Celebrating our Fostering Sons and Daughters – October 2018

The Fostering Network runs a campaign to celebrate the vital contribution that the children of foster carers make to foster care.
This weekend a party was held for all our Worcestershire Fostering foster families and to recognise the important role foster carers birth children play in fostering.

The party included face painting from Funky Faces, a giant bouncy castle, toys and activities from Wise Owl Toys along with refreshments and of course cake! As a final sign of appreciation, there was a presentation of certificates to say thank you to each child, along with a much appreciated party bag.

Foster carer and ‘Home for Good Worcestershire’ lead Joy Pollock, who led organising the event said, “I am delighted to be involved in the planning of these events as I get to say a massive thank you to not just my kids but lots of birth children who are so giving of themselves. Sharing their parents, their toys, their home and their hearts.”

This year The Fostering Network are also running a competition until 31st October: #OurGreatestMemory.

The competition is all about children and young people living in fostering households (either sons and daughters of foster carers or fostered children and young people) sharing a memory in the form of a video, drawing or photo, which encapsulates a special, and significant moment in time for them from their fostering journey: https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/ourgreatestmemory-entry-form

To mark the end of the month long campaign, our Fostering Team are inviting all our birth children and their families to an outdoor activity afternoon during the half term break. An opportunity once again to acknowledge and praise our unsung heroes of Fostering. If you are one of our foster families and would like to come along please get in touch on: 0800 028 2158 or email: fostering@worcestershire.gov.uk

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Claire Robinson & Darren Smith

Claire and I both come from close families and grew up with considerable experience of children with additional needs. Claire’s mum was a special needs teacher and was in charge of the first high school base for children with autism in the county. I also grew up with a younger sister, J, who has learning difficulties.

She is unable to read or write, which makes every day life difficult. She needs support with paying her bills, shopping and going through her post. Her support workers prompt her to tidy her flat, do washing up and laundry as she tends not to focus on those sorts of things.

These experiences led us to both naturally start working with children and young people with more specialised needs. Alongside studying and training to become a solicitor, Claire was for more than two years a carer for young people and adults with various needs. The people she supported were sometimes frail, needing that bit of extra support with meals and cleaning, or more physically disabled, meaning more intense care was required.

Prior to fostering, I cared for children with special needs as a teaching assistant in a special needs school. Many had autism or Aspergers as well as conditions like Downs’ Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay, just like D. It was during this job that I was exposed to the world of fostering for the first time. I saw the impact that fantastic foster carers had on two brothers who were placed in care. Claire and I had often discussed a desire to foster, to make a difference to a child’s life and this experience inspired Claire and I to finally apply to foster.

The assessment process was at times hard-going, but having the opportunity to reflect on our whole lives, our relationships with our family and friends and most importantly as a couple really got us thinking about how life would change with a foster child. We ended up enjoying the time with our assessing social worker and were sorry to see her leave for the last time!

At our approval meeting with our fostering social worker, she advised that they already had a child in mind for us to care for who needed to be moved from another placement. D arrived within eight weeks of our approval. We had always said we would foster any child and given our experiences, we weren’t phased about a child with additional needs and were fully aware of the shortage of carers willing to take on a child with disabilities.

The first two years were happy, sad, emotional, busy and most of all eye opening. D took around a year to truly settle in and calm some of his more extreme moods. In this time we also completed lots of our core training, which we managed to fit in around our jobs.

After the Court process was over, it was clear that long term fostering was going to be the best plan for D. D is one of five looked after siblings and assessments took place to see if he could be placed with his older brother. However, both boys were doing so well in their placements that it was felt that to move them would be detrimental. We make sure that ‘family time’ happens regularly by getting the brothers and sisters together around once or twice a month to enable their relationships to continue developing.

We are really fortunate to have a great working relationship with D’s social worker Jo, from the disabilities team. She has managed to build a connection to D through her visits at home and at school and through specialist techniques like play therapy. Jo has supported us throughout our fostering journey and we are very grateful to her!

Fostering a child with special needs is incredibly rewarding. Whilst their milestones may not be anything like ‘typical’ children of the same age, they seem to mean more to both the child and carer. Seeing D grow and develop over the past two and a half years has been amazing and we are so excited to see what his future looks like. He is very excited to be the ring bearer at our wedding in December and sit at the top table with us. He is a huge part of our family and we wouldn’t be without him!

Darren Simon, Claire Robinson and D

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Claire Robinson & Darren Simon – Worcestershire Foster Carers

Claire and I both come from close families and grew up with considerable experience of children with additional needs. Claire’s mum was a special needs teacher and was in charge of the first high school base for children with autism in the county. I also grew up with a younger sister, J, who has learning difficulties.

She is unable to read or write, which makes every day life difficult. She needs support with paying her bills, shopping and going through her post. Her support workers prompt her to tidy her flat, do washing up and laundry as she tends not to focus on those sorts of things.

These experiences led us to both naturally start working with children and young people with more specialised needs. Alongside studying and training to become a solicitor, Claire was for more than two years a carer for young people and adults with various needs. The people she supported were sometimes frail, needing that bit of extra support with meals and cleaning, or more physically disabled, meaning more intense care was required.

Prior to fostering, I cared for children with special needs as a teaching assistant in a special needs school. Many had autism or Aspergers as well as conditions like Downs’ Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay, just like D. It was during this job that I was exposed to the world of fostering for the first time. I saw the impact that fantastic foster carers had on two brothers who were placed in care. Claire and I had often discussed a desire to foster, to make a difference to a child’s life and this experience inspired Claire and I to finally apply to foster.

The assessment process was at times hard-going, but having the opportunity to reflect on our whole lives, our relationships with our family and friends and most importantly as a couple really got us thinking about how life would change with a foster child. We ended up enjoying the time with our assessing social worker and were sorry to see her leave for the last time!

At our approval meeting with our fostering social worker, she advised that they already had a child in mind for us to care for who needed to be moved from another placement. D arrived within eight weeks of our approval. We had always said we would foster any child and given our experiences, we weren’t phased about a child with additional needs and were fully aware of the shortage of carers willing to take on a child with disabilities.

The first two years were happy, sad, emotional, busy and most of all eye opening. D took around a year to truly settle in and calm some of his more extreme moods. In this time we also completed lots of our core training, which we managed to fit in around our jobs.

After the Court process was over, it was clear that long term fostering was going to be the best plan for D. D is one of five looked after siblings and assessments took place to see if he could be placed with his older brother. However, both boys were doing so well in their placements that it was felt that to move them would be detrimental. We make sure that ‘family time’ happens regularly by getting the brothers and sisters together around once or twice a month to enable their relationships to continue developing.

We are really fortunate to have a great working relationship with D’s social worker Jo, from the disabilities team. She has managed to build a connection to D through her visits at home and at school and through specialist techniques like play therapy. Jo has supported us throughout our fostering journey and we are very grateful to her!

Fostering a child with special needs is incredibly rewarding. Whilst their milestones may not be anything like ‘typical’ children of the same age, they seem to mean more to both the child and carer. Seeing D grow and develop over the past two and a half years has been amazing and we are so excited to see what his future looks like. He is very excited to be the ring bearer at our wedding in December and sit at the top table with us. He is a huge part of our family and we wouldn’t be without him!

Darren Simon, Claire Robinson and D

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More than 70 children and adults went along to an event held by Home For Good Support Group in Worcester

The format of the group is that everyone can come together for lunch, refreshments and chat; then the youngsters all go downstairs and do fun activities whilst the adults stay upstairs.

All attendees are either foster carers, adopters or kinship carers in Worcestershire with no professionals there, such as social workers, so it is very much a relaxed family event for all members of the family.

Fostering in Worcestershire supports Home For Good and their support group and the two have built up a good working relationship.

Richard Proctor, Chairman of H4G Worcestershire, said: “In the past two years it has been a pleasure to support and work with Worcestershire County Council and we have been delighted with the success of the project.

