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Winter 2011 Issue 10


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Scared - is this home? Find out how kids feel at a new placement

Win a Maxi Cosi Mura This fantastic pushchair is up for grabs

Training available Supporting a mother and baby placement

Domestic violence Make sure you know the signs to look for

“This fantastic magazine is great value for money and packed with interesting articles. I love it!” Ian Harris, Second Chance

Contents Winter 2011 foster families 2

Contents Winter 2011

Edition 10


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

Photos, clockwise from top left: Chris Willis, Emily Faulk, Giorgio Montersino, Deon D, Bill S, Courney Carmody


become a foster carer series: welcome them... 5 i’m scared, is this home? child’s view ... 6 find out the reasons behind self injury ... 20 spotting the signs of domestic violence ... 23 cathy glass: avoiding sibling rivalry ... 25

christmas gift guide . . . top choices this season holiday craft card - get creative

reviews ...

dennis and the big decisions, kids book ... 6 christmas gift guide ... 7 after domestic violence book ... 23 yoshiko, kids book ... 37 mura pushchair ... 39

our top tips ...

welcome to the family ...5 swimming together ... 17 help them open up ... 19 support in self harm ... 21 domestic violence ... 23 sibling rivalry ... 25 your letters ... 38

competitions ...

multi-lingual books ...19 playin the game book...31 baby gift package ... 32 yoshiko signed book... 37 octonauts dvds ... 37 maxi-cosi mura ... 39

12 Cover photo: Bruno De Regge

advice . . .

... 7 ... 9

support . . .

allegations likely to rise, be prepared ... 8 swimming together, bonding as a family ... 11 caring for a little one? support here ... 12 supporting families before a crisis happens ... 13 ask our psychologist: why won’t he open up... 18 shaping foundations through reading ... 26 teenage pregnancy: helping you help them ... 28

personal . . .

i’m going home, a young girl’s story wow, what a change! bilingual fostering, how we communicated fostering in an ideal world a new start, fostering helped me move on caring for a mother and baby placement

education . . .

securing a future: personal story is college an option?

food and health . . .

food for the brain: what’s good for you seizures: what you should know aloor dom curry recipe card batty about batter chris’s cookery cards

fun stuff . . .

kids’ corner crossword

... 10 ... 12 ... 19 ... 22 ... 24 ... 29



... 14 ... 16

... 31 ... 33 ... 34 ... 35 ... 36


... 37 ... 39 Find us:

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Welcome Winter 2011 foster families 3

Welcome from the editor... Dear Reader,

Foster Families Online

This is the online sample. Please order the full magazine in hardcopy for just £2 or download it for just £1 at We’ve got lots of great articles inside including our Christmas Gift Guide (p7), and tips on creating a gift bag (p9). If you’re new to fostering there’s lots to prepare and support you, including a look at a child’s view of moving to a new placement (p6). Find out how to care for someone who is self harming (p20), and how to tell if domestic violence is an issue (p23). And on top of all that, some incredible personal stories to sit back and read. Enjoy your holidays! 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 to your computer for £1. For more updates you can follow us on Twitter: or become a fan on our Facebook page:

Photo: Dale Moore

Welcome to the family Top tips for making a new placement feel at home


t can be scary for a young person to arrive at a new foster placement, not knowing what kind of a family they will be living with, and not knowing whether their comments will be taken in good humour or frowned upon. When you open that door it’s your chance to make them feel immediately welcomed and wanted. Read our readers’ advice on making them feel at home right away:

The next step in our How to Become a Foster Carer series looks at Part helping new placements to feel welcome Here’s what our readers said:

1 3 5

I ask them what their favourite colour is and then paint a canvas picture for their room in that colour to make the room feel more like theirs. - Nat Innes

I let the young person pick new bedding and meet my family in their own time. We usually welcome them with a duvet night, takeaway, DVD and sweets. - Emma Ewbank Good routines and something familiar are a must for babies, such as a piece of mum’s clothing or a hospital sheet if that’s where they came from. - Bev Parker

2 4

We go out for a takeaway together - it gets everyone talking. - Sarah Hill I always try and watch out for them coming, then take the dog out on the drive to welcome them as they get out of the car to get that awkward going-upto-the-door-and-waitingfor-it-to-open moment out of the way. - Ruth Wilcox Hall

What’s your top fostering tip? Email your top tip to and it could go in our next issue. Remember to include your name! Order the full magazine in print or download from

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Christmas Gift Guide Winter 2011 foster families 4

Christmas Gift Guide Take a look at our top choices for presents this season ids rk


Lightening McQueen Clock Bedtime Trainer Fo This fab clock has two settings: bed time and wake up time, where the clock face dims or brightens accordingly with night and day scenes. This is a great way for kids to learn numbers and times, and serves as a night light too. A fun and useful gift for any little one in your care. Order yours from for £19.99.



