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

Do you know the true picture of foster care in the UK?

The pressures of contemporary life see more and more children end up in care. But, as a society, we still seriously underestimate the numbers involved. In a recent survey carried out by Compass Fostering, people reckoned that around 27,000 children are in foster care. In fact, the actual number is nearer 55,000. And that’s growing every year.
Fostering benefits everyone

Putting foster families under pressure

This growing demand for foster care puts Britain’s foster families under increasing pressure. Although 90% of people realise the number of children in foster care is growing, they’re unaware of all the commitment involved. The survey found that almost half of active foster parents have given homes to more than five foster children, while 22% of foster parents have cared for more than 10 different youngsters.
why should you become a foster parent

What makes someone decide to foster?

With the need for more carers so clear, we also surveyed foster parents to see why they got involved in the first place. Nearly a third of foster parents said that their own life experiences encouraged them to provide care and support to children. But the primary motivation for carers is “to give children and young people a secure family environment.” And it’s good to know that’s the same motivation the general public ascribes to foster carers too.

Fostering benefits everyone

Foster carers also explained that they don’t just foster for altruistic reasons. More than 25% of foster carers have learned new life skills and their own birth children flourish too “It’s made my birth children more understanding and accepting of complex emotional needs”. Other carers feel their families have learnt the value of teamwork, increasing their empathy and becoming more appreciative of life – “It has certainly made our children realise how lucky they are”.
children needing foster care UK

Fostering works and fostering lasts

Fostering can help give children the secure environment they need to succeed in school and flourish in later life. Fostering matters in the moment and creates long-term bonds too. The survey revealed that 86% of foster parents are still in touch with the children they cared for.

It’s made my birth children more understanding and accepting of complex emotional needs.

Foster care awareness varies by region

People in different parts of the UK have diverse perceptions when it comes to fostering. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, for instance, people have a much more realistic appreciation of the number of children in foster care than they do in the South East of England. Although awareness may vary, there’s a consistent need for foster carers across the country, which is one of the reasons why Compass Fostering maintain a nationwide presence for foster care in the UK, with offices throughout England & Wales.

Why aren’t more people fostering?

Many people in our survey agreed they’d be open to fostering. But what’s stopping us? Foster families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Fostering is no longer restricted to conventional family models. And 20% of us say we know a close friend or family member who has been fostered. All you need to foster is a secure home environment to offer and the commitment to make a lasting difference in a child’s life. People who think they might not be accepted as foster parents could be in for a pleasant surprise…


Commissioning Conference 2019

We’re at the National Commissioners Conference in Derby this Thursday and Friday, stop by for a chat if you’re attending.

We have also used the opportunity to raise money for our three chosen charities, The Little Rose Shelter, SaferLondon and Coco’s Foundation.

National Commissioning Conference

 

Senior team at the comissioners conference

 


The Commissioners Conference Winners

This year we decided instead of spending hundreds of pounds on promotional material, we would put our money towards more worthwhile causes. We decided to pick three charities that are important to us, and let our delegates decide who they would like to donate to.

The results are in! Each of these charities have received a donation from Compass Community.

In first place was Coco’s FoundationCoco's Foundation donation
In second place was the Jack Dowding Foundation.Jack Dowding Foundation donation
Third place was Mind Mind donation

Coco’s Foundation raises funds to support and help orphaned children communities within the poorest areas in South Africa. Mind are a charity who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The Jack Dowding Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and was started shortly after the tragic passing of Jack Dowding, 20 who also suffered from the condition for several years. Jack was the son of one our wonderful social workers.

We are so proud to support these causes and would encourage you to donate too!


Commissioners Conference Donations

Compass are proudly supporting three charities at this year’s Commissioner’s Conference.

This year we decided instead of spending hundreds of pounds on promotional material, we would put our money towards more worthwhile causes. Similar to what you have probably seen in your local supermarkets, we decided to pick three charities that are important to us, and let delegates decide which charity they would like to donate to.

Charity logos for Cocos, MIND and 20JACK

Each of these charities will be taking home a donation by the end of the conference, ranging from £100 to £750!

The charities we have chosen are Coco’s Foundation, Mind and the Jack Dowding Foundation. Coco’s Foundation raises funds to support and help orphaned children communities within the poorest areas in South Africa. Mind are a charity who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The Jack Dowding Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and was started shortly after the tragic passing of Jack Dowding, 20 who also suffered from the condition for several years. Jack was the son of one our wonderful social workers.

We hope you are as excited as we are to donate to such worthy causes.
Compass Community pop up design
Compass Fostering promotional items
Rachel and Michelle at the Commissioners’ Conference


Announcement of new Chair of Compass Board

Compass Community Children’s Services is delighted to announce the appointment of Sandie Foxall-Smith as Chair of its Board. Sandie will take up the role with immediate effect.
Sandie brings a wealth of experience in the health and social care sector, most recently as CEO of the Regard Group where she executed an ambitious growth plan whilst maintaining quality and value in the care of people with learning disabilities.

Sandie will join Compass Community as it continues to expand its provision to children requiring placements with foster families and residential services.

Compass Community CEO Bernie Gibson said “I am delighted that Sandie will join us at such an important time. The rapid growth of the last few years and the commitment of our dedicated teams have enabled us to increase the number of children supported by Compass foster families and in our specialist residential homes. I am certain that Sandie’s knowledge of the residential sector and her proven track record in overseeing the delivery of quality-assured, cost-effective services will help to take us to the next level.”

 


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.


New Announcement: East & 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.

East & South East Regions


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!

Central Staff Engagement Day 2017

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

Compass team at engagement day

Andrew Hore said:

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


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

sad USAC for 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