“The recent event was a huge success and both the adults and children enjoyed themselves. We are seeing growing numbers each time and anticipate it becoming a regularly attended group.”

While the children play, the adults welcome the opportunity to openly discuss issues and their own personal experiences.

Richard adds, “Home for Good believe that the Church can make a difference and actively encourages families to provide loving homes for children in care.”

At the event on 14th July, there was a guest speaker Nicola Marshall from Braveheart Education, which educates and assists those living or working with looked after children/adopted children.

The next support group will be on the 20th October at Freedom Church, Worcester and all carers and adopters are welcome.

Worcestershire Fostering value the significance of the local faith communities and seek to build on the relationships formed and develop new openings where possible.

For details of future events organised by Home For Good, go to https:
//www.facebook.com/homeforgoodworcester/
or for all Worcestershire Fostering events visit:
https://www.worcestershirefostering.co.uk/events/

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Worcestershire Fostering joins in the Summer Fun

Are you looking for fun and free things to do over the summer holidays with your family?

We invite you to come along and take part in a number of free activities and hope you will also take this opportunity to come and chat with us at these relaxed and informal events.

Fortis Living is hosting numerous summer fun days for the whole family that are free to attend for everyone!
We will be with them in Malvern on August 10 at Dukes Meadow and the following week at Oasis Academy, Worcester at the Worcester Summer Fun Day on August 17.

Finally, at the very end of summer, we will make our annual appearance at Saltfest, Droitwich and once again will have a member of the team and a foster carer on hand to talk to visitors about fostering and the difference it really makes.

Please come over and say Hello!

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Foster Children are now included in 30 hours of free childcare

As you may be aware the provision of 30 hours of free childcare has now been extended to include foster children, when it is in the best interests of the child.

Children in foster care will be eligible to the additional free childcare if it is consistent with their care plan and foster parents are in paid work outside their role of a foster carer.

To find out more and assess your eligibility you can visit: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/30hoursfostering

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There was a Boy

Fostering services of sixteen neighbouring Local Authorities have been working in collaboration to produce the film ‘There Was a Boy’ – the story of teenager Dan. Launched at the beginning of Foster Care Fortnight, the UK’s biggest foster care recruitment campaign, the film highlights the need for more foster carers who would consider caring for teenagers.

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The Parker Family

We started fostering 7 years ago and I have always been the main carer. Our original approval was 0-18 years, short term and respite care; however, we have recently been asked to take on our two current children, two brothers (aged 11 and 8 years) on a long term basis. We feel that the boys fit within our family and are settled in their schools, so when this opportunity came up we were happy to proceed.

Before becoming a foster carer I was a sales manager for an electronics company for many years, initially in the UK and subsequently in Europe. I seemed to be forever travelling and was away from home a lot. I have visited many of western Europe’s major cities but visiting for business and pleasure are two very different experiences. Friends and family were always saying what an interesting job I had but in reality it was mostly just airports, hotels, factories, exhibitions and conferences. Then I hit 50 and began to think that there was more to life and other things I wanted to do.

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Placement Plus looking for new carers

Worcestershire’s Fostering Service is looking for six new carers to join their Placement Plus scheme, this year.

Placement Plus provides specialist support and tailored fostering placements for older children who are at risk of going into a residential setting or need to step down from a residential setting. It allows young people to remain in a family setting with additional support.

Foster Carers will receive regular supervision from their social worker as well as support from a Family Support Worker and a Clinical Psychologist. There are monthly team around the child meetings as well as monthly meetings with other Placement Plus carers. The Fostering Service offers an excellent and wide ranging training programme.

We are very happy with the professionalism and support of all the staff we have encountered at Placement Plus, ISL and the Worcestershire Fostering Service admin. If people are thinking about fostering, I would have no hesitation in recommending that they join Placement Plus.

We have completed 11 training sessions so far. I am part way through the Nurturing Attachments Group which is a brilliant 18-week course. It is informal, interactive and fun as well as being highly informative. I am booked on to 4 more courses this Spring. All our training needs are being met and more besides.” Lorraine Lockyer, Foster Carer – Worcestershire Fostering

“Our priority when organising fostering placements is making the right match for all involved so that the placement is successful and beneficial for all. This is an opportunity to offer the next generation a positive experience of family life and support them to become confident adults.” Barbara Carter, Group Manager of Fostering and Kinship – Worcestershire County Council

“Foster carers make a unique contribution for society and can change the lives of those they care for. Finding more people to become foster carers means that more children and young people can grow up in happy, secure homes, whilst also giving them a positive experience of family life.” Councillor Andy Roberts, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families

Further rewards also include of an enhanced fee payment per week, along with 4 weeks planned respite a year.

If you are an experienced foster carer or have worked or work with children and are looking to expand your skills this scheme could be for you – an attachment based approach to fostering children aged 10+ with more complex needs.

For more information, please visit:

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Fostering is the best job in the world according to new campaign

Fostering is the best job in the world according to new campaign

A new campaign from Worcestershire County Council is hailing Fostering as ‘The Best Job In The World.’

The campaign, which features online and local radio advertising, aims to encourage people to become a foster parent through Worcestershire Fostering.

Worcestershire County Council is committed to improving the lives of children and young people. ‘The Best Job In The World’ slogan reflects its commitment to providing a wealth of support to its foster carers and social work staff, including a range of benefits and services to ensure they can meet the needs of the children and young people they care for.

“Joining the Worcestershire Fostering team from an independent fostering agency was a really smooth and easy transition, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. The support levels have been superior, the training has been great, and I really feel part of the team.” Heidi Turner – Foster Carer

Among the benefits of working with a local authority are the fact that the child remains in the local area, more direct channels of communication, 24/7 emergency support and being part of a strong network.

“By working for a local authority, you enjoy more direct communication with a shorter chain of command, which makes the team more compact and more effective. This approach is more beneficial to the child, and ultimately that’s what fostering is about.” Mike Fesemeyer – Foster Carer

In addition to generous fees and allowances, Fostering with Worcestershire County Council means that a range of expenses including, school uniforms and holidays are covered.

Joining the team also offers access to a wealth of holistic training and professional support from ISL Health & Wellbeing Service, taking in everything from psychological advice, parenting support and therapeutic intervention with children, discounted leisure passes and regular arts, music and events as part of the Green Fingers project.

“We’re hugely proud to offer a wealth of support and guidance to all of our foster carers, helping them to feel valued and ultimately helping to deliver better outcomes to the children and young people in our care.” Barbara Carter – Group Manager – Worcestershire Fostering Service

“The decision to foster a child is one of the biggest you can make but the difference it brings means it’s one of the most rewarding. We’re hoping to inspire people to join us by letting them know about the benefits and support available to our foster parents.”

“With this support, we truly believe that Fostering is ‘The Best Job In The World’, and we’re proud to reflect that in our latest campaign.”

Councillor Andy Roberts, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families at Worcestershire County Council

To find out more about Fostering, and to find out more about joining our team, call: 0800 028 2158

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LGBT Drop-in Sessions – February & March 2018

Two drop-in sessions for prospective foster parents are being held across Worcestershire in the next few weeks.

The first is taking place at KDYT in Kidderminster on February 17th from 10am to 12.30pm.

The second is being held in Bromsgrove on March 3 from 10am to 12.30pm at Bromsgrove Library.

Both informal sessions will allow people to find out more about the fostering process and meet some of the fostering staff.

The events are to coincide with LGBT History Month (February) and LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week which runs from March 5 to 11.

Team Manager Laurie-Mo Gullachsen said: “We look forward to welcoming those interested in finding out more about the rewards of fostering to our LGBT fostering drop-in events.

“Please come along for an informal discussion to find out more about fostering with Worcestershire County Council where we have a fantastic offer of preparation and support for prospective foster carers.”