For Tractor Ted Wellies and boy Lunchbox s Bring cartoon favourite,Tractor Ted, home for the little one in your care. Perfect for snow or splashing in muddy puddles, these sturdy yet fun wellies (£19.99) come in children’s sizes 5-9 and have helpful handles for tiny hands. The metal lunchbox (£9.99) shows a fabulous countryside scene. Available in farm shops and country stores nationwide, or order from

OXO tot Sprout Chair from Lakeland This lovely wooden highchair grows with your child, from s t six months to five to years, r you Fo won’t need tomeaning replace it as they get older. Ideal for foster carers who care for little ones of different ages as you’ll be able to use the same chair for a number of kids. It can be used away from or at the table, making it very handy. There are no nooks or crannies where food can get trapped making it hygenic as well as ingenious. We loved it and highly recommend it as a bonus for your Christmas meal! Order from or by calling 015394 88100, for £249.99. Ref 15303 (Mail order only).


The Adventures of TINTIN box set A great present for Fo the man in your life. Both old and young will love watching TINTIN and his faithful dog, Snowy, investigate exciting adventures. The box set consists of five discs with 840 mins of the original animation, and the quality is great. You’ll be watching it as a family for days! Order it here: for £20.42 on DVD or £40.84 on Blu-ray. Certificate: U.


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ids k r

Eric Carle’s ‘The artist who painted a blue horse’ From the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this lovely book will introduce young children to colours, animals and creativity. Interesting pictures will capture the child in your care’s imagination. This Puffin book can be ordered from all good bookshops for £12.99.


Bamboo Pyjamas, Towels and more For Sustainable, Mum biodegradable and as soft as silk, these Bamboo products are a top choice for all the family this Christmas. Naturally antibacterial, Bamboo is great for helping to manage and minimize any allergic or skin conditions, from eczema to athlete’s foot. Our favourites include: Luxury bathrobe for mum (£42.00), Muslin square cloths for baby (£8.50), and the boys and girls pyjamas (£15.00). Find out what other products are available, and order them from


The Fun Movie Camera Fun, light weight and easy to use, this waterproof camera is available with a helmet and bike mount. So whether its bike riding or skiing, swimming or simply playing in the For garden, they’ll be able to record all their escapades on camera! They can also fam the use it as a traditional hand held movie ily cam, allowing the kids in your care to spend Christmas afternoon filming their own home movies. Available from Argos for £49.99, product code: AC0118.


Tween ReadyBed For Available in a variety of designs (also Junior and My First ReadyBeds) these will make sleepovers fun and easy for the tween in your care. The three positions can be used for sitting, lounging and sleeping, making it a funky and useful addition to any Tween’s bedroom. Order from Argos, Tesco and for £39.99.

To view the full gift guide please download the full magazine from

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Christmas Gift Guide Winter 2011 foster families 5

Holiday craft ideas

Once you’ve found that perfect gift, present it in this personal home-crafted gift bag. Details below Holiday craft card: Bunting present bag


s the school holidays start, you may want some fun ideas to keep the children in your care busy... and distracted from the big celebrations looming. Whether it’s Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah, Makar Sankranti or Valentine’s Day that you’re preparing for, Ministry of Craft have come up with a fantastic craft idea for Foster Families readers that can


inistry of Craft offers a range of short, friendly and affordable courses in a range of crafts aimed to help you

be given to a loved one as a festive gift. And creating the item together is an ideal opportunity to bond with the young person in your care. You can chat as you cut and sew, allowing them to relax and focus on their project. Sometimes young people open up more when they’re not feeling intimidated by eyecontact and ‘awkward’ silences. Have a go and see how you get on. get creative or master a new craft skill. Visit and make crafting a New Year’s resolution!

