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Spring 2012 Issue 12


Human trafficking Top tips on supporting young victims

Win a fab KidCam Get your hands on this two-way video monitor

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UCAS deadline Top tips for their personal statement

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Planning for holidays Rita shares her tips on taking kids on holiday

“A wealth of information from cover to cover, all written by people who really understand fostering,” Michael Smith, Positive Learning Ltd

Contents Spring 2012 foster families 2

Contents Spring 2012

Edition 12


Photos, clockwise from top left: Aurimas Mikalauskas, Lisa Omarali, Isabel Bloedwater, Eyeliam, Micah Sittig, Stefano Merli.

Find out what great treats we have in store for you in the Spring edition of Foster Families advice . . .

become a foster carer: application your first placement

information . . .

fasd: the long morning after attachment and trauma - signs to look for tax - how can I pay less?

personal . . . reviews ...

the gruffalo’s child ...12 where are my brothers and sisters? ... 12 being a foster family ... 12 pillow pets ... 31 sleep travel cot ... 32

our top tips ...

communication . . .

get talking with your foster child

support . . .

lie detector tests and allegations fostering teenagers

trafficking . . .

readers’ tips on the application process ... 5 attachment & trauma... 9 communication ... 11 personal statement ... 15 attachment strategies...18 trafficking victims ... 21 sleep routine ... 31 your letters ... 38

behavioural support . . .

competitions ...

discussion point . . .

the gruffalo’s child dvd...12 magic blackout blind ... 30 diary of a sleep deprived mum ... 30 sir scallywag and the golden underpants ... 37 kidcam monitor ... 39 Cover photo: Aurimas Mikalauskas

finding old friends from care growing up in care - a poem planning your holiday abroad


who are the victims?

... 5 ... 6

... 7 ... 8 ... 23

... 9 ... 14 ... 26

... 10


... 13 ... 17

... 20


ask our psychologist: attachment disorder ... 18

higher education . . . writing your personal statement

... 15

what do you think of fostering allowances? ... 24 cathy glass: too many special needs? ... 25

food and health . . .

lactose and you lactofree recipes stand by your beds what’s your sleep story? dyslexia: the facts buttered chicken recipe card vary your rice recipes chris’s cookery cards

fun stuff . . .

kids’ corner crossword

... 28 ... 29 ... 30 ... 32 ... 33 ... 34 ... 35 ... 36


... 37 ... 39 Find us:

Order the full magazine in print or download from

Welcome Spring 2012 foster families 3

Welcome from the editor... Dear Reader,

Foster Families Online

This is the online sample. Please order the hardcopy or download the full version at Spring is the time for spring cleaning and new life, so clear out some time and space to sit down with this brand new issue. Inside you’ll find information on dyslexia, attachment disorder, FASD and trafficking. Find out what other foster carers think about different issues, and share your views too. Don’t miss our great competitions either - there are lots of prizes to be won! We have a new address: Foster Families, 39 Livingstone Street, Worcester, WR5 2ES - so please update your records! Ceressa Bateman, Editor

What can you find?

Visit for the latest news and updates from Foster Families Magazine. The website has a cookery corner with video tips, a shop, a swap shop and a competitions page, plus lots more.You can order the magazine in different currencies depending on where you live, or you can download the magazine for £1. For more updates you can follow us on Twitter: or become a fan on our Facebook page:

Your first placement

Shelby Mitchell looks at what might be going through a new foster carer’s Pa Our How To Become a Foster Carer series continues with a look at the mind when they take on a application process and how long it make take, followed by a new first placement carer’s perspective on making their rt 5

first placement feel at home

Photo: Toshimasa Ishibashi


t was really late when Tom arrived so we gave him a hot chocolate to settle him and encouraged him to go to bed. We told him to shout for us if he needed anything in the night but... I’ve just realised that I forgot to leave our ‘This is us book’ in his bedroom, this would have helped him in case he forgets our names. He must be feeling really confused given the circumstances in which he came. I’ll give him the book in the morning and go through it with him then. I hope it’ll help - it will tell him a bit about us such as our names and how we do things in the house, appropriate dress, going to the toilet

in the night, routine etc. I know! I’ll encourage him to leave it in his bedroom in case he forgets our names or other information and he can go and check it whenever he wants. Should I have left the light on for him? The social worker said he didn’t have it on in his last placement but maybe I should have asked him? I may ask my social worker to contact the previous carers tomorrow to see what washing powder they used. That may help Tom feel more secure, the smell will be familiar. Sound – maybe I should ask him if he would like music on when going to sleep? I know some children like to hear sounds at night because the quietness scares them. Does he like story tapes? I should have asked that too. I left all of his bags on the hallway floor. I should’ve moved these to his

“Why am I only thinking of these things now?”