Worcestershire County Council is committed to improving the lives of children and young people.

Joining the team also offers access to a wealth of holistic training and professional support from ISL Health & Wellbeing Service, taking in everything from psychological advice, parenting support and therapeutic intervention with children, discounted leisure passes and regular arts, music and events as part of the Green Fingers project.

In addition to generous fees and allowances, fostering with Worcestershire County Council means that a range of expenses including school uniforms and holidays are covered.To find out more about fostering and to find out more about joining the team visit www.worcestershirefostering.co.uk or call 0800 0282158.

To read the blog of foster parents Andrew and Richard go to https://www.worcestershirefostering.co.uk/real-stories/our-fostering-journey/
ends

For press enquiries or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact the Council’s Communications team on 01905 766646 or 766642.

Follow us on Twitter @worcscc

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Fostering Campaign Nominated For Award

Fostering Worcestershire, together with 12 neighbouring fostering services, has just been nominated for a UK Public Sector Communications Award. This nomination is in the category of Partnership Engagement Initiative of the Year.

This year, Fostering Worcestershire worked with 12 fostering services of Local Authorities in the West and East Midlands. Together they produced a short film focusing and highlighting the current need to find foster carers for brother and sisters.

An overarching theme of ‘giants’ was devised for the film to blend the concept of ‘giants’, or people who help us in society such as foster carers, and also to highlight the strong bond and relationships that brothers and sisters have as they ‘look up’ and care for each other in life and become ‘giants’ to each other.

Working together in this innovative way resulted in each authority having a high quality short film, at a low cost to each. The film has been showcased and used to raise awareness for the need for more Local Authority foster carers across the regions.

‘Giants’ was launched on the 3rd May 2017 at a premiere screening at The Everyman, The Mailbox, Birmingham with invited special guests, including James Foyle from the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network.

To find out more about the Public Sector Communications Awards: click here.

To see the film, go to the following link:

 

 

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Foster carers needed to keep brothers and sisters together

Here at Worcestershire Fostering we have a current shortage of foster carers who can look after multiple groups of brothers and sisters.

According to The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, over 7,000 more people with the right skills and experience are needed to offer loving, stable and secure homes to children and young people across the UK. In Worcestershire, like many other regions, there is a particular need for those people who might be able to care for siblings.

There is a growing number nationally of brothers and sisters coming into care and as such we need to find suitable foster homes to place them with. We know that it is beneficial to keep them together and often means a child to settle in easier. Ultimately it also allows them to retain the special bond a brother and sister so often has.

We are therefore in search of new or existing carers who would have the capacity and desire to take on brothers and sisters. Not only just for 2 siblings, but there is also a need for 3 and 4 children to be placed together.

Visit the Worcestershire County Council YouTube channel to see a small sample of snippet videos by foster carers and team members, giving their views on why brothers and sisters should not be split up:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9_ETfyryi9ja2zHTJuqGE53haCdQbh5k

Alternatively, if you feel you can help please contact: 0800 028 2158 or you could also visit www.worcestershirefostering.co.uk/giants to see the latest film ‘Giants’ highlighting the importance of keeping brothers and sisters together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fostering Worcestershire have produced the film Giants

Fostering Worcestershire have been working in collaboration with the fostering services of twelve neighbouring Local Authorities to produce the film Giants.

The emotive and sensitive short film focuses on the story of Jack and Ellie; a brother and sister who want to stay together when they find themselves in foster care. The story highlights a key issue in fostering: that of working to keep brothers and sisters together and the need for more foster carers who would consider caring for siblings.

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Unique partnership with other Local Authorities to produce the short fostering film ‘Giants’

Over the past several months Worcestershire Fostering has been thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with 12 fostering services of our neighbouring Local Authorities in the West and East Midlands to produce a dramatization which would be both emotive and sensitive. The short film focuses and highlights the current need for us all, and nationally, to find foster carers for brother and sister groups.

 

The overarching theme of ‘Giants’ was devised for the film to blend the concept of ‘giants’, or people who help us in society, such as foster carers, and also to highlight the strong bond and relationships that brothers and sisters have as they ‘look up’ and care for each other in life and become ‘giants’ to each other.

 

Working together in this innovative way has resulted in each authority having an extremely high quality production, at a low cost to each, which can be showcased and used to raise awareness for the need for more Local Authority foster carers across the regions.

 

‘Giants’ will be launched on the 3 May at a premiere screening at The Everyman Cinema, Birmingham with invited special guests, including James Foyle from the UK’s leading fostering charity the Fostering Network.

 

Here at Worcestershire we will also be hosting our own local Premiere of the film at our annual Foster Carer Conference on 16th May.

 

To view the film visit: www.worcestershirefostering.co.uk/giants where it will be available from noon on the 3rd May.

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Sons and Daughters Month

Every October The Fostering Network run Sons and Daughters Month: Celebrating the Foster Family, the UK-wide campaign helps to celebrate the significant contribution which the children of foster carers make to successful foster care. We are Worcestershire Fostering want to equally show our thanks and all our carers should have now received an invitation to the many events happening in October. We do hope to see you all at one of the events. If you would like to  know more or haven’t received the details please call us on 0800 028 2158.

https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/advice-information/being-foster-carer/sons-and-daughters

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Meet Helen, Penny, Lisa and Sam

It was announced earlier this year by the Fostering Network that we need to find 1000 more foster carers in the West Midlands region. In particular there is an urgent need for carers for older children and sibling groups, along with finding families for long term foster children.

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Who Needs Fostering?

Children and young people of all ages and from all backgrounds to come into foster care when they cannot live with their birth parents for a certain period of time.

Foster care allows families the time to sort out their problems through providing the children with a temporary home and supportive family for as long as they need.

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Different Types of Fostering

What is fostering?

Fostering is the act of providing family life for children who are unable to live with their own parents.

It’s common use to provide temporary care for their children while parents get help sorting out problems or to help children through a difficult period in their lives.

Frequently, children will return home following the resolve of the issue that will have driven them into coming into foster care.

Are there different types of fostering?

A few different types of foster care can include:

Emergency – children will need somewhere safe to stay for a few nights.

Short-term –  carers will look after children for a few weeks or months, while plans are put in place for the child’s future.

Short-breaks – children with disabilities or behavioural difficulties can spend a short stay on a pre-planned, regular basis with a new family while their parents or existing foster parents have a short break for themselves.

Long-term and permanent – there are some children/young people who cannot return to their own families who do not want to be adopted. This is more common with older children or those who have continuous contact with their relatives. These children will live with their long-term foster carers until they reach adulthood and are ready to live independently.

Private fostering – parents will make arrangements for the child to stay with someone who isn’t a close relative and has no parental duties, and the child would stay with them for longer than 27 days. The private arrangement does have rules about how the child is cared for and the local authorities will come in and check on the child’s wellbeing.

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Coming soon… Our next fostering drop-ins!

These are the details of events taking place over the next few months. Further details are included below, or you can contact us for more information…

Fostering Drop-ins

Venue: Fostering Drop-in Event – Saltfest Festival, Droitwich
Date: Saturday, 9th September 2017
Time: 10am-5pm


Venue: Worcestershire Pride Festival – South Quay, Worcester
Date: Saturday, 23rd September 2017
Time: 12pm-6pm


Venue: Fostering Drop-in Event – The Community Room, Waitrose, Worcester
Date: Saturday, 4th November 2017
Time: 10am-12.30pm

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Sons and Daughters Month

sons-daughters-month
BOUNCY castles and facepainting were enjoyed by children during a celebration for foster carers.

Worcestershire Fostering gave thanks to carers through the Sons and Daughters Month – celebrating the foster family.

Khamala and Ian Randall, from the Bedwardine pub, St John’s, organised the fun day at their monthly foster carers support group which is run on the last Wednesday of the month.

Over 30 families enjoyed the celebrations from Worcester as well as Kidderminster and Malvern.