Allegations likely to rise... make sure you’re prepared!

Find out how to protect yourself against allegations, Debra Gibbs explains all


he number of foster carers being deregistered following allegations of Maltreatment and Standards of Care Complaints by the children, families or practitioners involved in their care is likely to increase. Research from the University of York* estimates the number of foster carers subject to allegations every year is between 3.5% and 5%. Without appropriate support and advocacy the strain of being accused causes hundreds of foster carers to give up, finding themselves suspended for months and unable to take placements, ultimately causing financial hardship and emotional distress. This trend is likely to spiral with the unprecedented demand for foster

placements following high profile cases. At the same time public sector spending cuts reduce independent support for foster carers - the vast majority of whom are falsely accused. Debra Gibbs, Director of Fostering Support Ltd, a provider of independent support to foster carers in line with Government Guidance since 1999, fears system melt down as foster carers become less willing to offer family based care for children and young people in need. Debra says: “Foster carers offer their homes and their family support out of a sense of community; to then be falsely accused of harming a child or placing a child at risk of harm is devastating.” The requirement on local councils to reduce spending is leaving many carers without the help they need

“Spending cuts mean less support for carers”

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to prove their innocence. Fostering Support Ltd now offers foster carers the chance to purchase their own support and end the postcode lottery which has seen limits on the quantity and quality of provision set by some fostering services. For £52 per year foster carers can be sure of the support they need when they need it, from qualified and experienced advocates. We know only too well how many foster carers will be accused every year - what we don’t know is who. Applications must be processed prior to an allegation being made in order to be accepted onto the scheme. That way the majority pay a small annual sum in order to fund the minority that need our help – it may be you! Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect Yourselves, Your Family and Your Fostering Registration Visit *Maltreatment and Allegations of Maltreatment in Foster Care: Biehal and Parry; September 2010

Personal Winter 2011 foster families 6

I’m going home! Find out how 12 year old Bella* felt when she was told she could live back with her mum

To view the full article please download from

*Names changed to protect identity

Starting off swimmingly Heather Richardson tells why swimming with your foster child is so rewarding


s we all know, fostering can heavily impact upon is an incredibly rewarding the way a child approaches experience, one that requires life; whether this be their skill and dedication commitment to meet the varied to education, “Babies love and complex needs the the sensation of of a child in care. forging of floating freely” As foster carers, we friendships, play a crucial role in being supporting and developing a child’s physically active or learning essential life skills, influencing their new sports. lifestyle choices from the moment “With obesity rates doubling they come into our care. over the past decade, Here, Foster Families hears from carers play a crucial role Water Babies about how swimming in the next generation’s attitude with your foster child can help to and approach to active and healthy enhance the bonding process, while lifestyles which is why our baby teaching the benefits of a healthy swimming classes are structured lifestyle from a young age. around the parents and carers acting Paul Thompson, co-founder of Water as the baby’s teacher. Water Babies Babies, says: “A carer’s behaviour classes allow them to teach their

little ones themselves, thus not only enhancing the bond between carer and baby but also showing the child that this is an activity you enjoy too.” While being able to enjoy physical activity together is a great way of introducing a child to a healthy ...

To view the full article please download from

Photo: Caitlin Regan


he first I heard of Bella’s writing was when her foster carer, Melanie, showed me a poem

Bella had written. The very moving Smile words spoke of her pain in waiting You see the joy in my smile to find out if she and her younger They’re closing our file sister, Lara*, would be able to live My heart beats lightly back with their mum or not. The girls Pressure gone slightly had been separated from their mum We’re a family again and older sister, Carrie*, for about a The answer is when year, while they lived with Melanie. In November As she’d been in care before, twelve NOT December year old Bella was preparing herself I thought it would be no for the worst, and didn’t expect But then they did say it would snow the judge to say yes. Yet she was You see the joy in my smile overjoyed to hear his unexpected They’re closing our file decision! You can read her reaction in ‘Smile’ (right). “It just comes to and my mum was there, and “Melanie kept she told us the good news. I me and I put it screamed when she told me! saying that she had to pick up a down on paper” I was so happy.” parcel,” explains So the girls are preparing to Bella. “So me and Lara went with move back home in time for Carrie’s her, and she pulled up outside the 18th birthday. place where we have contact. I saw “I’m looking forward to being with my mum’s car outside. We went in, my family, and all the homely ...

