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foster families Spring 2011 Issue 8 £2

Need some ‘me time’?

How to foster

Find out why you need a time out!

Tips on potty training

Babies and alcohol?

Why it’s hard and how to get it right

The risks, and top tips to deal with FAS

Step by step guide on how to become a foster carer

“Essential reading for all foster families, packed with lots of useful information” Cathy Glass, foster carer and best-selling author of ‘Cut’

Welcome Spring 2011 foster families 2

Welcome from the editor... Foster Families Online

Dear Reader,

What can you find?

This is the online sample - please download the full magazine for £1 or subcribe to the full printed copy for £2 delivered direct to your door. There’s lots inside this issue to help you in your role as foster carer... there’s lots of advice from our experts on attachment disorder, caring for a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and knowing when the time’s right to start potty training.

Visit for the latest news and updates from Foster Families Magazine. The website has 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 from For more updates you can follow us on Twitter: or become a fan on our Facebook page:

I hope you enjoy this issue, I know I have! Ceressa Bateman, Editor

Photos (from left) :Eric Fleming, San Jose Library

Meet the experts... Fiona Strachan, Adopt Resources director, gives top tips to prepare children for adoption

Helen Mason, Educational & Child Psychologist, shares how to talk about past experiences

Carol Lozier, Psychotherapist, talks about ambivalent attachment

Janet Blannin, Starr Medical, advises the best time to start potty training

Hayley Payne, Fostertax, talks about the benefits of National Insurance Credits for foster carers

foster families Helen Mason gives her top tips on making time for yourself in a busy schedule

Spring 2011 Issue 8 £2

If you’re interested in fostering, find out the first steps of applying

11 Janet Blannin shares the secrets to successful potty training

4 Need some ‘me time’?

How to foster

Find out why you need a time out!


Tips on potty training

Babies and alcohol?

Why it’s hard and how to get it right

The risks, and top tips to deal with FAS

Step by step guide on how to become a foster carer

Cover photo: Abi Thorne. Inset photo: Ron Sombilon

Take a look at this issue’s cover stories

Advice on caring for children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

“Essential reading for all foster families, packed with lots of useful information” Cathy Glass, foster carer and best-selling author of ‘Cut’

This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at


Contents Spring 2011 foster families 3

Contents Spring 2011

Edition 8

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

These contents are for the FULL version!

advice . . . how to become a foster carer ask our psychologist don’t push me - ambivalent attachment

... 4 ... 10 ... 21


my time in care . . .

26 book reviews ...

making the most of life daddy’s girl... finally

education . . .

personal . . .

our top tips ...

welcome to the culture it’s not my fault - reactive attachment cathy glass: time to read my story

competitions ... gatwick bear book ... 26 katie & kimble book ... 27 narnia, voyage of the dawn treader dvd ... 37 cathy glass books ... 39



support with your studies: higher education ... 13

gatwick bear ... 26 foster care and social networking ... 26 guerilla mum ... 26 katie & kimble ... 27 baby sleep solutions ...27 a guide to attachment...27 understanding & working with birth parents ... 27

caring for a child with FASD ... 8 online safety ... 9 me time ...12 adoption preparation...15 reducing distancing behaviour ...22

... 5 ...14

support . . . how often are your kids online? squeezing in ‘me time’ preparing for adoption are you benefiting from NI credits?

... 9 ... 11 ... 15 ... 20

... 17 ... 23 ... 34


food and health . . . babies who drink: FASD toilet training driving you potty? easy icing chris’s cookery cards

... 7 ... 28 ... 35 ... 36

information . . . no place like home - fostering abroad

... 18

home . . . personalised cards for foster carers create a chicken doorstop

... 31 ... 32

fun stuff . . . swap shop - trade your toys and prams competition winners kids’ corner your letters crossword

... 4 ... 31 ... 37 ... 38 ... 39


This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Leaving Care Spring 2011 foster families 4

Does ‘foster carer’ suit me? If you’re thinking of fostering read Fiona Barnes’ advice on making that decision

1 t r Pa


hildren need to be looked after for many reasons and by becoming a foster carer you can make a real difference to a child’s life when it matters most. Carers can be from a range of backgrounds and age groups and you may be gay, single, married or divorced. The most important requirement is that carers have the time, energy and the maturity to care for children in a safe environment. They will also need a spare bedroom. Children and young people need space and their own room to allow them to study, play and relax.

What’s the first step?