Mrs Randall said: “We run the support group every month and were asked if we could hold the celebration so we had bouncy castles and facepainting from Scallywags and Funky Faces.

“It was a thank you to the children and foster carers.

“There was a lot of positive feedback, everyone had a good time and it was nice to break the ice with carers who hadn’t been to the group before.

“So we are hoping to see them at our next support group this month.

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“The children loved it.”

Every year in October, fostering services across the UK run events or campaigns to recognise and reward children and young people for the important part they play welcoming fostered children into their families.

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Summer 2015 Fostering Recruitment Activity Calendar

– Josh’s Fun Day – Riverside Meadow (Stourport-On-Severn) DY13 8UJ
18th July 2015, 10:00 – 17:00
www.joshs-prayers.co.uk

– The Kingfisher Centre – Redditch (next to JD Sport)
Wednesday 29th July – 10-5.30pm

– National Play Day Event – The Guildhall – Wednesday 5th August 10am to 1pm

– Pershore Town Hall Fostering Recruitment Drop-in
Saturday – 15th August – 10am – 12.30pm
Come along and speak to a foster carer!!

Events at The Hive, Worcester and Bromsgrove Methodist Centre also coming soon.

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Worcestershire Fostering Free Radio Campaign

In order to reach 70 new carers by 2017, Worcestershire Fostering are underway with an active marketing campaign to recruit more foster carers. Key to this is a 6 month Free Radio advert campaign with the introduction of a collection of new advertisements and characters which the listener can hopefully relate too in some small way.

If you or know of anyone who would make a good foster carer please get in touch with the fostering team on 0800 028 2158.

To listen to our new radio adverts please click here.

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Foster Care Fortnight 2015 | Monday 1st June – Sunday 14th June

WORCESTERSHIRE FOSTERING RAISE AWARENESS DURING FOSTER CARE FORTNIGHT

Foster Care Fortnight is an annual event led by the UK’s leading charity, The Foster Network, and aims to raise the profile of fostering. It is the UK’s biggest foster carer recruitment campaign and allows fostering services up and down the country to promote fostering and raise awareness within their communities. There are more than 63,000 children living in Foster Care in the UK, and according to recent figures, an estimated further 8,600 fostering households nationwide are required to meet the demand. In Worcestershire we need to recruit 70 more foster carers by 2017 to meet the growing demand.

Worcestershire Fostering is asking people to “Think Fostering, Talk Fostering“, simply put, think about it and talk about it to your family, friends and colleagues. If enough people can do this, the target of 70 carers is highly achievable especially as Foster Network’s research indicates ‘word of mouth’ regularly referenced as a primary reason for a new carer expressing an interest.

Foster Care Fortnight is an ideal opportunity to promote fostering and Worcestershire will be actively doing just this during the campaign.

The launch of a new website and dedicated YouTube channel will allow potential new foster carers to learn more, with a host of new videos giving valuable insight into fostering.

Amongst other activities, Worcestershire will be taking part in The Foster Network ‘My connection with Fostering is’ campaign. People will be asked to write their connection to fostering in the white space on specific placards, take a photo and share the message on social media.

To find out more about fostering for Worcestershire, visit our Pop-up session during Foster Care Fortnight at The Worcester Woods Country Park on the afternoon of 13th June. Alternatively visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fosteringworcestershire, YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoRHZm0bysp_3cVvGtHMv8A. If you would like to talk to our dedicated fostering information line please call 0800 028 2158.

To find out more about Foster Care Fortnight’s campaign visit

https://www.fostering.net/foster-care-fortnight#.VVSA31RwZdg

#FCF2015 is the hashtag which will be trending during Foster Care Fortnight

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County foster carers in conference spotlight

A special event at Worcester Race Course celebrating the work of foster carers in the county was attended by more than 100 people.

The Foster Care Conference organised by Worcestershire County Council on Wednesday, April 29, was an opportunity for foster carers to meet each other and staff, take part in training workshops and share information.

There were stalls signposting the different services available to help support foster carers. A number of awards were also presented to foster carers during the event.

Head of Provider Services and Transformation, Keith Francis, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the heroic work done by our foster carers. A good setting, great attendance and positive contribution from carers and staff conspired to create a very successful event – one definitely to be repeated.”

Worcester foster carer Gail Hughes, who has been fostering for 13 years said: “The conference was inspiring and uplifting. It was really good to meet up with foster carers and meet professionals from the team.”

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We often get asked many questions

Regarding first time foster carers, there are many questions that are asked regarding fostering and the process.

We’ve created an FAQ for first time foster carers, or those who have already fostered and are curious:

Can I foster if..?

I am an older person?

You can. If you are an older person, a discussion would be held about your personal health and vitality to care for a child/younger person. Older foster carers needn’t worry if it is possible as it is likely they will have experience bringing up their own children which is useful for fostering.
Older foster carers may opt to foster an older child also which may work well.

I am currently unemployed?

Yes, however your availability to foster will need to be reviewed depending on any changes in your employment circumstances.
Staying at home can actually offer stability and consistency regarding the care of your child. However, it is understandable that some foster carers might need to be in work as this is a part of family life.

I am in work?

Of course, provided you have enough time to devote meeting a child/young person’s needs.

I don’t own my own home?

Yes; you will only need to show that you can care for a child or younger person in a secure and safe environment and have the correct resources and enough physical space to accommodate a child.

I already have children?

Yes, however this is an important matter that should be discussed with your children and ensure they are content with your decision to foster.

I have been convicted of a crime?

Varying on the conviction, when it was committed and how you have been living since. Although, those that have a police record for violence or any sexual offences against children will automatically be excluded.

I have recently suffered bereavement?

A prospective foster carer that has recently suffered a significant loss e.g. miscarriage or a death in the family is advised to wait for a length of time prior to proceed with fostering.

I own pets?

There are a majority of pets that are considered to be a valuable addition to a fostering household. Although, it is possible for difficulties to occur, especially if any of your pets pose a threat to the health and safety of any child or young person that is placed with you.

Please call us on 0800 028 2158 for further information about fostering and all the tips you may need.

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LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week 2015: Number of children adopted by LGBT couples has tripled

Charities are soon to be coming together for the LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week 2015.

Since the change in the law over a decade ago, the number of children adopted by LGBT couples has tripled.

It will be a tenth anniversary celebration since the implementation of the Adoption and Children Act that gave LGBT couples the same legal rights as heterosexual adopters, carers from across England, Scotland and Wales will be attending.

New Family Social, a charity supporting adopters and foster carers from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities, is joining forces with Barnardo’s, children’s charity, to mark LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week.

Despite the leap forward, the 2015 campaign will outline the need of carers to come forward and adopt or foster a child, particularly siblings as they are left waiting the longest time for their forever families.

Because of the law change, a total of 1,313 children have been adopted by LGBT couples across England, Wales and Scotland.
This number more than tripling from the mere 90 back in 2007; growing to 370 in 2014.

We’re delighted that same-sex couples have been able to adopt for a decade,” said Tor Docherty, chief executive at New Family Social. “Adoption and fostering agencies recognise the strengths we have as parents and we’re pleased to see the increase in the number of LGBT adoptive families.

We want LGBT people thinking about adoption or fostering to take the first step today because children are waiting for great families who will love them for who they are.

This is is the fourth year we have run LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week and it has grown year on year. This year we have more than 60 adoption agencies taking part in the events across the UK, showing how much of a recruitment focus there is now on the LGBT community.

Our charity was set up in 2007 by and for LGBT adopters and foster carers and we are very proud of the support our 1,900 members give each other, which in turn gives children the confidence of knowing other families like theirs.

Adding to Docherty’s words, Javed Khan, chief executive at Barnardo’s said, “Barnardo’s has always encouraged and supported adopters and foster carers from LGBT communities, long before the legal changes were introduced. As the UK’s largest adoption agency in the voluntary sector, we are delighted to support this year’s campaign.