Support Winter 2011 foster families 7

Caring for a little one? Support here!

Practical advice and information on child development all in one website. Eleanor Thompson tells all

A Photo: Courtney Carmody

new website, Families in the Foundation Years, gives parents and carers all the information

they need to bring up a child up to the age of five years. Produced by charity 4Children in association with the Department for Education (DfE), the website is intended to guide parents and carers on issues such as child development. “We’ve tried to make the website clear and easy to understand so that parents and carers can get the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible,” says Sue Robb, Head of Early Years at 4Children and the charity’s expert on early education. “There’s a whole host of useful material on there including the facilities available in your local children’s centre, how to help the baby in your care develop, childcare options and, once they’re a bit bigger, how to register them for

school.” The website also signposts to other useful support services. “We knew there were some great resources already out there – the NHS for example has some really important information on early health and behaviour issues – but we were concerned people didn’t know how to find them,” Sue says. “We’ve made it easy to access all of these sources of advice from one place, cutting out the wasted time and stress that searching for answers on parenting issues can sometimes cause.” Visit the website at If you want to contact the team with any questions or suggestions of more information to include, email

Support for families Photos, clockwise from top left: Graham Turner/Guardian News & Media Ltd 2011, Rachel Ramos

Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children, explains the plan to help families before problems become crises


e are letting families down by not preparing them for the possibility of problems that hit most families at some point... and by not acting quickly or appropriately when these problems occur. As a result we are stacking up problems for the future and causing needless misery for thousands. The recent policy focus on early intervention and the Prime Minister’s pledge to turnaround the 120,000 most troubled families has focused attention on how we support families with complex needs. 4Children’s Give me Strength Campaign is adding its voice to the

call for a major shift in approach and priority to prevent family crisis. If you take a look at the evidence the case is overwhelming. More than 27,000 children enter the care system each year – the majority because of abuse or neglect, with family related issues the next most prevalent factor effecting almost 9,000 children. But the pathway into the care system is often long and scattered with lost opportunities. The problems Families tell 4Children how complex problems and life events have taken their toll, how opportunities to overcome difficult and damaging situations were missed and how they have struggled to tackle their own personal challenges. In short, families tell us how help was not available as problems

“More than 27,000 children enter care each year”

We need to take action now

developed, how it came too late as crisis set in and how, when it came, it was not the right kind of help – not the practical, consistent and strengths-based help they needed. Parents tell us they are often passed from pillar to post when they do ...

To view the full article please download from

Advice Winter 2011 foster families 8

Do you know the reasons behind their self injury? Lorna Miles tells why young people may self harm, and how you can support them through it


aring for a young person who self harms can be a real emotional roller coaster frustration, inadequacy, helplessness, Scratching is also a form of self harming

fear, demoralisation, shock, anxiety, feeling ‘held to ransom’ by emotional blackmail, can all mix with an overwhelming desire to be the ‘rescuer’. Without adequate knowledge and training on the subject, and clear guidelines on how to respond in any given situation, we can feel unsupported ourselves, with various members of the child’s ‘team’ having differing attitudes and ideas on the subject. The triggers Childhood experiences of sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, loss or separation, parental illness or alcoholism, witnessing family violence, bullying and rejection by peers, racism, fear and shame about puberty

or sexuality and parents having excessively high expectations can all lead to young people engaging in self injury, placing many of the children in care in a high risk group. Expressions of self injury When we think of self injury (also known as self harm or self mutilation) we usually think of ‘cutting’ but it can also include burning, biting, substance abuse, head banging and hitting, taking personal risks, picking and scratching, neglecting oneself, pulling out hair, eating disorders, over dosing and self-poisoning. Not just girls Most people associate females with this type of behaviour and males who self injure are an often overlooked group. Their injuries are more ...

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Affected by violence

Photo: Chris Willis

Jacqui Kirk talks about the effects domestic violence can have on the children in your care


y husband and I have fostered for five years now. All three of the children placed with us have been teenagers and all of them have witnessed and suffered from domestic violence. Research consistently shows that a high proportion of children living with domestic violence are themselves being abused either physically or sexually by the same perpetrator. Nearly three quarters of children on the ‘at risk’ register live in households where domestic violence is occurring*. Children will react in different ways to being brought up in a home with a violent person. Age, race, sex, culture and personality will all have an effect on a child’s response. They may feel angry, guilty, frightened, confused,

powerless and alone.