By Shelby Mitchell, registered manager at Families@ FamilyCare Ltd

bedroom. I won’t go through the bags until he wakes in the morning and we can do it together. I thought we weren’t supposed to use carrier bags these days? I’ll buy him a Happy families right away? or do you suitcase. have doubts about what’s best? Or maybe not… if I do will he think he’s moving again? Need to think about that one. The bits and pieces I can see on top of the bags look dirty and full of dog hairs. There’s a teddy poking out of one bag – it’s really stained and smelly. I need to wash that... but ...

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Information Spring 2012 foster families 4

The long morning after Brian Cairns, from Kate Cairns Associates, shares some facts about FASD


ost people who look after children are becoming aware of the damaging effects on children’s brain development of unmet early attachment needs. Fortunately that goes along with increased understanding of how children can be helped to recover from these ‘hidden injuries’. But there is another enemy to healthy brain development which is rapidly becoming more common in our society. It’s even harder to spot because it strikes before birth. And its impact, unlike the impact of trauma in infancy, can be managed, but not overcome. The impact takes a variety of forms, which come together under the term FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders). It is suggested by specialists and researchers on both sides of the Atlantic that among

current UK births, one child in 100, and perhaps up to one child in 50, may have suffered organic brain damage as a result of their mother’s alcohol consumption at crucial stages of brain formation in the womb. Women drinking alcohol is now more socially accepted, leading to FASD in children This damage is permanent consequence of changed drinking and irreversible. patterns among women of childThe numbers are growing as a bearing age:

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Get talking with your foster child

Dr Victoria Joffe outlines the process of developing language, and the struggles some children have


eflect for a moment on everything you did today. You will find that many - if not all - of your activities involved some form of language and communication, whether it be waking up to the morning news on the radio, buying coffee at the station, tweeting, sharing news with colleagues at the photocopier or gesturing angrily at the car who cut in front of you.

How we communicate Communication is a fundamental life skill. It’s the primary vehicle through which we live our lives effectively and connect to people around us. We communicate with each other verbally, through speech and writing, and non-verbally, through eye contact and gestures. Language is our most effective means of communication, and it is our use of language that sets us apart from all others in the animal

“Communication is a fundamental life skill”

kingdom. Language is a More about Victoria complex ruleDr Victoria Joffe based system is a reader in of arbitrary developmental SLCD symbols. and a specialist These are speech and language combined to form an infinite therapist at City University London. number of words, phrases and sentences conveying our wishes, thoughts and meanings. These symbols can take the form of sounds, i.e. speech...

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Spring 2012

foster families 5

Trafficking - who are the victims?

Dana Anderson MA, LLPC, shares how to identify trafficking victims and how you can help Did you know?

Photo: Isabel Bloedwater


ost of us have encountered age of 18, ethnic minority females, trafficking victims within the those with limited education or a community without even lack of family support (i.e. orphaned, knowing it. Many homeless, runaway), “Many victims are those with a history professions in the public sector including of sexual abuse, brought in from police officers, refugee status other countries” medical personnel, or health/mental social service workers, and educators health challenges. They can also be can miss the signs of potential human trafficking. By being aware, more victims can be identified and given appropriate after care services. Who are trafficking victims? Trafficked victims are typically poor, unemployed, underemployed, and desperate individuals that often go unseen by the general public. According to the Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Training Program, the most vulnerable people are under the * information from Karen Irene Kalergis, PhD

Human trafficking persons that generates extraordinarily are easily high profits for coerced, traffickers. It is second deceived or only to the drug physically trafficking trade in terms forced to of the amount of money comply generated*. with the trafficking situation (i.e. beaten, ...