I’m proud to say that of the 123 children we placed for adoption in the year up to December 2014, 16 are placed with LGBT adopters – a rate of 13% – which is more than twice the national average.

We specialise in finding adopters for older children, children in sibling groups and children with additional or uncertain needs. We are very proud of the contribution our adopters and carers from the LGBT community make towards the work of Barnardo’s in turning around the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.

The week will kick off with a flagship event in Manchester, Monday 2nd March (tonight!) at 18:30. This will be the time for potential adopters to gain all fo the vital information they will require about the adoption process,
There will be roughly 60 events taking place around the country throughout the week, finishing with an event in London, 6th March.

Last year’s figures showed that 6.7% of all adoptions in England, 5.8% in Wales and 2.9% in Scotland were from same-sex couples.

For more information about the event, visit the LGBT website.
Please call us on 0800 028 2158 for further information about our fostering services!

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Rise in adoption by gay and lesbian couples

2014 saw 180 infants adopted by gay partners and another 150 that went to live with lesbian parents, a study by the Department of Education found.

The rise in children being formally adopted by gay and lesbian couples has become more evident, statistics from the Department of Education has revealed.

In 2011, only 120 children had been adopted by either gay or lesbian couples.
Heterosexual couples do still make up the majority of those children that are adopted, however infants are being placed with gay and lesbian parents accounting for one in every twenty cases.

At this present moment, there are just under 69,000 children in the care of the UK’s local authorities.

In 2005, the law allowed unmarried and same-sex couples to assume joint responsibility for a child they had adopted.
This new law was to expand adoption and the pool of potential adoptive parents, as previously unmarried couples living in England and Wales had to adopt individually, with their partners having little to no parental rights.
Since the law was applied, it has been made illegal for charities to discriminate against same-sex couples – this effectively causing all Roman Catholic adoption agencies in England to close.

Some weeks ago, a Christian magistrate had been slated because it had argued that a child should be raised by a mother and father.

No matter a person’s opinion, the opportunity to adopt a child for them to have loving parents is a wonderful thing.
If you’d like some more information about fostering, please call us on 0800 028 2158!

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4 things to think of before fostering

You should consider these 4 things before fostering

It’s in no doubt that fostering is a fantastic solution to providing a home to those who are in need of it, delivering support and help to children across the UK. Fostering can help deliver a long-term loving and secure environment in which they can develop and grow.

In order to foster, it’s a good idea to be aware of what you’ll need to do in order to ensure you’re ready to take such a step. Read our blog to assess whether or not fostering is for you.

Do I know what fostering really is?

It’s not uncommon to look at fostering a child with eyes of excitement and anticipation, but it’s not necessarily a good idea to jump head first into something you know minimal about. Like everything in life, fostering comes with both good and bad times, so be sure that you realise this and are capable of dealing with such inevitabilities before taking the leap.

You can find out more information on fostering through our website or talking to a number of experts who’ll be more than happy to help with your questions.

Do I have the right skills that fostering needs?

Foster children come from all paths of life, ones that come with their own stories and backgrounds. Some are naturally more delicate to deal with than others due to past experiences, so ensuring that they can trust in new strangers in their lives will take a considerable amount of time, effort, consistency and faith. Not only will you need to give the child love as if they were your own, you also need to remember that there’s a risk of becoming over-attached, as the day will come when you need to say goodbye.

Are you willing to work with others?

Remember that although you may be the foster carer, you are just one in an entire team full of people who will be involved with the overall care of your chid/teenager. You may even need to liaise with the child’s family in many cases.

Are you ready?

Fostering requires a great amount of sacrifice from the families involved, as you’ll be effectively opening your home to a stronger, providing love and support, as well as discipline. All of this combined is never an easy task and can have an effect on your own family. Always be prepare for the inevitable ups and downs and seek support for yourself where you should need it.

Fostering is not something in which you can change your mind on halfway through the process. It requires a high amount of pre-thought and consideration, something which isn’t a light decision. Take your time in researching all about fostering, what it will entail and then weigh up the pros and the cons to decide if you’re truly ready to take on a child as your own.

For more on fostering, please call us on 0800 028 2158.

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Fostering teenagers

Teenage years are stressful for everyone, but for someone who has endured something quite distressing at home, adolescence can be extremely tough.

As teenagers are in a critical state at this time of their lives, the correct foster care and action must be taken to ensure that no behavioural damage occurs that could affect their future.

Fostering and caring for teenagers is equally difficult as it is easier as it will take time to be able to communicate with them and help them through with problems or issues they would like to overcome, however they’re easier to communicate with once that wall has been broken as they’re sure of what they want, and require their carer to be able to calmly deal with conflicts that surface.

Key attributes to have:

– Sensitivity
– Patience
– Tolerance
– Understanding

The challenge is there, but it’s a rewarding feeling to be able to assist a young person bring their confidence back and figure out plans for their future.

To see different types of foster care, click here!

Please call us on 0800 028 2158 for more information about foster care.

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Types of fostering

There are a variety of situations that call for fostering, and with that, a variety of fostering types that can fill these situations.

Emergency fostering: This is an option for a child who needs to stay in a safe place for up to a couple of nights on extremely short notice when there is an unexpected event.

Remand fostering: These placements are short-term for when someone is waiting for the return of their case to the court, they will be able to stay with a foster carer.

Intensive fostering: This is a programme which aims to help redirect the lives of vulnerable young people and their families, as an alternative to a custodial sentence.

Youth justice: Another short-term placement for children who need emotional behavioural support, when they at risk of being placed in a secured accommodations or place of custody.

Permanent/long-term fostering: This is for when a child/young person’s situation at home won’t be changing soon, and they might need a place of residence for months/years.

Parent and child placements: These placements are for parents alike that may need support and guidance in learning to care for their children.

Specialist placements: These are designed for those who need to work with professionals upon experiencing neglect, abuse and/or trauma.

Short-term and time-limited fostering: These placements can be requested to meet a particular need of a child coming into care, for example, a parental illness.

Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC): This is a programme that gives children boundaries and the support they requires to help them reach their potential.

Planned break fostering: Thi scheme is to offer support to full-time carers. providing needed cover for holidays, weekends, day-care or babysitting – this gives carers the opportunity to have some time off and some time to themselves.

For more information on adopting and fostering, please call us on 0800 028 2158.

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The difference between adoption and long-term fostering

Many confuse adoption and fostering together and some may not know the difference between them, but that confusion will be erased today.

The decision on whether you choose to adopt or foster a child is a serious matter as they differ widely, and can affect the child’s and your life.

When talking about long-term fostering and adoption, there are similarities, as in the child is provided with a permanent home, but there are differences.

Adoption:
The adoption process is a legal matter, which legally removes the right and responsibilities of that child’s birth parents, and transfers them over to the adoptive parents.
The child loses all rights of inheritance from their birth family, and their surname will be changed to their adoptive family’s.

Adopters also receive support from the social service department that has placed the child with them, until an adoption order is made – post-adoption support can also be given from an approved agency.

In the past, children who were adopted, were usually done so at a very young age, whereas now, adoption agencies are more likely to place children aged 2 – 12 up for adoption.
With older children, children belonging to a family group or disabled children are put up for adoption, social service may offer an adoption allowance, although, these are usually dependant on the adoptive parent(s) income.

Fostering:
The process of fostering doesn’t involve the legal security of adoption for the child or the foster parents, and would usually only continue until the child is 18 years of age.

However, without the legal actions, this means the child has the rights to stay in contact with their birth parent(s), who can actually still contribute to the decisions made with their child and will be involved and encouraged to make frequent contact with their child.

When a child is fostered, their foster carers will be asked to work in a partnership with social workers and the child’s birth parents.

