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

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


Compass Carer Wins Fostering Award

We are delighted to be able to congratulate Karen Haddad on winning the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Award’ with FosterTalk.

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Karen Haddad from Bolton has won the Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Award at the annual FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the children and young people in her care.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, opened the ceremony and Karen received her award from World Champion and Olympic medallist sprinter, Jamie Baulch, who was in care himself until he was adopted at six months old, and Debbie Douglas star of TOWIE, foster carer, and government ambassador for fostering.

Karen, who has fostered with Compass Fostering for seven years, together with her husband Malek, currently has two young people in her care, alongside her birth daughter Amani. She was nominated for the award by foster daughter, Maariyah. Commenting on why she feels Karen is so deserving of this award, Maariyah said:

“When I first came into care seven years ago, it was life changing. Karen treated us like we were her children and she so deserves this award. I read about last year’s awards and decided then to nominate Karen for the amazing amount of effort she puts into helping us do whatever we want to do.
“Karen has the kindest nature I have ever seen in any person, she is so comfortable to be around and makes you relaxed and at ease. She talks to you and wants to know how your day went and what went wrong – she is always there when you need her and motivates you to do the best you can. That’s what I call care.”

Now in its third year, the FosterTalk awards highlight how foster carers are fundamental in turning young people’s lives around and Karen is dedicated to doing just that.
“I was so surprised when I heard about this award and delighted! The house has been buzzing since we heard, but it’s really for all of us as we’re a fostering family. We’ve fostered for seven years and all of us have thrived as a result. We’ve all learned so much from one another and it has made our family full of life and laughter. We started fostering because my birth daughter, Amani, was an only one and I wanted her to grow up with other children and we’ve never looked back.” Karen explained.
Karen continued: “For me, fostering is about opening up as many opportunities as possible to help the children have the best chance in life. This award is the icing on the cake for all of us.”

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Bernie Gibson, managing director of Compass Fostering, said:
“Karen is such a worthy winner of this award and it is particularly special that she was nominated by Maariyah. She has invested so much in creating a happy and thriving family environment and we are delighted to see her efforts being recognised.
“Being a foster carer is so rich in rewards and I’m pleased to see the dedication of carers being acknowledged in such a positive way with these awards.”
Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, said:
“As someone who grew up with over 80 foster siblings, I have seen first-hand that a stable and nurturing home environment is essential to helping children achieve their potential. Foster carers make a huge impact on children’s lives, and the awards highlight the incredible commitment and love that families like these bring to fostering some of our most vulnerable children across the country.”

Melody Douglas, managing director of FosterTalk, comments: “Working with foster carers every day, we see the enormous commitment and positive difference they make to the children and young people in their care. We’re delighted to be presenting these awards for the third consecutive year to shine a light on some of the inspiring achievements of foster carers across the UK and celebrate the work that all carers do to give the children in their care a safe, stable home and access to life-changing opportunities.

“We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges, but this award for Karen is well deserved. Not only has she made a difference to the children in her care, but she actively encourages others to think about fostering and we hope that our awards inspire other people to consider becoming foster carers too.”

FosterTalk helps more than 30,000 foster carers nationwide, working alongside over 190 fostering services in the support of their foster carers. FosterTalk’s membership package offers a range of support to foster carers including tax and benefits advice, legal advice as well as counselling. Visit www.fostertalk.org for more information.

 


Parent and Child Fostering article in the Daily Mirror (31/08/2016)

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One of our foster carers has had an article written about her and her experiences with Parent and Child fostering for the Daily Mirror newspaper. (Published 31/08/16).

 

Yvette and others like here, look after both mothers and babies, helping vulnerable young women. The article highlights the outstanding work carried out by Yvette, and shows both the benefits and challenges of Parent and Child fostering.

To read the whole article on the Mirror website please click here.

 

Update:

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Yvette was on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 this morning (14/09/16) talking about Parent and Child fostering. If you missed it you can listen again by clicking here (the feature starts at 12:15).

 

Click here to learn more about parent and child fostering.


