News - Stay up-to-date with our news and all the latest developments in the fostering community.

Support Rhian in the London Marathon 2018

I would greatly appreciate it if you would be willing to sponsor me and support a really worthwhile and local cause.

We are so proud to support our East supervising social worker Rhian Coe, who is running the London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April. She is raising money for a fantastic local charity in Braintree, the CSS Charitable Trust, and has already raised 79% of her fundraising target.

In Rhian’s own words:

“I am running it for a great local charity, the CSS Charitable Trust in Braintree that provides financial support to worthy causes in the Braintree area. They support individuals, families, groups and small charities. There are many chairties for bigger things but this is a charity for the smaller things in the Braintree area. For example, they provided a new mobility scooter to a man that was a victim of mobility scooter theft, giving him back his freedom to get out and about. They helped a family with children with mobility problems by landscaping their garden so they could access the outside with more ease in their wheelchairs.

Over this past year they have helped support children and families who have needed to fundraise themselves towards vital health treatment, services and much needed equipment. Another example of their financial support is to local small charities such as the Braintree Area Food Bank and the Braintree District Mencap Society.”

If you would like to support Rhian and the CSS Charitable trust, please click here.


Compass East and South East

To help continue with our dedication to improving children’s lives, we are excited to announce we are broadening our coverage of England.

As of the 1st April, Moments Fostering and Fostering People Too will officially become part of Compass Fostering. Moments Fostering will be joining our Gravesend office to form our new South East region that will serve Kent. Fostering People Too will be joining our current Newmarket office in creating a new East region. This will serve East Anglia and Essex.

We hope you will join us in officially welcoming them to the Compass Community.


We are proud to announce our new East and South East regions


To help continue with our dedication to improving children’s lives, we are excited to announce we are broadening our coverage of England.

As of the 1st April, Moments Fostering and Fostering People Too will officially become Compass Fostering. Moments Fostering will be joining Gravesend in forming our new South East region serving Kent. Fostering People Too will be joining Newmarket in creating a new East region. This will serve Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend, Suffolk and Thurrock.


Central Staff Engagement Day 2017

Yesterday (11th October) we had our first Staff Engagement Day for the Central region, where we had heard talks, stories, and even songs!

It also gave us another opportunity to celebrate our Outstanding Ofsted result!

Andrew Hore said:

“Thanks for the day we all really enjoyed it. It was great fun and Luke’s speech was very inspiring”


What to do on results day – A guide for young people

What to do on results day:

The night before you collect you results try to get a good night’s sleep. Getting your results can be both an exciting and anxious time.
Make sure you know what time and where to collect your results and aim to be on time.
Well done if you have achieved or succeeded your grades!
If you tried your best but haven’t quite achieved the grades you hoped for or needed for your next step whatever that may be – don’t panic!

College application
If you have applied to a college and haven’t achieved the exact entry requirements, contact the college in the first instance. Colleges can be flexible and depending on your grades it may not make a difference however it is advisable to call them. On some occasions you may be offered a lower level course which just means you have an extra year of study but this can be a good thing as you will gain more skills and knowledge along the way and give you a good understanding of your subject for the following year’s course.

Sixth form and year 13
For sixth form and year 13, if you haven’t achieved the desired grades speak to the post 16 adviser within the school, they may be flexible with entry requirements depending on your grades.
However if you do not have the desired grades for 6th form it is hoped you have a back-up plan of another school or college place. Call the school or college immediately on receiving your results.
Many colleges will accept applications on results day if they have the places available on their courses.
If all else fails and you find yourself without a post 16 or college place, there are other options such as apprenticeships and training providers offering courses which have start dates after September.
Most importantly speak to the adults around you who will help you to make decisions.