Once you’ve decided you’d like to foster, you can apply through your local authority or an independent fostering agency. You can usually contact them online or by phone and they will send you an information pack with an application form.

appointment will be made to visit you in your own home (this is called an Initial Visit). Your initial visit provides the opportunity for detailed discussion and whether your progression to assessment would be appropriate for you and your family.

Photo: Carolien Dekeersmaeker

If fostering’s something you’ve thought about, whether for now or in the future, our How To Become a Foster Carer series will help you through the whole process

“Carers need time, energy and maturity”

Talk it through

When your enquiry or application is received you will be contacted by a local Carer Recruitment Officer or Supervising Social Worker (SSW) who will discuss becoming a foster carer with you. If it’s agreed that your enquiry can be taken further, an

Did you know?

There is a current shortage of over 10,000 foster carers in the UK.

by Fiona Barnes, National Fostering Agency. For more information about NFA please visit our website or telephone us on 0845 200 4040.

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Leaving Care Spring 2011 foster families 5

Babies who drink: the consequences If the child in your care suffers from FASD, check out what support is available


oetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) describes a range of effects that can occur in a child whose mother drank alcohol when she was pregnant. The effects of this lifelong, incurable condition include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities. Awareness of FASD is slowly growing, particularly among health professionals, but remains limited. It can affect any child whose mother drank while pregnant. Alcohol abuse is often linked with chaotic lifestyles and other associated problems, and children from these backgrounds are more likely to end up in the care system. The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT), the UK’s largest charity provider of fostering and adoption services, is putting on a series of conferences across the UK. Kevin Williams, TACT CEO, explains: “Careleavers are more likely to abuse alcohol than their peers and put their own children into care at an earlier age.”

He gives an example of identical twins, where one is much more affected by FAS than the other - even though they were both in the same womb at the same time. Kevin agrees: “We don’t know the impact FAS has on every foetus – it’s better to be safe than sorry and call for ZERO drinking in pregnancy.” Research shows that alcohol has a dramatic impact on the You wouldn’t fill a babies bottle with alcohol: one glass of alcohol when movements pregnant stops a foetus’ breathing movement for 60 minutes and behaviours of Others affected by FASD might not the foetus. Professor Peter Hepper, have the identifying traits of FAS Director of Fetal Behaviour Research but will suffer from poor memory, Centre, explains that a foetus’ hyperactivity, short attention span or movements in the womb difficulty in communicating or coping are smooth and continuous. with social situations. However if the mother has They have trouble forming concepts been drinking alcohol the so for example when playing 20 foetus moves in stops and questions, rather than asking starts - as we do when we appropriate questions such as are startled. ‘Is it living?’ to narrow down the A foetus practises the breathing possibilities, they will just keep movement ready for birth, but one guessing until they come upon the glass of alcohol suppresses this answer. breathing movement for one hour. Due to their social immaturity, Dr Mary Mather says: “If you children and young people with wouldn’t put it in a baby’s bottle why FASD have difficulty establishing give it to them before birth?” friendships, especially with children Signs and traits of FASD of the same age. One manifestation of FASD is Misdiagnosis known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome As little is known about FASD, those (FAS). People with FAS can often affected can be misdiagnosed with be identified through facial features similar conditions such as autism such as a small head, a thin upper or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity lip and an indistinct philtrum (the Disorder (ADHD). They might be groove between lip and nose). given a catch-all diagnosis such ...

“It can affect any child whose mother drank”

A range of effects

Part of the problem with analysing the impact of FASD in the UK is that there are many variables and there has been little research. It is a spectrum disorder because the manifestations and consequences are very broad. The foetus develops in stages, so the effect of FASD can vary according to the period of pregnancy and amounts the mother was drinking. Professor Edward Riley, International FASD Neurodevelopmental Brain Expert, says: “Not every foetus is equally affected.”

To read the rest of this article please download from This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at


Support for care leavers at the University of Greenwich 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 university and the s General benefi ts of higher education about the entry requirements and degree s Information programmes on the fi nancial and practical support available s Advice such as our care leaver bursary of £1,000 per year – subject to conditions.


Support for Care Leavers







inspiring minds

_ _ _



A great place for

& the Environment Earth Sciences; Environmental OfferingScience; courses in the following areas: Gemmology; _ EarthInformation Geographical Sciences; Systems; _ Environmental Science; _ Gemmology; Geography; _ Geographical Information Geology; Hazards &Systems; Disaster _ Geography; Management; and _ Geology; Sustainable Development.


_ _ _ _

_ Hazards & Disaster Management; and _ Sustainable Development.

