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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
1. For interview requests please email email@example.com or call 07810 395490
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!
At Families Fostering we have several weekly fostering blogs running, from a writers that come from a variety of different backgrounds to show you what it’s like to be a foster carer, including the highs and the lows.