Foster carers, like adopters, will receive regular support  by their social worker. Training will also be provided and weekly income that will cover the cost of caring for the fostered child.
Some agencies may pay additional rates for teenagers, disabled children or children who have emotional and behavioural difficulties.

For information on foster care, please call us on 0800 028 2158!

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One child taken into adoption care every 20 minutes in the UK

According to reports, one child is taken into care across the UK every 20 minutes. Could you help and adopt a child?

According to research by the charity Home for Good, one child is taken into care every 20 minutes within the UK. Staggeringly, this number will continue to rise given nothing is done soon. In a recent advertising campaign, the charity have adopted the WWII evacuation programme, asking for homes across the UK to take in a child, giving hope to today’s adoptive children.

The WWII idea came from the original campaigns created at the beginning of the war. With the UK aware of the threat that children being in larger cities had, they looked to move all young children from the biggest cities to the countryside, where they were less likely to receive any bombings due to the insignificance of the area. Youngsters in the biggest cities like Birmingham and London were sent to safe locations that couldn’t be reached by German bombers.

So, with a child being put into care every 20 minutes – with thousands waiting to be adopted – what can be done to lower this amount?

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is completely backing the scheme, stating that ‘…this is an opportunity to remember the kindness of those who willingly provided a safe haven for those young Londoners.’

A recent survey by the Government showed that potential adopters could be hesitant to step forward due to the possibility that they may be rejected by authorities for either fostering or adopting a child. According to the charity Home for Good, this is simply a myth that must disappear in order to give children the best chances at finding an adoptive family.

He added: “Three quarters of a century from September 1939 we must rediscover the welcoming generosity of Operation Pied Piper.

Though we’re not facing the threat of air raids today, there are still thousands of children in need of a home across the UK. In England alone, it is said that as many as 6,000 children are currently waiting for an adoption family, with another 8,600 need for the foster care of children. At the start of the war, homes that could barely afford to take in a child still did, all in the spirit of helping them with their lives. Homes for Good believe that we need this spirit today.

Are you interested in adoption or fostering a child within the UK?

Get in touch with us for more information on helping a child find a home.

For more on this and industry news, please call us on 0800 028 2158.

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How could I foster a child?

What’s it like to foster a child?

A former Chef, who decided to swap the hectic lifestyle of the kitchen for a life of foster caring, has begun to urge others to do the same as a campaign to recruit more foster parents begins.

Sharon Kennelly is a 43 year old foster carer from Murrow, in the UK. She first became a foster carer with the Foster Care Associates in November of 2013 and she believes that she’s seen life changes for the better.

The campaign in question took place in the East of England, throughout Foster Care Fortnight, which ran between May 12th & 25th. A shortfall of 650 carers in the East of England made the campaign so vital, as more children and young adults become available for adoption yet there aren’t enough carers to meet the demand.

When asked about her experiences being a foster carer she said: “It is the first time I have fostered and it has been quite good fun really. My husband, David, and I had chosen not to have our own children but still felt we could offer something to young people in need so decided to go into fostering.

“I have really thrown myself into it. I absorb a lot of stuff and get on with people very quickly so I decided to become a carer representative for my region which I am really enjoying.

The main aim of the Foster Care Fortnight was to dispel any myths that exist around the the foster carer role, displaying how people from a wide range of backgrounds all have something to give to children and young adults over the UK. A number of different skills and qualities can be used in the foster carer role and the event made people realise just how important they can be.

Sharon added: “The skills you need vary from child to child but I think carers always need to have compassion, understanding and patience but it is really down to the foster carers’ own character and experience.

“I would recommend fostering to people thinking about doing something rewarding with their career, even though it is not for the faint-hearted. I have seen just how fulfilling it is to see the changes in a young person.”

If you think that you have something to give to a young adult or child in the UK, then please contact us on cs-adoptionandfostering@worcestershire.gov.uk or 0800 028 2158 . We’d love to hear from you all regarding your enquiries into taking care of those in need of love and guidance.

Please feel free to connect with us on Facebook for regular updates at https://www.facebook.com/fosteringworcestershire.

 

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A real view on adoption

The adoption process is one of many stages, but how hard is it to adopt?

A new Channel 4 series, called 15,000 Kids And Counting – a number which refers to the vast amount of children that need to be adopted in the UK every single year – gained an unparalleled behind the scenes viewpoint to the incredibly sensitive child protection and adoption process, displaying just how rigorous the procedures that social workers must follow in their bid to re-home children across the UK.

The series fully goes behind the adoption process, giving an otherwise unseen view of what it’s like to adopt a child and how difficult the process can be for many throughout the UK each and every year. Adoptive parents have to go through tests to make sure that they’re suitable to adopt a child of any age. A safe home environment is the basic requirement for any adoptive child, yet other factors come into play when determining if a family is suitable to take on and adopt a child or young adult. Going through an adoption service, such as ourselves, makes the whole experience near painless, as going through external avenues will only lead to numerous difficulties that could prevent a perfectly good family adopting a child, giving them a loving home and life. Using our adoption and fostering service will make the experience as care free as possible whilst helping a small child grow and develop in your family, providing them with the life they deserve.

The number of children being adopted from care is slowly growing with time: 3,980 were housed with adoptive families last year alone, compared to 3,470 the year before, yet the number in need of an adoption has doubled in the past five years, hinting that adoption is becoming a situation that needs more attention. As children get older, it can become increasingly hard for them to find any adoptive parents willing to take them on. Putting it bluntly, older children aren’t necessarily as instantly appealing as a baby.

There’s always going to be a need for new adopters to come forward, especially those who are looking to adopt children and young adults at any age. It’s mostly common that parents will naturally look to adopt a baby, as the human mind sees them as the most in need of love and care, yet new adopters need to understand that adoption and fostering covers children of all ages, not just babies.

If you’d like to learn more about adopting a child, please contact us or visit our website.

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Rise in LGBT adoption & fostering applications

A rise has been seen in adoption and fostering figures

Worcestershire has seen a considerable rise in the amount of adoption applications in the past year, most notably from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. A massive one in seven of the adoption applications came from the LGBT community.

Worcestershire County Council’s Adoption and Fostering Services has reported that they have approved more adoption applications from couples who are a part of the LGBT community in 2013 than in previous years. The figures were released to the public as part of the third LGBT Adoption and Fostering week which began on March 4th.

Could you help a child through adoption and fostering?

Could you help a child through adoption and fostering?

With more LGBT couples and individuals considering and applying for adoption and fostering for children throughout the UK in 2013, Worcestershire’s Adoption and Fostering Services are said to be joining forces with couples in the area, hopefully offering a more productive service for all involved. A drop-in event full of information for those curious about adoption and fostering was hosted on March 8th in Worcester.

The event provided multiple opportunities for the LGBT community to find out more about what exactly is involved in the adoption and fostering process. It’s estimated that year on year, over 4,000 children need adopting across the country, with an additional 9,000 foster carers needing to be found in order to keep up with the demand.

“Our priority is to provide the best possible placement for each and every child in our care, regardless of the carers’ sexuality, gender, age, relationships status or religious beliefs,” said Councillor Liz Eyre, who is a Cabinet Member of Children and Families.

“We are pleased that more LGBT people are making a positive choice to adopt or foster as a way of expanding their family, and we actively encourage their interest.

“From experience we know that LGBT people can bring the love, enthusiasm and resourcefulness required to make adoption or fostering work for them and the children.

“At our LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week event, our approachable staff, along with existing foster carers and adopters, will be on hand to answer questions and help potential parents take the first steps towards providing one of our children with the stable and loving home they desperately need.”

For more information on adoption and fostering in the Worcestershire area, please visit our website.