The signs

If you think the young person in your care may have experienced domestic violence, look out for these signs: - Anxious and depressed - Difficulty sleeping, nightmares - Physical symptoms such as tummy ache or headache - Bed wetting - Tantrums - Aggressive behaviour - Self harm - Unable to concentrate at school - Reluctant to go to school

As a foster carer look out for:

- Silent crying - they are scared to cry as they would have been hit for doing so at home - Overeating/undereating - food ...

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Photo: Jill M

Shaping foundations Judith A James shares how to influence change in children through stories


tories and story telling have long been a means by which children learn. Strongly associated with learning to read, story books are also extremely useful


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

in: - teaching social skills - helping children understand their social world - exploring feelings and relationships - helping children develop their sense of self Creating time together Stories and books have value in their own right, but reading stories together with your foster child will present you with many opportunities to work with them therapeutically. Thinking of my own childhood I remember a feeling of warm security associated first with Listen with

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

Mother, a programme on the radio, and then Watch with Mother, a children’s TV programme. Intended for that time after lunch when sitting still and relaxing was thought to be important they also represented ...

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Photo: Salim Fadhley

Teenage pregnancies Brian Cairns, training manager at Kate Cairns Associates, tells what training is available when supporting a parent and baby placement


any foster carers will have had the experience of helping a young woman in their care through the experience of a teenage pregnancy and going on to help the young mother to get to grips with parenthood while the foster placement continues. Difficult though this may be, it can often bring about a strengthening of the relationship between the young person and the carer as they work together on the unmistakeably adult task of ensuring that the baby’s needs are fully met and the foundations laid for the

child’s future healthy development. But increasingly carers are being asked to consider assisting the courts in determining the future of vulnerable children born to mothers of any age whose ability to parent their child appropriately and successfully is under scrutiny. In the past, such ‘parent-and-child placements’ were customarily made in residential settings, where the mother’s (or sometimes father’s) ability to meet the physical and emotional needs of their child was assessed by a staff team.

Nowadays, it is increasingly recognised that the parent and ...

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ChoiCes TogeTher...

…is open to Looked After young people in Years 10 and 11 from across the Tyne, Wear and Northumberland region. Collaboratively delivered by Northumbria University, Newcastle University and the University of sunderland, Choices Together lets young people discover more about higher education, personal motivation and planning for the future. The campus-based evening sessions are a fantastic opportunity to explore the university facilities, meet current students and experience university life. Membership is completely free and includes young people’s travel to and from sessions, meals and all activities.

For More iNForMATioN ANd To order AN AppLiCATioN ForM, pLeAse CoNTACT MegAN LUNN bY eMAiLiNg MegAN.LUNN@sUNderLANd.AC.Uk or TeLephoNiNg 0191 515 2801.



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

Education Winter 2011 foster families 11

Securing a future Imogen May shares how she supported the young man in her care to change his life from drugs to an apprenticeship About Imogen

Imogen May has Muscular Dystrophy which causes her to use a wheelchair fulltime and receive fluids through a tube. She is supported with her breathing overnight, and spent three years unable to speak (while caring for Seth*), due to recurrent intubation. She has 24 hour support at home... yet none of this has stopped her from fostering, and being one of the youngest foster carers in her area!