SIX MEN AND A LITTLE LADY: HOW EIGHT-YEAR-OLD CHLOE INSPIRED A GROUP OF FRIENDS TO UNDERTAKE A GRUELLING CHALLENGE

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When three-year old Chloe Taylor*, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, said that she wanted to become a ballerina, foster mum Louise Ellis was determined to help her achieve her dream. Despite being unable to stand or walk unaided, in 2014 Chloe became the first disabled child in the country to take and pass her pre-primary ballet award with the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance, impressing the judges so much that she was invited to visit the Royal Ballet in London.

In June and now aged eight, Chloe underwent a major operation to help her walk, potentially bringing her closer to fulfilling her ambition of dancing with other children. However, the two-year rehabilitation programme Chloe needs is set to cost £50,000 – a challenge which prompted foster brother-in-law Matthew Cox to persuade his friends to join him in a truly daunting challenge.

The friends will be running a 48 hour, non-stop, 271 mile run from Matthew’s house in St Just, Cornwall, through Bodmin, Taunton and Bristol all the way to Chloe’s home in Gloucester. The idea was born at Matthew’s wedding to Kelly, Chloe’s foster sister, in March 2016. Matthew explains:

“Chloe is just the most remarkable child. When Kelly and I got married she was our flower girl, and her determination, spirit, character and beautiful smile won everyone over. Her love of dancing also shone through and there were lots of jokes about how she needed better dance partners than us

“A couple of days after the wedding, my mates and I decided that we wanted to do something to help raise money for Chloe’s rehabilitation, which is so important in making sure that the operation was a success. We knew that the tougher the challenge, the more money we would raise, so we decided to run this enormous distance in a non-stop relay. The training is really hard, but all six of us are committed to doing what we can to help.”

In addition to Matt – a primary school teacher, the team is comprised of recruitment consultant Daniel Batemen (28), salesman Adam Nicholls (29), Lawn Tennis Association co-coordinator James Preston (28), school games organiser Daniel Lugg (30), and media strategist Ryan Forrester (29). The six men have set up a website and a Facebook page to promote the run and to document Chloe’s recovery after her operation.

The run will take place on 1st September 2016 and the group has already reached its target of raising £10,000. This will be added to a remarkable £27,564 already raised by Chloe’s foster family, who are carers with Compass Fostering. “Even with the £10,000 that we have raised so far, Chloe’s family still need to raise another £15,000 to pay for the rest of Chloe’s rehabilitation programme so there is still so much more to done,” said Daniel Batemen.

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Explaining the importance of Chloe’s surgery and rehabilitation, foster mum Louise said:
“Chloe has been doing ballet since she came to live with us when she was three years old. She was always adamant she didn’t want to dance as a ‘disabled child’ – she just wanted to dance with other children. Sadly, it took us a while to find a ballet school to accept her; eventually, I found Linda Virgoe and her dance studio. Linda was totally committed from the start to fully integrate Chloe into the dance school. Chloe still attempts every movement as closely as her limbs will allow and performs yearly in the dance shows; she attends a mainstream school and always insists that no allowances are made for her disability.”

Referring to her surgery earlier this year, Louise continues: “Chloe has recovered really well from the operation but there is still a long way to go. The procedure is called Selective Dorsal Rizotomy (SDR) and its purpose was to improve the mobility in Chloe’s legs. The best outcome would be for her to be able to walk completely unaided but, without the equipment and support needed for the two-year rehabilitation programme, the operation will not enable her to live life to the full.”

“Her therapies since the operation include physiotherapy, time with a personal trainer to improve strength and conditioning with a personal trainer, swimming twice a week, and ‘hippo’ therapy (which is on a horse). It costs around £1000 a month to complete all her therapies and she is likely to need this for the next 2 years.”

Every donation brings Chloe a step closer to achieving her dancing dreams. To donate, please go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/runforchloe or https://www.gofundme.com/kqtf9xwc


NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. *Chloe’s surname has been changed to protect her anonymity
  2. For interviews or photographs, please contact miriam@richcommunications.co.uk
  3. If you can support this challenge by running with them, provide physio, massage or cheer them on their last leg to Gloucester, the Ellis family would love to hear from you.
  4. Visit www.facebook.com/run4chloe to connect with them and to track the runner’s progress.
  5. To follow the runners’ progress, visit their Facebook page at  http://gb.mapometer.com/running/route_4290927

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


Compass Fostering announces sharp increase in referrals of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children

Leading fostering agency asks families to step forward to meet growing need

The number of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) referred to a national fostering agency since May 2015 has risen to 275 in three months, almost five times as many as the same period in 2014 (56).