Understanding bus routes is a key part of school safety

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Ask our psychologist Q: Hello Helen, I’m really needing some help with a child who has an attachment disorder. He is three years old and we have had him for nearly 20 months. He also has special needs. We have portage service which comes for an hour twice a month but nothing else seems to be available in terms of support. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? What other therapies are out there? Tania*

Helen Mason is an Educational & Child hank you very much for getting weaknesses and problems which may his needs being Psychologist and in touch. I think you have gain prominence over his strengths met. This process Expert Witness, highlighted two important and positive qualities. As you will would have been chartered with the issues for many foster carers. The know, Ayden is much more than his dependent on British Psychological first is attachment disorder and the ‘problem’ behaviours. the quality of Society and registered second is who to turn to for support Emotional needs care Ayden’s as a practitioner when required. Just like any toddler, Ayden’s mother was psychologist with the I want to address the possible emotional needs are for care, nurture able to provide, Health Professions needs for Ayden* beyond the and comfort. This is speculative, but given her own Council. Her expertise labels of attachment disorder and in the care of his primary carer or emotional focuses on looked special needs. I say this because attachment figure (usually mother), needs and after children (LAC) it‘s important not to define Ayden he would have organised himself circumstances. and young people. by his diagnoses - this can make around her in the best way he could Indeed, certain She practices others fixated on Ayden’s perceived in order to maximise the possibility of health ... independently at LAC Please read our disclaimer at Psychologists To read the rest of this article please download ( from *Names have been changed to protect identity


Higher Education Spring 2012 foster families 6

Personal statements - our top ten tips! It’s not too late for your foster child to apply to university – and these top ten tips will help get their personal statement off to a great start Support for

care leavers To enable you as foster carers to assist your looked after children to achieve their potential, the university can provide: advice about gaining a place at s General university and the benefi ts of higher education on the fi nancial and practical support s Advice available, such as our care leaver’s bursary of £1,000 per year (subject to conditions).

A great place for inspiring minds Quality mark awarded for our commitment to working with care leavers



ny application submitted to applicants at their very best and UCAS before 30 June 2012 following these ground rules should will be processed and sent get the young person in your care off to the chosen universities and to a great start: colleges. Express interest in the Many of these will still be happy subject and show real to receive applications for passion consideration, provided their UCAS adviser Ross Sanger says: courses have vacancies - but “My major tip is to really show your it’s best to check with individual ambitions and desires for wanting to institutions to do the course. In other make sure. “It’s never too early words, putting across Some art and passion in as much to add the finishing your design courses detail as possible. At touches” have a deadline the end of the day, of 24 March you need to be doing check our Course Search or new something that you really like.” Course Finder tool to see which Beverley Woodhams, Head of Central courses use this deadline. Recruitment at the University of It’s never too early to put the Greenwich, says: “If you completed finishing touches to your personal an extended project, briefly statement, which could be the only summarise its focus and what you piece of written work admissions learned.” professionals see before making a You can show how you have acted on decision. The writing should show your interest in particular subjects by attending extra-curricular activities or events. Talks at the Royal Society or local university are good examples of where someone has taken their passion beyond the school gates. Go for a strong “The University of Winchester has been very supportive. If opening line to grab it wasn’t for the staff at the University – I would never have had the confidence to apply. The level of support received is the reader’s attention fantastic and it’s given me confidence to know that I have such Ross says: “A punchy an excellent support network behind me.” (Leanne Hart, care-leaver) opening line will call attention to your application straight away.” Benefits include: Relate outside • King Alfred Scholarship, worth £1,750 per year interests to the • Special help and support with housing arrangements • Designated Welfare Adviser course • Strong partnerships with local authorities Karen Martin, Marketing Communications Manager for Admissions and ... To read the rest of this article please download from download.html


Support for care leavers at Winchester

2 3

Find out more: Terri Sandison T: 01962 827225 E:

Leaving Care Spring 2012 foster families 7



Er mwyn cael cymorth a chyngor cyn i chi gyrraedd (mewn Dyddiau Agored, dyddiau ymweld, etc.), drwy’r broses ymgeisio, ac wrth i chi gyrraedd, astudio, ac ymlaen i’ch graddio, cysylltwch â DEBRA CROFT yn y Ganolfan Ehangu Cyfranogiad E-bost: Ffôn: 01970 622681, neu Tecst: 07968 77 55 23

For help and advice before arrival (at Open Days, visiting days, etc.), through the application process, arrival, progression, and on to graduation, contact DEBRA CROFT in the Centre for Widening Participation E-mail: Tel: 01970 622681, or Txt: 07968 77 55 23



t Cymorth ariannol penodol drwy’r Bwrsariaeth Gadawyr Gofal (£1800, amodau cymhwyso) t Sicrwydd o lety i’r holl israddedigion yn y flwyddyn gyntaf a help i gael llety addas i’r gwyliau t ‘Pecyn Croeso’ o bethau hanfodol, os bydd angen

t Targeted financial support through the Care-leaver Bursary (£1800, conditions apply) t Guaranteed accommodation for all first year undergraduates and help to secure suitable vacation accommodation on an ongoing basis t Provision of a ‘Welcome Pack’ of essentials if needed