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more foster families need to be found across the UK

More then  8,600 more foster families need to be found across the UK

New studies have found that at least 8,600 more foster families need to be found across the UK during 2014 – found by the Fostering Network. But it’s not just a case of numbers as the amount of foster families are at an all-time high,

So what happens to children when the right family cant be found? sadly this could mean the children will be living a long way from home, family, school, friends pretty much everything which is familiar.. Causing even more problems for the children. Further disrupting their childhoods which often had a difficult childhood to start with.

In other worse case scenarios children can be placed with unskilled foster parents who won’t be able to handle the child which is what anyone wants, the foster parents who need to be up to the standard to look after a child will need to be very motivated, full of energy and capacity to care for them. If you see it in this sense you’ll understand why, if a parent who is used to looking after toddlers/siblings was placed with a teenager then they may not be able to look after the teenager correctly.

So what’s the issues when fostering?

The Fostering Network has research from last year to show that the previous 2 years at least one in 3 foster carers had felt under pressure to take children which were usually teenagers. Two in 5 had looked after children temporarily due to the fact the fostering services could not find suitable and long-term home.

It’s well known that fostering can be a challenging job for most people, especially when the foster family and child match are not ideal. As fostering a child can be a lot of stress it’s well known for fostering relationships to break up leaving more than 4,000 unplanned endings of fostering placements each year.

However a wider pool of foster carers makes it more likely that fostering services can find the perfect foster home for a specific child the first time round.

 

But of course the recruitment challenge is real and constantly on going,

 

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Tips on Adoption through tough times

In this post we write about the best tips on adoption through tough times as being an adoptive parent isn’t always so easy. With it’s own set of unique challenges as well as getting caught up in meeting everyone else’s needs you sometimes forget looking after yourself.

 

So here’s a few tips when adopting and times are tough

Eating correctly – Often when stressed we forget to eat properly resulting in under-nourishing, Even if times are tough or you’re constantly busy make time for them healthy regular snacks and meals for yourself, this will help when you have a lack of energy after all the running round which brings us on to the next point…

• Proper Sleep – As much as it gets harder to get the right nourishment to replace all the energy you burn a day but when you don’t have the proper sleep, this is when your health can start to deteriorate. Try to have over ideally 6 hours sleep per day to maintain a healthy balance, even if you hear of people who can function good with only 4 hours it’s never always a good idea to keep doing it.

• Make time for family or friends – it’s always good when you can have time to meet up with your family or friends, even just for a talk and a cuppa’ tea it’ll help you from going mental, as looking after children day-in and out without seeing anyone else isn’t an ideal situation for anyone.

Improve family routine – What can be done to improve the daily routines? is there anything you can do which will help make more time in the day to relax or less stress on the children, this is something worth considering and solving.

Ask for help – This is something that is mentioned again and again, it can be hard facing your fears and opening up to people but when there’s a chance they can understand your situation and shred some light then it’s always best to try and ask someone for help.

• Have fun with your children – Parents can often get too caught up in work or dealing with tough daily situations where the fun is forgot about, remember when we was a child we always wanted to go on little adventures, play with new toys or spend time together.. try to keep things simple yet enjoyable.

 

Last but not least Dont forget about how your family are, regardless of all the tough times you’re faced with in day to day life your family is still making progress and will do for many years, as adoption parents you can sometimes forget how well your family is actually doing, never forget this!

 

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Record increase for Adoptions in the UK

The latest statistics from the UK government show an increase of around 15% compared to the previous year, ministers say it is definitely a record.

Children in the UK have been struggling to find new permanent homes over the years causing extreme distress however, the Government has recently had a drive to increase the number of children adopted in the UK to help a child’s life-chances.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, 3,980 children were adopted, up from 3,470 the previous year.

The Officials say the figure is higher than in any year since 1992, when comparable records began.

 

‘Loving homes for adopted children’

In total, there were 68,110 children in care in England in March this year – a 2% rise on the same time last year and 12% up on March 2009.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “It is hugely encouraging that the number of children adopted from care has risen to the highest level yet, but too many children are still waiting too long for stable, loving homes.

“More needs to be done to recruit adoptive parents.”

Of the children in care in March, 75% (nearly 51,000) were being fostered.

David Simmonds, from the Local Government Association, said: “It is heartening to see this record increase in the number of children being placed in loving homes. Councils have been working hard to recruit more adoptive mums and dads and are doing everything in their power to ensure that vulnerable children get the best start in life.

Would you like to find out more about Adoption or Fostering? take a look here.

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Adoption Myth-Busting

There are many myths that surround adoption, and it’s fairly common for people to be confused about who can and can’t adopt, how long it will take, whether there are ever any babies awaiting adoption and why the children need to be adopted. We shall attempt to bust some of these myths so that you can understand the real picture.

I’m not part of a ‘traditional’ couple so I won’t be suitable

It isn’t true that you have to be in a heterosexual relationship and have been married for a set number of years. Couples that are in same sex relationships and single people can and do adopt successfully. We will not discriminate based on your sexuality or relationship status. All that we ask is that, if you are in a relationship, it is a stable and supportive one. When you adopt you are taking the child in to you family life and they are looking for stability. The skills and qualities needed for adoption are provided in Could I Adopt

I’ve heard that you are too old to adopt once you hit 40

There is no ‘upper age limit’ as such, just guidelines that are there to consider the long-term needs of the child. People are choosing to become parents later and later in life and adoption is no different. If you have a child when you’re 45 then you will be in your 60’s by the time they reach independence. All we ask is that you consider the impact parenting may have and how effective you will be as you approach later life.

It takes years to adopt, doesn’t it?

This is a common misconception based around historical stories and occasional cases where delays have occurred. The Government, and adoption services across the UK, are committed to the new agenda “Tackling Delay” which looks to speed up the adoption process and place children who are waiting for adoption sooner.

On the 1st July 2013 the Government introduced a two stage approval process for prospective adopters. The whole process should take six months in total, although you have the opportunity to extend this timescale if required.  The new process allows you firstly to learn more about adoption to ensure that it is right for you, and then to progress quickly into the assessment phase. Find out more about The Adoption Journey.

Whilst the assessment process itself is now quicker, it can be true that find the correct match can take time. We want every adoption to be a success and therefore do all we can to ensure that the right family is matched with the right child. It may be that, once approved, you could wait – but there are currently three children waiting to every one approved adoptive family in the UK so there will not be a shortage of children for you to be considered for.

We’d never get a baby though, would we?

All children with a plan for adoption will have had decisions made on their behalf by the legal system. This process can take time, especially as everyone involved needs to be sure that it is 100% right that they won’t be able to go back home, so by the time the court decision is made some months will have passed. Therefore it is unlikely that babies under the age of 6 months will be awaiting adoption – but this does not mean that babies over 6 months aren’t. In fact in Worcestershire at present we do have a number of children under 12 month old who are waiting for a new family.

Part of the Government’s ‘Tackling Delay’ agenda looks to speed up court proceedings further, as it is vital that children are found new families sooner rather than later. So adopters can and are matched with babies.

Why do so many children need adopting?

There are many reasons why a child or sibling group can no longer live with their birth family, and wherever possible Children’s Social Care will do all they can to work through the issues in order that the child(ren) can return home. However, often the decision has to be made that they will never be able to go home and a permanent family needs to be found for them.

The most common reasons that children are taken in to care relate to situations of neglect due to drug or alcohol misuse, mental illness and/or domestic violence. Each child’s story is different and your social worker will explain the background of any child for whom you are identified as a possible match.

 

You can find out more about Adoption in Worcestershire by requesting an Information Pack online or by calling 0800 633 5442. You can also attend an Information Evening which will help you decide whether adoption is for you. The Government’s gateway First4Adoption.org.uk are there to help you if you want more independent advice.

 

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Fostering – a life choice.

