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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