Fostering teenagers

Shân Dobinson shares her advice on understanding how teenagers think and working out which issues particularly stand out for those in care


ostering teenagers is certainly a challenging roller coaster. Alongside helping or running youth clubs most of my life, I have fostered 46 teenagers and had other teenagers come and stay for extended periods. I now run training workshops on fostering teenagers. So what have I learnt to share with you? Challenging time for them The teenage years are the most turbulent and transforming time of our lives and it’s no wonder that they, and we, don’t understand

what is going on half the time. Their bodies are changing at such a rate internally and externally alongside social and media pressures to have perfect bodies. Their emotions are all over the place because of hormonal changes so that they often don’t know what they feel or they have contradictory feelings in just a few minutes. The more emotional you are, the less rational you are. Some feel safe and affirmed in peer groups while others feel unsafe and constricted in groups. The result of all this is that one minute they want to be an adult, and the next they revert to being a child. I’ve had

teenagers who want to play on the swings, have bedtime stories or tear around playing adventure and war games on their bikes. Thinking they are worthless Add to all this, they have low self esteem and insecure attachments resulting from trauma and abuse. Because they may think they are worth nothing, they may not believe they have anything worth saying... or at least anything anyone else will think is worth saying. They may go to extremes to prove their worthlessness by behaving in such a way as to jeopardise the placement and engineer your ...

“She could not handle my pressure”

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Reviews Spring 2012 foster families 8

Win The Gruffalo’s Child on DVD! T

he Gruffalo is back, and this time he has a daughter! Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo’s Child is brought to you by Entertainment One. A top line-up of voice over cast, including Helena Bonham Carter and James Corden, continue the story of one of the most popular characters ever to have been created. What did we think? Although possibly a little scary for very young ones, the rest of the family will love this take on the story. The Gruffalo’s child gets bored one night and wants to find The Big Bad Mouse that her dad has warned her about. He has forbidden her from entering the woods, but she Find out how to win The Gruffalo’s Child goes anyway and finds a number of animals each with features on DVD similar to those of the mouse. Eventually she finds the little mouse To enter, answer this simple question: Who who is clever enough to convince her of the existence of the Big wrote The Gruffalo’s Child? Bad Mouse her father warned her about. Find out for yourself, by a) Roald Dahl entering our competition to win a copy of the DVD. b) Julia Donaldson Cert: C/G Send your answer, along with your name and Running Time: 25 mins address to DVD RRP: £12.99 with the subject line ‘Gruffalo’. The first correct Blu-ray RRP: £15.99 answer drawn on April 30th 2012 will win.




Where are my brothers and sisters?, by Hedi Argent (BAAF) £3.95 ISBN: 978 1 907585 357


For kids going into care!

his is a great book for children going into foster care, or who have recently been placed in a foster family. Hedi highlights new words in red, explaining what these terms mean and helping the children to understand what it is that adults are talking to them about. Using Billy as an example, Hedi explains that some siblings have different fathers, and in some families not all the children will go into foster care but some will. Some siblings will be very close, while others

could be strangers - and it’s ok to feel shy around them. Different types of brothers and sisters are explained, and the ways they may be able to keep in contact. She also tells what type of people may be looking after their siblings - grandparents, foster carers, step-parents and others. This is a helpful guide for preparing children to think about who their family consists of and to feel ‘ok’ that all families are different.

Being a foster family, by Hedi Argent (BAAF) £3.95 ISBN: 978 1 907585 401


his is a fantastic book for birth children whose families are starting the fostering process. Fostering can be a huge change in your child’s life, and they may have many questions about what will happen. The book is easy to understand and gives answers to those big questions. New words are highlighted in red, making it easy for children to learn new terms and get on board with the fostering lingo. It explains what fostering is, the different types of fostering, and gives interesting

information about how many children are in foster care and celebrities that have been fostered. It also prompts your child with questions about how they may feel when foster children do certain things. This is great for preparing birth children to think about different scenarios, helping to make the whole process fun rather than scary or daunting. If fostering is a new step for your family, I would recommend reading this book with your birth children to help prepare them for what’s ahead.