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 aving Seth was always going - caring for him almost took a back s General university and the benefi ts of higher education to be a challenge. I had been seat at times! on the fi nancial and practical support s Advice informally fostering him from As a result of his childhood Seth available, such as our care leaver’s bursary of the age of 11, but that role changed has some special needs and we £1,000 per year (subject to conditions). to kinship carer two years ago. Being seriously struggle to get him to only 26 when I started means I am partake in any education at all. A great place for actually one of the youngest foster He is a very bright lad and clearly inspiring minds carers in Cambridge. I’m single and had all the potential to do well, yet have been the whole time I’ve had trouble got the better of him and Quality mark awarded for our commitment to working Seth, although I before long his days with care leavers “He’s a bright lad, but previously had a were consumed female partner trouble got the better with smoking weed for six years who and trying to find of him” Seth was also money to pay for    s close to. She's the habit. He's very been a huge support in fighting social aware of extensive drug usage in services with me. the family and felt his life had been of insight when he realised he Fostering had been a childhood pathed already. In a bid to curb his wouldn't be able to do anything here dream, yet I'd never fostered before use of drugs, we decided while he was “In a bid to curb his surrounded I had Seth - so it really was a case as a family he would go of working out what was best as we to a rehab unit (one of drug useage he went by a difficult went along. For example, the night the only ones in the UK to family, to a rehab unit” Seth and his sister were taken into specialise in young adults drug using care I knew that I would offer them a in foster care). However, friends and home, but the way it played out was despite stopping smoking, he was enemies. After talking over what very different to how I imagined. I failed even further in his educational qualifications he currently had and was very lucky, with fantastic support and emotional needs and ended what capabilities he would have this from my fostering social worker. up coming back home. He took up coming academic year, it was clear Seth's team of social workers, on the smoking again as he associated with main stream options were simply not other hand, were very hit and miss! old friends and though we got him for him. We thought about specific In the first year, it was left up to me back into his special school, it was for NVQ's but with no work experience and 'sorting' Seth was a full time job one hour, three days a week. he really had no idea what he wanted Having discussed post-16 to do. And while I would have loved options, Seth had made it clear to have seen him enjoy a job, I knew he wanted to remain at home that his emotional and mental health with me and eventually live was too unstable for that to actually independently in Cambridge. But be an option. Eventually, we decided with school having broken up it an apprenticeship would be the best didn't take long for him to make plan for Seth, but where? That was it clear he would not follow the still anyone's guess! I was frank with house rules. Seth, explaining that staying here One very simple rule was that might feel safe, but that didn’t make he was to attend college or work it right for him. Seth’s emotional and while he lived here. After a long mental health would change greatly discussion, Seth had a moment hour by hour, and catching him in... Foster mum, Imogen To read the rest of this article please download *Name changed from to protect identity

Is college an option? Young people want to hear your advice on further education. Joy Mercer advises foster carers how to find out about courses available for young people



ootball Agent & Ex Southampton star David Hughes supports Simply Fostering in their quest to raise the profile of fostering in the UK. David says: “The guys at Simply Fostering do a great job and I take my hats off to them, as I know they work tirelessly educating the public about fostering and identifying people to be considered as foster carers. A great cause. Keep up the good work guys!”

study conducted on behalf of the Association of Colleges found that while 63% of young people are able to name A-Levels as a post-GCSE qualification, very few can name any of the other choices available. Joy Mercer, Director of Education Policy at the Association of Colleges, comments: “The research highlights the confusion among pupils about their post-GCSE options. They are having to make serious decisions which will significantly impact on their futures, without enough information about the choices available to them.” The recent research report, which aimed to explore the current level of advice being given to young people about their post-GCSE options, highlighted a worrying lack of understanding about the options available. The research outlined that a half of Year 10 pupils were unable to name more than two post-GCSE qualifications. The study also found that half of pupils did not feel that they had received enough advice from their school or academy. Joy continues: “When asked how useful they found the information provided to them, a large proportion claimed that the advice they received from their parents was more useful than that received from teachers. This shows that parents have a hugely important role to play in helping their children to fully understand their options.”

So what are the options? Joy says: “There are a variety of resources within your local community which can help you to fully understand the options available.” Read on for Joy’s top tips on finding the right path for the young person in your care: Colleges offer independent careers advisors who are there to offer free and impartial advice. These ... To read the rest of this article please download from


Please contact Annette Webb at or visit for more info.

Competitions Winter 2011 foster families 13

Bilingual fostering skills

Don’t let language be a problem! Read on for Theresa’s story of learning with her foster child


ave you ever fostered a child who speaks a different mother tongue to you? Theresa did, and although she thought she would struggle she found it much more educational than she expected. Theresa says: “I had a little boy in my care who only spoke Vietnamese. I thought we were going to struggle to communicate with him but I was proven wrong. He would point to whatever he wanted and then I would say what it was in English, before encouraging him to repeat the word. It took just three weeks. Sometimes he said the word in both languages, meaning I learn’t some Vietnamese words... but not ...