Making the decision to foster a child is one of the most honourable and rewarding choices you can make. Adoption & Fostering Services at Worcestershire County Council, to provide information and support to people living in Worcestershire who are considering adopting or fostering. As a local authority we have a responsibility to find families who are able to care for children who need them.
If you’re considering fostering a child, there are five important points that you must first consider before embarking on this life-changing journey.
1. Stability
Children are placed into foster care for a great number of reasons. Some have been orphaned as a result of their biological parents suffering an accident; others may have been placed voluntarily into care as their parents were unable to look after them properly, while others may be the victims of abuse or neglect.
The one thing that any child needs in their life is stability. If in a relationship, it is imperative that you and your partner discuss your relationship in an open and honest manner. A fostered child needs to sleep soundly in the knowledge that their new foster carers are able to provide a stable environment in which they can live, so this must be something that you are confident you can offer.
2. Support networks
Looking after a child is a time-consuming task, whether they are foster children or not. It is essential, therefore, that you ensure that you and your partner have a strong support network to help when the stresses and strains of everyday life become too much.
This support network should ideally consist of close friends and a loving family, both of which should be willing to help out with childcare and emotional support at a moment’s notice. Steps to Fostering can then be more closely examined.
3. Employment flexibility
Although fostering is a full-time profession, there are different types of fostering options. It is possible to carry on working while looking after a foster child, but it requires a great deal of understanding and flexibility on the part of your employer.
If you’re considering making the decision to foster, you should discuss the matter openly with your current employer, addressing issues such as part-time or flexible working. If you are going to continue working after you foster a child, it’s important that you take on that child safe in the knowledge that your current employer understands your new need for flexibility.
4. Emotional readiness
While you may initially see fostering as a process which is difficult solely for the child, it’s important not to forget to analyse your own emotional readiness, ask yourself – Could I foster? While some foster placements will be for the long term, many are short term, until a suitable family can be found to adopt your foster child or until they return to their family.
The constant changes in your life, getting to know new children, bonding with them and then seeing them move on, can take its toll over the long term. Before you begin your fostering journey, it’s important to assess whether you can deal with this emotional turbulence. If you decide to proceed, ensure you utilise the help of your social worker and your support network during this time.
5. Attention
If you don’t have children, or only have one child, it can be easy to underestimate the time, love and attention that another child requires. Having previous experience of bringing up children is beneficial, but no two children are the same. It’s entirely possible that your foster child may require more attention than you’re capable of giving him or her.
Before fostering, it’s imperative to consider the realities of increasing the size of your family and whether or not you truly will be able to cope with the increased demands on your time and energy.
A life choice
Making the decision to foster a child is a choice that has the potential to positively transform your life, as well as the lives of many children in need of a loving home. To consider some of the many frequently asked questions, have a look at our FAQs. We know that making the decision to adopt is a huge step. In order to find out whether it could be right for you and your family you need to know more about what’s involved. The www.isfostering4me.co.uk site aims to guide you and support you as you make one of the biggest, yet most rewarding decisions anyone can make.

Please contact us for more information see the Worcestershire Foster website or call Adoption: 0800 633 5442, or Fostering: 0800 028 2158

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Wonderful reasons for adopting a child

Genuine love for children
Although it may sound an implausible reasoning, there are many couples that adopt children due to their love for young ones and wanting to extend that love.  Their love for family and children is so compelling that they adopt, irrespective of whether they have natural heirs or not.

A couple with two or more children of the same sex
If a couple already has two boys, they may crave for a girl child or vice versa. With no control over the sex of a natural child, they fear trying again. But they find it much safer to go ahead and adopt a readymade child of the opposite sex. Some couples adopt children out of their specific choice of sex/gender of the child. They may even adopt two children of both the sexes and complete the family thus.

A couple with only one child 
Sometimes the ‘only’ child is a very lonely child. However, a couple, especially the mother, may not have the energy to go through the entire process of pregnancy and childbirth to pander to the needs of this only-lonely child. It seems much simpler to adopt a second child and complete the family. 

A single person who wants to experience parenthood
Miss Universe and film actress Sushmita Sen, is a single mother who adopted a child. As she puts it, – “this little girl needed a mom and I needed a child.” It can be as simple and beautiful as that.  Not just celebrities, but also common people, who wish to remain single, adopt children, in order to experience the joys of parenthood.

To ease global population
Some people genuinely believe that the world does not need any more children. They feel for the children who do not have families and home. Therefore, they decide to adopt children from this overpopulated world. What a noble thought! It is one of the most touching ways of serving the social cause.  

Thallasaemics
Those suffering from thallasaemia or any other high-risk genetic problems or incurable diseases decide that it is safer to adopt a child than try for one.

For more local informations, please check Worcestershire Fostering, Kidderminster Fostering, Droitwich Fostering, Evesham Fostering, Stourport Fostering, Bromsgrove Fostering, Redditch Fostering, Worcester Fostering and Malvern Fostering.

If you’re asking yourself whether you could adopt, we’re here to answer the questions you many have.  Call us on 0800 633 5442 or email us cs-adoptionandfostering@worcestershire.gov.uk.  We’re here to help you today.

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8 reasons NOT to Adopt

1.  Infertility issues. – Struggling with infertility and feeling a strong need to parent a child and not fully grieving the loss of the ability to have a birth child. It’s important not to skip the step of grieving the loss associated with infertility. It would not be fair if a child enters a family as a sort of replacement. It’s only a matter of time before the child doesn’t meet the expectations of the parents and the adoptive placement begins to fail. The adoptive parents may also begin to resent the child and feel unfulfilled as parents. The child will also feel this resentment from his parents. Take your time – Adoption may well be right for you and your partner soon, but should not be seen as an immediate solution.

2.  Needing a playmate. – Adoption is not a way for a child already in the home to gain a playmate. The adopted child is not added to the home in order to meet the needs of the adoptive family. Again, expectations may not be met and the child will feel the family’s disappointment. There are other ways for a child to gain a playmate. Consider neighborhood children, joining play groups, or putting your child in activities or clubs.

3.  Save a relationship. – Adoption is not a way to save a failing marriage. Just like couples who think a pregnancy will save a marriage, an adoption will not save a relationship – the starin it can put on a stable relationship is immense, let alone a struggling one. Adoption may distract a couple from core issues, but that distraction will only last for a while. In time the issues that brought about discontentment within the home will return once the new wears off the adoption. This is another unfair situation to bring a child into.

4.  Fear of empty nest. – Some people, especially mothers, grow concerned about what life will be like once all of their children leave home – empty nest syndrome. It is then that some may consider adding more children to the family so that never happens. Adoption is not the answer. This would be another situation of the adoptive family looking for a child to meet their needs. Look at other ways the empty nest may be a blessing and open new doors and opportunities. If you feel you have love, time and patience to spare then why not consider Fostering?

5.  My spouse wants to adopt. – Don’t agree to adopt a child just to please a spouse who really wants to adopt. If you are not interested in adding to the family through adoption, then don’t do it. This is another situation where the child will feel the dissension within the family. Adoption could put a huge strain on a relationship and therefore must be a decision made by both parties.

6.  Meeting the family’s need. – Adoption is not a way to gain attention for yourself, or to meet any need you may have, not even your need to parent a child. Adoption should not be about you needing a child. Adoption is about you being ready to parent a child who needs a family.

7.  Something or someone is missing. – The adoptive family feels the need to fill a hole within their own lives. A hole that may be due to the loss of another child. Again, the child should not be there to fill your family’s need. The adopted child should not be expected to fill the spot of another child.

8.  A calling. – Adoption is not a way to repay a debt to society, a good deed, or a “Christian Duty.” It’s about providing a home for a child that needs a home and you being willing and ready to parent that child through the good and the bad. These reasons may spark or trigger your interest in adoption, but will not be enough to sustain you as a family while parenting your adopted child into adulthood.

For more details on Adoption Worcestershire, see our FAQ’s or contact us direct on 0800 633 5442.  Our foster care and adoption website also has much more information, we encourage anyone considering fostering or adoption to take your time to navigate through the site. Thank you.

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