For birth children!

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Information Spring 2012 foster families 9

Tax... how can I pay less? Tax consultant, Andrew Crowe, explains how foster carers may be able to reduce their tax bills

Photo: ‘Images_of_Money’


he 31 January of reducing the amount of income deadline for tax that you are required to pay submitting your to HMRC. This is because your self-assessment tax return income is split with your spouse has now passed, and or partner, and you can therefore many of you may be left potentially make use of their wondering whether you personal allowance and lower rate have completed your return correctly, tax band. The effectiveness of this or whether you have claimed all method depends on the level of your available tax reliefs and allowances. partner’s taxable income, so it should As a foster carer you should be not be viewed as a ‘magic bullet’ aware that, for tax purposes, solution for all foster carers. you are treated as carrying on a The downside is that both you and business - as strange as this may your partner would be required to sound! This means file self-assessment tax “The tax you should register as returns, in addition to a savings can be partnership tax return. self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs This would obviously substantial” (HMRC). Depending on involve additional your circumstances, you may also be professional costs. The tax savings required to file a self-assessment tax can be substantial, however, and the return each year, and pay income tax exercise would not be undertaken and National Insurance contributions unless there was a significant net on your fostering income. saving overall.

Reduce you tax bills!

But are you aware of the various ways in which you could potentially reduce how much income tax you are required to pay to the taxman? Have you considered whether you might be entitled to support in terms of social security benefits? As a foster carer, here are just a couple of suggestions that might help improve your tax position:


Consider forming a partnership Forming a partnership for tax purposes can be a very effective way


Claim additional expenses If you provide foster care for a child or young person who suffers with some sort of underlying medical or behavioral condition, then you may be able to claim additional tax relief. This additional tax relief is available for expenses that are different from the normal maintenance expenditure you might expect to incur in looking after a child or young person of that age group. HMRC state that the additional expense must be extraordinary in either nature or degree.

Why get professional help?

Many foster carers lack the confidence to deal with their own tax affairs in case they make a costly mistake, while others are simply too busy to deal with such matters. You may have a complex question to resolve with the tax authorities, for example, in determining the appropriate tax treatment of a parent and baby placement. For this reason, you may choose to instruct a specialist accountant or tax adviser who can take care of everything for you. Aside from the peace of mind that comes with engaging the services of a professional adviser, the cost involved is often more than offset by the tax savings made. If you’d like help with your own tax affairs, please contact Andrew, who would be delighted to hear from you. Tel: 01214450459 Mob: 07999541745 Web: Email:

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Communication Spring 2012 foster families 10

Cathy’s Column

Best selling author and foster carer, Cathy Glass, asks whether there are too many special needs?

Photo, from top: Monkey Mash Button, Shawn Campbell


hen I was growing up the average person had never heard of ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, attachment disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, development delay, specific learning difficulties, or any of the conditions which now seem to be endemic in our children. It would be difficult to imagine that these conditions had been spawned by a generation, so they must therefore have existed to some extent in the children I grew up with, but without being diagnosed. These ‘special needs’ children were simply acknowledged as being a bit different by their friends and peer group who accommodated their

differences in their social interaction, and by parents and teachers who gave extra help and disciplined as and when required. High percentage of special needs Diagnosing children as having special needs is now so prolific that most classes in the UK have over 30% of children labelled with additional needs. A disproportionately high number of children who come into care have special needs. But do all these children really have special needs? Possibly not. Wrongly labelled Last year a report from Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, said that thousands of pupils were being wrongly labelled as having special educational needs when all they required was better teaching and...

“Do they really have special needs?”

Worried about the possibility of incorrect labelling?

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Lie detector tests Debra Gibbs-Baker looks into how these could be of benefit for false allegation cases Debra Gibbs-Baker is the


ow often when supporting foster carers subject to allegations and complaints have we heard the words, ‘Let me take a lie detector test – then they will know who is telling the truth!’ But of course this hasn’t been viable… until now. I was interested to read an article in The Times on Saturday 31st December, which explained that Hertfordshire police had successfully completed a scheme where 25 ‘low level’ sex offenders were tested with a lie detector. Many were exposed as

being a higher risk to children than was originally thought. In contrast, surely, for those tested who did not show a risk, this must also be considered essential evidence during investigations? Even when the police draw a blank, often described as ‘insufficient evidence’, there is a lingering odour of guilt. Fostering services are reluctant to continue a foster carer’s registration in these circumstances, leaving a trail of injustice and trauma, not to mention ruined careers and financial hardship. Detective Chief Inspector Glen Channer, the head of [Hertfordshire]

