an independent fostering agency based in Worcestershire. We are currently recruiting new foster carers and families across the West Midlands. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about us and our foster carers.

What is it Like to Be a Foster Carer?

The Guardian is giving foster carers the opportunity to share their personal foster story. This is a fantastic opportunity to share what it’s really like to be a foster carer. Stories from those with experience can be vital to help shape the future of fostering but also to help those thinking of becoming a foster carer.

The paper is asking for input from all foster carers, where they work with a council, an independent agency or a charity. Working as a foster carer is not an easy job, it is full of challenges and recent cuts have added to the difficulties that are experienced by some. Another issue is dealing with the complex needs of children in the 21st Century. So now is the time to share your thoughts and experiences. To take part in the survey you will need to complete the encrypted form, found here.

Enter As Much Information as You Wish

You will be asked for your name and there’s a place to enter more information such as your age, location and what you do. Enter as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. The next questions revolve around fostering, when you became a foster carer and how many children have you fostered.

The following questions give you the freedom to express your own personal experiences in as much detail as you wish. The first of these questions is simply asking you what it’s like to be a foster carer. The final one is for foster carers who have changed to an independent fostering agency from working for the council, asking what the experience was like.

Share for Information Only or Choose Potentially Share Publically

There is a box asking if you are happy to have your responses published. Here you have the choice to deny the request, to allow it publically or to have your answers published anonymously. If you are happy to go public with your response, there’s an option to add a photograph. The survey ends with an empty box where you can add any extra information.

Do you want to share your experience of being a foster carer? Click on the link above and share your foster journey.

Response to House of Commons Education Committee Report on Fostering in England

The Fostering Network has responded to the House of Commons Education Committee Report on Fostering in England. The report follows an inquiry that began back in October 2016. For the report, The Fostering Network produced both written and oral evidence and they played a vital role in convincing the committee that an inquiry was needed.

The report has been welcomed by The Fostering Network. Kevin Williams, the chief executive of The Fostering Network has responded, and the information is freely available on their website.  It is hoped that many of the recommendations will be reflected in the Governments fostering stocktake. Furthermore, The Fostering Network have stated that they are in agreement with the conclusion that states that the government should perform a full care system review instead of considering all of the elements of the system separately.

Many of the recommendations made by The Fostering Network have been included, such as:

  • The need for all foster carers to have an allowanced that covers all costs
  • More funding to make staying put work
  • Recognising foster carers and child care experts that are an equal part of the team
  • Access to whistleblowing legislation

Additionally, the following is evidence that the committee has paid close attention to the recommendations made by the sector.

  • Importance of listening to children
  • Foster carers to be provided with more information about the children
  • Improved matching
  • Improved placement stability
  • Improved support

The report included a call for consultation surrounding a national college for foster carers. While this is welcomed by The Fostering Network, there is some confusion as this is not consistent with the statements made regarding foster carers not being classified as professionals.

The Fostering Network recognises the importance of raising awareness for the need of more foster carers. They help drive awareness with Foster Care Fortnight, something we support each year. However, they do point out that recruitment is best performed locally and that the fostering services need to know who they are looking for to improve their own targeting. Additionally, foster families require proper payment, which isn’t included in the report.

Learn more by reading the full response over on The Fostering Network website.

Fresh Appeal for Foster Carers in the Midlands

Foundation Fostering is working hard to increase the number of foster carers in the Midlands in 2018.

We hope that individuals, couples and families with children will all consider offering children and young people a warm and loving home for the months and years ahead. Opening your doors to children that are unable to live with their birth families is one of the most incredible things you can do. After celebrating Christmas and welcoming in the New Year, perhaps now is the best time to start your fostering journey at last. Hopefully, by this Christmas, your home will be filled with even more love and light than it was in 2017.

Giving foster children happy memories, stable support and a safe home is one gift that will never grow old. It’s a gift that is welcomed and wanted all year round. Creating and sharing happy memories with children and young people is priceless.

Supporting our Foster Carers in the Midlands

Our foster carers have enjoyed a wonderful festive holiday with the children and young people in their care. We provide our carers with the support, guidance and training to ensure they’re always able to do their very best and feel that they are not alone in their fostering journey. We welcome anyone interested in foster care, whether you want to learn more, if you’re transferring from a different foster agency or if you have decided that fostering is the path you want to take. Please, call our friendly independent fostering agency in Malvern, or send us an email and one of our team will be in touch.