Unhappy with your exam results?
If you are unhappy with your results, speak to your teachers about the best options for you. You might decide to see your exam paper, go for a review, or re-sit your exam.
Further reading:
https://www.gov.uk/appeal-exam-result
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/appeal-exam-results-for-schools-colleges-and-private-candidates

University
Congratulations if you have achieved the grades you needed for your chosen University course.
If you haven’t achieved the grades you needed you can apply for other courses through Clearing.
Clearing is a service from UCAS which gives students a final chance to apply for a university course beginning in September. It runs from mid-July to September each year.
In Clearing you can see which courses have places remaining. You can use Clearing if you:
• have already completed a UCAS application
• apply after 30 June – You’ll automatically be entered into clearing if you apply late for your course (after 30 June)
• didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
• didn’t meet the conditions of your offers

Finding a course through Clearing
You can find out which courses have vacancies through UCAS from mid-August to late September. Not all universities or courses have vacancies, and some may be filled quickly.
You can contact universities and colleges about getting a place once you’ve got your exam results.

Learn how clearing works
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/apply-and-track/results/no-offers-learn-how-clearing-works

Accepting an offer
You can only accept 1 offer. When your place is confirmed, you have to accept it and can’t look for another place.

Help & advice
Contact the UCAS Exam Results Helpline for free advice – 0808 100 8000

Useful websites and apps:
Apprenticeships – www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
The Princes Trust – www.princes-trust.org.uk
UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Application Service) – www.ucas.com
National Careers Service – www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
Child line (free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people) – www.childline.org.uk
Stop Breathe & Think. A free mindfulness, and meditation app aimed to reduce stress and anxiety – stopbreathethink.org
Calm. A free meditation app to reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier – Calm.com


We Are ‘Outstanding’

Ofsted Outstanding

We Are ‘Outstanding’

Compass Fostering Central is rated Outstanding by Ofsted. The report stated that we “contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children & young people.” and that “Foster carers benefit from a high level of support from the agency, including a responsive out-of-hours service. The range and quality of training available to foster carers are exceptional.”

Other notable comments from the report were that:

“Children are at the heart of this service. Leaders and managers demonstrate a huge amount of passion, ambition and commitment to ensuring that children achieve the best outcomes possible and improve their life chances. As a result, children make exceptional progress from their starting points. They experience stable family life and form extremely positive relationships with their foster carers.”

“Foster carers benefit from a high level of support from the agency, including a responsive out-of-hours service. The range and quality of training available to foster carers are exceptional. Training is used effectively to improve foster carers’ understanding and competence and, thereby, the care and support they provide to children”

“The education service is developing highly effective, innovative ways of supporting and promoting educational outcomes. Consequently, children’s education attendance and attainment are above the national average for children looked after.”


Family Tracing

A true account written by one of our foster carers regarding the young person placed with her finding his family:

I currently care for 2 unaccompanied asylum seekers, both from Afghanistan. After a few months of being in the UK, myself and one of the boys approached the Red Cross family tracing service to see if they could help trace his family back in Afghanistan. A few meeting took place, maps drawn, names of people and places forwarded on to the Red Cross workers in Afghanistan. My YP was very concerned about his family as he had no idea of what had happened to his family, after he had fled. After 11 months of waiting last week we got a very rushed, excited call from the Red Cross; stating they have a very strong lead on a family and believe it to be my YP’s family. The next morning first thing we went to the Red Cross, where they spoke with my YP and then made the call..

After 20 months of having no idea about his family, he got to speak to his mum, brothers and other family members! They were all safe and well and were looking for him, with help from a charity in Pakistan.

It was an amazing moment to witness, and to be a part of the whole process. The relief and absolute joy on my YP’s face, will stay with me forever. They have exchanged numbers and emails with the help of the Red Cross, so they can maintain contact.

When my other YP arrived in the UK 12 months ago, he knew he had a brother in the UK. Although he had no idea where in the country he was, as there had been no contact for seven years!

After my YP had been in the UK for a couple of months he started to find other Afghan boys, and realised there was quite a big community of people from Afghanistan. He started to ask around about his brother, although he had no date of birth and their surnames were different. I got a phone number for the elder of the Afghan community and spoke with him on the phone. He had been expecting my call, as he had heard about a boy looking for his brother. To my surprise he knew my YP’s brother as he himself had been in foster care in the same city! But was now living independently 25 miles away. I passed on my number to the elder, and less than 24 hours later my YP’s brother called me!