Photo: Lee J Haywood

“Often it’s one person’s word against another”

director of Fostering Support Ltd. For more information visit

child protection unit, said that the polygraph was ‘an added weapon in our armoury of investigation techniques’ but so too will it be an added insight into false allegations and what we call ‘serial alligators’. Fostering Support Ltd support hundreds of foster carers wrongly accused of the most distressing of crimes, from initial referral, through police investigations and fostering service review of approval. In 13 years we have seen no more than three foster carers convicted of abuse – that’s less than 0.2% (the national average). But 3-5% are...

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Communication Spring 2012 foster families 11

Lactose and you

What do you need to think about when caring for a lactose intolerant child or young person? Did you know?

Babies to 12 months

Babies need breast milk or formula milk until they’re at least 12 months

old. From six months, you can incorporate Lactofree fruit yogurt, soft white cheese and semi-hard cheese into weaning, just as you would with regular dairy.

12 months to two years

Children can continue with breast or formula milk or they can begin to drink Lactofree whole dairy drink which is full fat real dairy without the lactose. They can also try Lactofree yogurt and cheese, which offer all the taste and nutritional value of regular dairy.

Cows’ milk contains Two to five too much salt and protein, and not years old enough iron and With a varied other nutrients diet, toddlers can start to have making it unsuitable Lactofree semi- as a drink for babies under 12 months old. skimmed dairy drink.

Five to 12 years old

From six years of age, health care professionals can give children a lactose breath test to diagnose their intolerance.


Teens are still growing, and this is ...


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Planning your holiday Rita Mistry shares why you’ll need a holiday after all the preparation that’s needed when taking those in your care


ith this cold weather my thoughts have turned to warmer weather. Wishing I was somewhere warmer reminds me of all the preparation that is needed for taking foster children on holiday. Last October half term we took four foster children abroad to Portugal for

a week - 11 year old Ed*, four year old Hari*, three year old Luke* and 10 month old baby Asher*. Getting organised We only booked this holiday three weeks before we went so I had to cram a lot of A relaxing holiday abroad should make the planning worth it things into that short time. The first thing I had to do was ask the children if they wanted to go. “YES, YES, YES!” they all said.

Permission needed I then needed to ask permission from each child’s social worker and arrange for letters of permission to take each child abroad. These were all promised but I did have to chase up the letters. If we’d been stopped at passport control without these letters we could have been charged with kidnap. As it happened, on the way back to the UK we were asked for these letters this was the first time we have ever been asked, so you can never tell and it pays to be prepared. Passports and health cards Thankfully their passports and European Health Cards were all in order and up-to-date. On a previous holiday to France we did have to take Ed to see a doctor while we were there. The cost of the prescription...

“I asked if they wanted to go on holiday: ‘Yes, yes, yes!’”

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Support Spring 2012 foster families 12

Win this fantastic Magic Blackout Blind and a book by Claire Evans Magic Blackout Blind Neil and Laura Westwood successfully appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den back in 2008 gaining financial support from both Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis. They are Theo Paphitis’ most successful and profitable investment.

N! I W

Pillow Pets

Last year Neil and Laura launched to six year old Caleb and married to the Magic Blackout Blind which husband Gareth. can be used to blackout windows This diary is based on Claire’s allowing people to get a good night experience of managing sleep sleep during the lighter summer deprivation and stories of how her months or if your bedroom faces friends have dealt with the sleep glaring street lights in the city. It has issue. The book is available to proven hugely popular with parents purchase on Amazon. of young families and is an ideal companion for the new book: Diary Here’s your chance to win the Magic Blackout Blind and book of a Sleep Deprived Mum. This book is a hilarious combination To enter, answer this simple question: Diary of a Sleep Deprived What programme did Neil and Laura appear on? Mum by Claire Evans (Lynton Publishing) £9.99 a) Dragon’s Den b) Big Brother Send your answer, along with your of information, anecdotes, advice and tips for attaining every parent’s name and address to ultimate goal – getting more sleep! with the subject line ‘Sleep’. The first Author Claire Evans, 39, is a mum correct answer drawn on April 30th 2012 will win.