! Win


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this set of books

Help the child in your care learn a little Spanish as they explore new friendships being made across cultures in these books by Genevieve Yusuf. To enter, answer this simple question: What is the Spanish version of the name ‘Lucy’? a) Lucia b) Laura Send your answer, along with your name and address to with the subject line ‘Jajaja’ before January 30th 2012. The first correct answer drawn on that day will win a set of books featuring ‘Phillip & Felipe’ and ‘Lucy & Lucia’ (courtesy of JaJaJa Books).

5 copies of ‘Playin’ the Game’ to win


Playin’ the Game: Your Survival Guide to Care, by The Who Cares? Trust £1.00 ISBN: 9781903239339 We’ve got five copies of ‘Playin’ the Game’ to be won To enter, answer this simple question: Playin’ the Game is your survival guide to what? a) Care b) School Send your answer, along with your name and address to before January 30th 2012 with the subject line ‘Playin’ the Game’. The first five correct answers drawn on that day will win.


he care system is confusing. Fact. Now imagine being a young person who’s recently been taken into care and suddenly everything becomes even more daunting. On top of moving away from their family, they have to get their head around the bewildering list of who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s that make up the care system. The Who Cares? Trust have created Playin’ the Game: Your Survival Guide to Care, to equip young

people with essential info about what to expect from life in care, what their rights are and what support they’re entitled to. This is a useful resource for any young person in care. At only £1 it’s a helpful guide that you could give them on arrival at your house, or as a leaving gift when they move on. We’ve got five copies to give away, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Win a prize package worth £50+


aby Sensory has just launched its online shop providing products that have been researched and tested by Dr Lin Day, a leading authority on all aspects of baby learning and development and founder of Baby Sensory. Currently one in 60 babies born in the UK attends one of the 400 Baby Sensory baby development classes run in the UK.

N! I W

To celebrate the launch of the online shop, Baby Sensory is giving away a prize package to one lucky reader containing products that have been lovingly designed and created by Baby Sensory, including: Nappy balm 50ml; a cuddly, velvety-soft tummy time duck; ‘Say hello to the sun’ songbook and CD; laminated Baby Sensory A4 Placemat; car window sunshade; multi-coloured beach ball - excellent for encouraging tummy time, eyetracking, crawling, exploration, movement and quality play; chiffon scarf to promote fun interactive play; ‘The ABC of Baby Signing’ book with clear illustrations to make


signing fun to learn. Find more Baby Sensory products here:

Here’s your chance to win a prize package from Baby Sensory featuring all the products mentioned plus a nappy bag To enter, answer this simple question: How many babies attend a Baby Sensory class? a) One in 200 b) One in 60 Send your answer, along with your name and address to with the subject line ‘Brain food’. The first correct answer drawn on January 31st 2012 will win.

Competitions Winter 2011 foster families 14


tte e l s r e ead


What’s your question?

Competition Winners! Congratulations to:

Have your say! If you’ve got a story to share in the magazine, or a question you’d like Annette to answer, email it to haveyoursay@

Louise Hendon for winning the Little Charley Bear set of books, and Barbara Shaw who won the Maxi-Cosi Opal car seat. Lorraine Gaul and Beverley Rook both won a Bubble Bum car seat, while Rebecca Robertson, Jayne Newton and Cassandra Kirkpatrick each won a Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies back to school lunch pack. Well done to Maragaret Hill for winning a Quack Quack Moo gift set worth £44.99, and to Marianne Wootten for winning a year’s supply of EcoForce cleaning products worth £50, all in our Autumn 2011 issue. Look out for this issue’s competitions on pages 19, 31, 32, 37 and 39.

Win a signed copy!

Kids Co


Now’s your chance to win a signed copy of Julia Suzuki’s ‘Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms’ adventures of Yoshiko, Enter here! Word Corner n a dragon who discovers For your chance to win i W

Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms, by Julia Suzuki (Steve Brookes Publishing) £12.99 ISBN: 9780956414588 A thoroughly enjoyable book telling of the

he is quite different from other dragons... with an important destiny. Discover how the dragons live in the land of Dragor and the different talents that each type of dragon have. Many readers will relate to Yoshiko who struggles to fit in and is constantly teased by his classmates. It’s a magical story of fun and friendship, and you will want to read the next in the series once you finish this one!

this signed book, find these words in the grid: DRAGON - TALENT - CHARMS - GIFT YOSHIKO - DESTINY - MAGIC The remaining letters spell out a name - find this and send it to competitions@, along with your name, address and the subject line ‘Yoshiko’ for your chance to win our prize! The closing date is January 30th 2012 - the first correct entry drawn on that date will win.