In addition, the number of UASC referrals in July 2015 is more than double that of May 2015.

Compass Fostering is a national fostering agency. It receives referrals from Local Authorities seeking to place children with foster families. The agency recorded:

• 140 referrals during July 2015, compared to 34 in July 2014
• 75 referrals during June 2015, compared to 11 in June 2014
• 60 in May 2015, compared to 11 in May 2014

The youngest child referred for a foster placement with the agency was 12 years old. Most were between the ages of 14 and 16 and were almost exclusively boys: only two children referred for foster care were girls. Their primary countries of origin were Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Albania, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Vietnam and Morocco.

Referrals are made across the UK, but most commonly come from London, Kent, West Sussex and the West Midlands.

Bernie Gibson, Managing Director of Compass, explained that often the children were found abandoned on motorways after being smuggled into the country. She highlighted the need for more families to help meet the need for UASC fostering.

“Whatever the politics of the situation, the welfare and rights of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children have to come first.

“They are particularly vulnerable, arriving here alone, unable to speak English and often having experienced a trauma in their past and on their journeys.

“A number of our foster carers speak many languages, which can be really helpful in terms of giving care and support to a newly-arrived child. However, we always need more families to step forward to foster.

“Our carers are never made to feel that they have to cope with any difficulties alone. They have access to round-the-clock support and receive frequent visits from our team of highly experienced social workers”, she said.

Carers also receive a generous allowance (from £20,000 to £40,000 per year depending on individual needs and other circumstances) for every night that a child or young person lives in their home. “The allowance enables carers to fully meet the needs and expenses of the child or young person placed,” Bernie explained.

Notes
1. For interview requests please email miriam@richcommunications.co.uk or call 07810 395490


Foster Care Fortnight Celebrations

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Foster Care Fortnight is just around the corner! Running from 1st-14th June 2015, the annual campaign started by The Fostering Network aims to encourage a people with the right skills and qualities to foster to come forward to meet the needs of children in care. You can find out more about Foster Care Fortnight here.

The theme this year is ‘make a connection’, so to celebrate Compass will be hosting parties up and down the country for all of our staff, young people, carers and their family and friends. It’s really a chance to get together in order to celebrate your continued support and commitment in making a difference to children’s lives. It will also be an opportunity for us to say thank you for all the amazing work you do all year round! Have a read below of some of the events we’ve got planned for the day.

    Cymru – River Party

We’ll be having Fish n’ Chips and ice-cream to celebrate from 11am onwards. We will be meet in Betws-y-Coed before heading down to the river. So bring your wellies to paddle, a blanket to sit on and a board game to play; Ludo, Dominoes or Frustration to name a few!

    Manchester – Picnic Party

In Mancherster we’re hosting a picnic in a park from 11am onwards. There will be a picnic, refreshments and a number of activities for young and old, including pitch & putt, adventure playground and a boating lake. Don’t forget your picnic blanket!

    Leeds – Food, Fun & Games

Over in Leeds there will be a selection of Food, Fun & Games for everyone to enjoy at a local Baptist Church starting from 3pm onwards.

    Loughborough – Funday

Our Central team will be holding a funday at the Loughborough office. There’s going to be a picnic, free ice cream van, bouncy castle, giant games and more!

    Hornchurch – Party

London and Eastern will be hosting party with food and drink at the Hornchurch Office to celebrate Foster Care Fortnight and also to give Gary Nolf Operations Manager a good send off.

    Findon – Garden Party

Families Fostering is putting on a garden party and picnic from 11 – 3pm in Findon. There’s going to be fun and games for all attending


If you are a staff member or carer, please RSVP to your local centre if you’d like to come so that we can make sure we supply you all with enough food and drink!