Made of ultra-soft chenille, Pillow Pets are cuddly stuffed animals with a twist. A clever strap that closes underneath the animal transforms it into a soft pillow making it the ideal travel pal, naptime buddy and all-round cuddly friend. Guy Orr, Director of Mookie Toys, said: “We hope they will become a must-have for all ages; from toddlers to teens, expectant mothers to grandmothers! Each animal makes a most precious snuggle pal and its versatility makes them ideal travel companions and nap buddies!” He added, “With the greatest popularity amongst the group target age 3-9 year olds and an RRP of £19.99, Pillow Pets make for a fun affordable gift and a lifetime friend!” For more info visit

What’s your story?

We’d love to hear your fostering stories too! What do you think about the articles you’ve read in this issue? Join the discussion and share your experiences at haveyoursay@ You can also email questions here for Our Psychologist or Annette.

Sleep well with this Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel Cot in Shadow

What travel cots have you found to be good for helping your little ones sleep well? This one’s great!


his stylish travel cot from Mamas and Papas is a musthave when the little ones in your care are sleeping away from home. Not only is it very sturdy, it also has mesh sides so baby can see out (and you can see in for easy checking). Even better, it took me less than five minutes to put up eight and a half months pregnant and with no help! If you’re like me

and struggle with putting unfamiliar travel cots and pushchairs up or down, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to set this one up. It comes with a good quality mattress (much better than some travel cot mattresses), and has lots of space for playing in (approx 102 x 72 x 80cm). It packs away easily into a carry case and weighs 9.7kg. Available for £90.00, I think it’s worth the money!

Support Spring 2012 foster families 13

Buttered chicken

foster families

Sumadhab Das Cookery

What to do:

1. Use a pestle and mortar or food processor to crush the onion, garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and raisins into a fine paste. 2. Cut the chicken into small pieces, wash it and drain out the water fully. 3. Chop the peppers and mix them in a bowl with the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, natural yoghurt, tomato sauce, chilli sauce and butter. 4. Add this to the fine paste, and leave the chicken to marinate in this for one hour. 5. Next, heat some vegetable or sunflower oil in a pan. Add the whole cumin seeds and bay leaves and fry for a minute. 6. Add the marinated chicken, and stir continuously for 2 mins. 7. Let the chicken simmer for 30 mins,

stirring occassionally until totally cooked. 8. Add the garam masala and stir for 1 min. 9. Serve the buttered chicken with boiled rice and enjoy!

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What you will need: 250g chicken, 1 large onion, 6 garlic cloves, 4cm ginger, 2 green or red peppers, 4 bay leaves, 1tsp coriander powder, 1tsp cumin powder, 1tsp whole cumin seeds, 1tsp turmeric powder, ½ cup natural yogurt, ½ cup tomato sauce, 3tbsp chilli sauce, 6tbsp butter, 50g cashew nuts, 50g raisins, 1tbsp garam masala, salt to taste.

Dyslexia - the facts Lorna Miles explains the symptoms of dyslexia and advises what support is available

Photo: Lisa Omarali


ost people know that dyslexia affects a person’s ability with reading and writing. But often people don’t realise that it can also impact on motor coordination, verbal memory, verbal processing, language, personal organisation skills and concentration. In some cases ability with maths is also affected. When this is the primary difficulty and severe in nature, the condition is known as dyscalculia. Often described as ‘the hidden disability’, dyslexia can affect anyone regardless of their intelligence, ethnicity, age or background. Each person is affected differently by it. It’s a life-long condition, but with early diagnosis and the right support and adjustments in place it shouldn’t prevent anyone from performing to the best of their ability.

Signs that might indicate a child or young person is dyslexic: • Particular difficulty with reading and spelling. • Putting letters and figures the wrong way round. • Difficulty remembering tables, alphabet, formulae etc. • Leaving letters Tiredness after reading could be a sign of dyslexia out of words or • Taking longer than average to do putting written work. them in the wrong order. • Problems processing language at • Occasionally confusing ‘b’ and ‘d’ and words such speed. • Reluctance to read. as ‘no/on’. • Tiredness after reading. • Needing to use fingers • Difficulty telling left from right, or marks on paper to order of days of the week, months of make simple calculations. the year etc. • Poor concentration. • A poor sense of direction. • Having problems understanding • A shorter attention span than ... what he/she has read.