Octonauts on DVD


O T A N R G I N S U T M I K Z U K I S C O What carers might want to know Aimed at eight to ten year olds, this is the first of the Dragor series. Visit for more information.

2 copies of Octonauts to be won!


As seen on CBeebies, the Octonauts are now available to own on DVD for £13.27. Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso are always ready to accept an exciting new mission, whether it be rescuing sea creatures or exploring new underwater worlds. For your chance to win a copy, take a look at our Number Corner. The numbers go up in 5’s from 5 to 50, but one number is missing. Can you work out what the missing number is? Send it, along with your name and address, to with the subject line ‘Octonauts’. The closing date is January 30th 2012 - the first two correct entries drawn on that date will win.

Number Corner

5 25 40 20 30 15 45 50 10

Competitions Winter 2011 foster families 15



Maxi-Cosi Mura 3 Your chance to win this fabulous pushchair! Competition details below


oster carers will love the MaxiCosi Mura 3. It seats from newborn to three and a half years, meaning whatever the age of your next or current foster child, this is the travel system for you. The award-winning Maxi-Cosi Mura gives you the freedom to enjoy your time together from baby to toddler, with a comfortable and spacious seat that can be installed and reclined in both forward and rearward-facing positions. It comes with adapters so the frame


can also be used to carry a Maxi-Cosi infant car seat and the Mura carrycot for added flexibility. The Mura comes in a choice of colours with a large shopping basket - fantastic for those endless trips to the shop! There’s a whole range of matching accessories available including a raincover, sun canopy and baby cocoon. The Mura is available as a three or four wheeler, with air-filled tyres for extra comfort. It’s easy to fold and unfold, meaning you won’t mind putting it in the boot of your car or

For your chance to win this Maxi-Cosi Mura 3 worth £335.00, use the questions below to fill out the crossword. The coloured squares are an anagram of a word linked to Maxi-Cosi. Once you’ve worked that out, email your answer to with the subject line ‘Maxi-Cosi’. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The competition closes on January 30th 2012 and the first correct entry drawn on that date will win the prize.

storing it away at home, making it our top choice this season. RRP: £335.00. More info:


We say: “It’s easy to set up initially and only takes 10 minutes. The seat can be put in lots of positions, including lying down for newborns, making it really useable. It feels light to push even with our two and a half year old in - and the inner seat is really comfy for little ones. It suits all ages, and the handle can be adjusted depending on your height, which meant both my husband and I could push in comfort. The footrest and handlebars can be moved depending on the age of the child. We found it a dream to use and would definitely recommend it.”

Crossword Clues Across

1. George Lucas fantasy series (4, 4) 5. Rihanna hit (8) 10. Audley ______ , Strictly Come Dancing 2011 contestant (8) 11. London will host this 2012 international sporting event (8)


1. Shock someone (4) 2. 1970s Swedish pop group (4) 3. 7 days (4) 4. This American rapper is ‘Always on Time’, Ja ____ (4) 6. ____ of Duty, video game (4) 7. Snip or cut hair (4) 8. Italian province and city, best known for its wine (4) 9. Hard-working insects (4) Download or order the full magazine from

Find us:

I’m a foster carer. Do I need to think about tax? Yes. As a foster carer, you are treated as self-employed and should be registered as such with H M Revenue & Customs. You may also need to file an annual tax return and pay income tax and National Insurance contributions.

All of this for just ÂŁ150. Please call for more information.

We will: Register your self-employment Provide a financial review to identify potential tax savings Prepare your income statement and self assessment tax return Advise on any correspondence received from the tax authorities

Tel: 0121 445 0459

Unlimited email and telephone support


Allowing you to get on with the amazing job that you do!

Specialist Tax Advice for Foster Carers Registered with the Association of Taxation Technicians as a practising member



Winter 2011 Sample  
Winter 2011 Sample  

A sample of the Winter 2011 issue of Foster Families Magazine. Advice and support for foster carers on a number of different issues. Article...