This again was an amazing moment. After a few checks were done, and social workers were happy, they were reunited in my house. They had been separated for seven long years, and NEVER thought they would see each other again! They now have regular contact and are very happy.

I wanted to write these two incredible stories to encourage and give hope to any other person looking for family or friends. It IS possible and please don’t give up trying.

By Shanine – Foster Carer Compass Central


Manchester Attack

On Monday evening, 22 people were tragically killed and dozens more injured after a bomb exploded at the Manchester Arena; many of them were children.

Compass Community wanted to show the people of Manchester that they are not alone and have donated to the Manchester Evening News Fund which was set up to help support the families of those killed and injured in the aftermath of the attack. Our thoughts are with these families.

If you’d also like to donate, please see:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/westandtogethermanchester


Fostering UASC – A Foster Carer’s Perspective

A Carer’s perspective on Fostering UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children) from Syria.

 

What is happening in Syria?

Well, in a nutshell, the country’s leader and army decided to declare war on his own people, so the country’s army is shelling and bombing every civilian target there is. During this, families have lost their homes, or left for safety to neighbouring countries. Many decided to take a leap of faith and migrate further looking for safety. The numbers of refugees are now in the millions so now the Syrian problem is a worldwide problem and not just a regional one.

 

Caring for Muslim youngsters? Are you nuts? What about ISIS…

Ok here is a bit of news; ISIS has around 20,000 members, mostly adult male fighters who are spread between Iraq and Syria. The Syrian population is 22 million, making the chances of you getting an ISIS child NIL. A refugee child is a scared individual looking for a safe place to call home.

 

But the child comes with no history? How do I know who am I taking?

Legitimate concern, but let’s take a look at the children we already care for now. They often come as an emergency placement, sometimes with no history or an inflated one as logs are often made by professionals trying to protect their backs. You still take that child and then problem solve as you have him or her in your household,

As carers we are always taking risks with who we take in our homes and that is a part of the job. Syrian children are no different to that, they come with the advantage that they mostly have had positive parenting before this war. They are respectful and full of gratitude – I know a few carers who will only take asylum seekers because of the level of respect they offer.

 

How about culture differences and diet restrictions, it’s going to be a nightmare?

Humanity is universal; Stick to this faith and you will be fine. The smile is an international language, it speaks louder than any words.

 

Here are a few tips that can help bridge the culture gap:

Halal Diet: No alcohol, meaning no alcohol, including cooking sauces and to any product that has alcohol as part of its manufacturing process. EXCLUDING MEDICINE. If in doubt always go vegetarian where possible, the kids will not mind, in fact they will love you for including them at meal times.

No pork, No Ham, No Bacon. This also extends to any product made from pig such as pork gelatine sweets. If you wish to educate yourself further on Halal diet you can do so, but sticking to these basic roles would be a great help.

Toilet habits may be slightly different as well. Muslims wash with water every time they use the toilet. Having a small garden water jug under the sink would make a child’s life a lot easier. These can be bought from home bargains, B&Q and even the Pound Shop. Remember they would not like to use toilet paper and there is a slight chance that the child may not be familiar with a toilet seat. In general Syria uses a different concept of toilet seats, it wouldn’t harm using sign langue to explain the flushing and the general rituals of the toilet, male to male and female to female demonstration would be more sensitive to the cultural gap. Hold the jug and tell them it is ok to use it.

Dogs and pets are fine, but if you notice that your child is praying it would help them to keep the dog out of the their room as they would need to keep that space a pet free zone.

 

Where can I get more help?

Check your local mosque, there is likely to be one you didn’t know about nearby. If not there are plenty of communities and literature online that can help. The council would be also be a good starting point. Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and thank you once more for the job you are doing :).

You are amazing as they keep telling you, you really are.

Malek Haddad
Foster carer Compass Fostering