“Dylsexia can affect anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity or intelligence”

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Support Spring 2012 foster families 14


rs e t t e l ders


Dear Annette, We have a three-bed house. I’d love to have more bedrooms to take on more children, but I hear if you take four or more you come under different regulations?

What’s your question?

Space for more?!


Have your say! Annette Webb, Simply Fostering

If you’ve got a letter or a story to share, write to Have Your Say, 39 Livingstone Street, Worcester, WR5 2ES or email it to

Five to win! Now’s your chance to win a copy of Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants Enter here to win!


Hi Michelle, A foster carer’s standard approval will only cover the placement of up to three children within a foster home. If any more than three children are to be placed an exemption needs to be granted from the Local Authority where you reside. Reasons why an exemption would be considered are: - the foster carers have special skills to meet the child’s needs which are not available elsewhere, - the placement of the child over the limit is the most appropriate way of meeting the child’s needs arising from disability, race, religion, language and/or culture - or the placement is required to keep siblings together. I hope this information is useful to you for the future.


For your chance to win this hilarious book, answer the Letter Corner competition below. The closing date is April 30th 2012 and the first five correct entries drawn on that date will win.



er n r o C s d i K

Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants, by Giles Andreae (Puffin Paperback) £6.99 ISBN: 9780141330693


ottoms, knights and evil baddies are packed together in this pant-tastic rhyme for laugh out loud silliness. Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants is a hilariously fun comic adventure perfect for boys! When King Colin’s golden pants go missing, he calls for Sir Scallywag, the bravest knight in the land. But . . . Sir Scallywag is only six years old and with an evil giant to pursue, it’s nearly mission impossible! Luckily, it’s a story of David and Goliath. With

Best Wishes,

his trusted steed Doofus at his side, Sir Scallywag proves that even the unlikeliest hero can be the bravest knight of all. Giles Andreae is an awardwinning children’s author and has written both fiction titles and bestselling picture books, but he is probably most famous as the creator of Purple Ronnie, Britain’s favourite stickman.



Letter Corner The letters below spell out three things to do with Sir Scallywag. Can you work out what they are? Send the answers, along with your name and address, to with the subject line ‘Scallywag’ for your chance to win our prize!

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NITKHG ______ OFSUOD ______ RHOE ____ Find us:


Spring 2012

foster families 15



Win the KidCam See and hear the kids in your care with this fab new split-screen monitor

your chance to win, use the questions, below, Winto For fill out the crossword. The coloured squares are an

anagram of a word linked to KidCam. Once you’ve worked that out, email your answer to with the subject line ‘KidCam’, or post it to: Competitions, 39 Livingstone Street, Worcester, WR5 2ES. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The competition closes on April 30th 2012 and the first correct entry drawn on this date will win the prize.


f you care for older, more adventurous children, you’ll love KidCam! With its two-camera system it’s ideal for keeping an eye on several of the ‘little ones’ at once. Two compact wireless cameras transmit a clear, full colour picture (and sound) to a portable wireless screen. The 4.3” viewing screen has a split-screen, letting you view both images at once. With a range of up to 100m it gives you constant reassurance, allowing you to see and hear the children from any room in the house, garden or car. Both cameras incorporate night vision, so they can be used in the dark to keep an eye on sleeping babies and children. At £159.99 it’s more expensive than a basic monitor, but with so many features including live video, night vision, wireless camera and screen, portable or wall mountable and a car adaptor kit, it’s worth the extra money. As a foster carer looking after a number of children you’ll find KidCam particularly useful. It’s reliable, easy to use and even better... we have one up for grabs in our competition! For more info about KidCam, visit:


1. Someone living in the capital 5. An italian dish 10. Having an extremely bad reputation 11. A worry to think about


1. Shade of green 2. Pleasant 3. A fairytale monster 4. Long periods of time 6. A single event in the past 7. Difficult 8. A twisting force 9. Land surrounded by sea

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Find us:


Brighter Futures for Children

we adopt the CHILDTM intervention model Our aim is to create a therapeutic team around the child and by so doing empower and enable those people to understand and continue to meet the needs of the child long after our work has ceased

Our intervention model is based on working in partnership with those who have significant roles to play in the child’s life

We have a track record of improving the stability of placements and enabling children to grow and achieve

Can we help your child? Tel: 01630 639617

Spring 2012 Sample  

A sample of our Spring 2012 issue. Articles include tips on dyslexia, attachment disorder, FASD and communication. Find out how you could sa...