Cyberbullying – 5 Tips for Foster Carers

Cyberbullying is a major problem that comes hand in hand with modern life and social networking. Many children are struggling to handle life with cyberbullying and it has a negative impact on their mental health, contributing to depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem. It can be difficult for foster carers to know how to help in these situations. The NSPCC have shared some very useful tips that can be of use. Here are 5 tips for foster carers and parents that can be helpful for children dealing with cyberbullying.

5 Tips for Foster Carers and Parents

  1. Start the conversation flowing. Cyberbullying and bullying can be discussed to help encourage children to open up about their own experiences. Ensure the conversation remains calm and listen carefully to what’s being said. If the child in your care informs you that they’re being bullied be sure to check in with them often and let them know that you are there for them and ready to talk at any time.
  2. Share information on who the child in your care can talk to if they need help and are not able to discuss it with you. Make sure they understand that you are happy to talk, but if they find it difficult there are other adults out there who will listen, including their teachers, social work team and Childline. Childline can be contacted on the phone, live chat and email.
  3. Encourage relaxation and stepping away from social media and modern-day pressures. Start a new hobby or activity to help increase confidence and give them reassurance that they are cared for and loved. Find activities that they enjoy, which could be something as simple as listening to music or perhaps playing a sport.
  4. Teach online safety as soon as the child in your care begins using the Internet. Encourage older children to have time away from their phone and screen, but don’t enforce the rule. It’s important for the child to feel they can be open about their online activities and not have to hide it from you. There’s plenty of age-appropriate information on how to stay safe online available from Thinkuknow.
  5. Talk to the school about the bullying and begin gathering evidence to show the type of bullying that is taking place. Let the teachers know about the impact the bullying is having on the child and ask to see a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy.

Find out more about how you can help a child being affected by cyberbullying over on the NSPCC website.

Cyberbullying Continues to Be a Problem for Young Children

cyberbullying

The amount of calls to Childline concerning cyberbullying continues to increase. During 2016/17, there were 3,103 counselling sessions on Childline, an increase of 12% from the year before. The amount of sessions has in fact double since cyberbullying was considered to be a specific issue, which was in 2012.  Some of the common concerns in children surrounding cyberbullying are:

  • Name calling
  • Rumour spreading
  • Death threats
  • Blackmail

Young people are often left feeling unable to cope and cyberbullying is now a contributing factor to mental health problems that include self-harm, depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Females aged between 12-15 have received the most counselling sessions regarding cyberbullying, but there have been calls from children as young as 9.

Around the Clock Cyberbullying

One of the major concerns is that cyberbullying can take place around the clock, there is no escape. Children feel unable to unfriend their bullies because they feel the problem will increase at school as a result of the blocking. It’s hard for children to talk to parents about the problem too.

The social pressures faced by modern children is huge. The NSPCC has called for the government to do more to help keep children safe online. It is hoped that a rulebook enshrined in law will be produced, requiring all social media sites to protect children from online abuse and bullying. It is hoped that the rules will include the introduction of an alerts system and strict privacy settings along with easy reporting systems.

Childline is available 24/7 for children who would like to talk in confidence by calling 0800 1111 (the number is free to call from landlines and mobiles in the UK). Read more about cyberbullying and how you can help children to deal with the social pressures of the 21st Century.

Free Childcare Now Allocated to Fostered Children

On Tuesday, December 19 2018, Robert Goodwill the Children’s minister announced that children in foster care in England, aged 3 and 4 years old, would now be entitled to the extra 15 hours of free childcare. The free childcare will be available to use from September 2018.

The announcement made in Parliament brings closure to an ongoing battle to end a discriminatory policy that excluded fostered children being able to access the free childcare that was allocated to non-fostered children of the same age in England. The policy came into force in September 2017. Children in England had the potential of receiving up to 30 hours of free childcare. Before the latest change, the policy included an exclusion stating the discriminatory words “if the child is your foster child”.  Labour MP Lisa Nandy led the campaign to see the policy updated to included fostered children.

Fostered Children Not to Be Discriminated Against

The change of policy is welcomed news. Fostered children should not be discriminated against and given the same rights as their peers. The Fostering Network is delighted with the news and thanked everyone who decided to back their campaign to ensure fostered children were not excluded from the free childcare hours.  At the debate that was chaired by Lisa Nandy, Goodwill said that it was a vital issue and that fostered children should be given access to the same support and opportunities as their peers.

The Government shall work together with local authorities and fostering service providers and other members of the sector to implement the change in the best way for the interest of the child. More information on how these changes will be delivered will be announced at a later date.