The scheme offers: _ A £1000 bursary per year* _ Flexible entry requirements _ A single point of contact at the University _ Advice on accommodation, student funding and student services _ Funding for year abroad and overseas placements *conditions apply To find out more information visit or contact us on or telephone

020 8417 3233

Quality mark awarded for our commitment to working with care leavers


Linda Bishopp advises young people who they can go to for help at college or university


he transition from school to university can be a daunting time for the young people in your care. Regardless of their experience at school, they had statutory support in place and, importantly, a key contact for you in the form of their Designated Teacher. You knew who to contact, in confidence, if there were problems and your young person had someone who was monitoring their progress and keeping up to date with their reviews. When time comes for your young person to leave school, whether they choose to continue in education at either a further education college or university, you will want to be sure that they receive the support that they need. In Kent and Medway all further education colleges and universities have at least one named contact, similar to a designated teacher,

who has been specifically trained to support the needs of young people in and leaving care. Designated Members of Staff (DMS for short) are named individuals that you and your young person can contact at the college or university (and even before the young person enrols) to get all the support and information they need to settle in and make the most of their time at college or university. All enquiries are confidential and your young person needn’t feel pressured to share their life story because each DMS has been trained to understand. To find out more about the DMS Scheme and DMS Training* visit:

“You’ll want to be sure they get the support they need”

*DMS training is accredited by the University of Greenwich and managed jointly by the If you are an education or local authority practitioner who partner institutions would like to know more about DMS Training or how you may which make up the Aimhigher become a DMS (wherever you are in the UK) please contact Kent and Medway 01227 782565 or visit Partnership.

Photo: (Flickr) Megan Soh

Support in your studies

This is not the full version To read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

•• • ••• •• •• •• ••• ••

Blackpool FC Premiership star James Beattie supports Simply Fostering. The England International hopes that all foster children are given the opportunity to develop and mature in an environment which is caring and supportive. Simply Fostering is a response to the national shortfall of foster carers. The free service provides people with choices to find the right agency for them and their family, as well as foster carer advice. For more info, please contact Annette at or visit

• •• •• •• ••• •• •• ••• •• •• •• ••• •• • • • •

We specialise in looking after Foster Carer’s taxation

Visit us at, or speak to us on 01207 524 909 to find out how we can help you We charge a fixed fee, agreed in advance

Gweithio Gyda Myfyrwyr sy’n Gadael Gofal -Ein hymroddiad ni i’ch dyfodol chi

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

workinG with students froM Care - our commitmEnt to your futurE

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

Competition Winners

Congratulations to our winners! Mediak DVDS - Sheila and Wendy Peppa Pig Wii game - Wendy, Marian themessiplace pack - Margy and Lou My Desi Guru DVDs - Lou Hauck Turbo buggy - Alexandra Grandma’s Gifts - Jess Orchard Toys board games - Louise Montagne Jeunesse pamper packs and Sue - Marian Who Cares Trust books - Margaret Saronti books - Cheryl and Sue

Adoption Greeting Cards

A special time where adoptive parents and children deserve a special handmade card Numerous designs and themes, from adoption announcements to ‘Welcome to Our Family’. See samples on the website. Contact Carolyn for particular requests: 0116 2221882/ 07974810771

Support Spring 2011 foster families 8

Ask our Psychologist Worried about a child in your care? Helen answers your questions Helen Mason is an Educational & Child Psychologist and Expert Witness. She is chartered with the British Psychological Society and registered as a practitioner psychologist with the Health Professions Council. Her expertise focuses upon looked after children (LAC) and young people. She practices independently at Looked after Child Psychologists ( and formerly held a specialist post within the public sector working with LAC, foster carers and other professionals.


erhaps you’re concerned about the child in your care’s behaviour? Or maybe their social or emotional development at home or at school? Why not ask our psychologist. If you have any questions that you would like to put to Helen, email her at All questions are treated in strict confidence. Please read our disclaimer at

Q: My 12

year old foster child brings up memories of her life before she came into care. How should I manage this?

A: Firstly, it is to your credit that

your foster child feels comfortable enough in her relationship with you to begin to talk about her past. Secondly, it’s difficult to answer your question without knowing what type of experiences she’s recalling. New Information You should exercise some caution if the child is recalling abusive events involving named individuals, particularly if she is disclosing new information. If this is the case, I’m sure you would have urgently contacted the child’s social worker (SW) and your supervising social worker (SSW) and they would have advised you what to do according to child protection procedures in place. Coming to terms with any longer term effects of these events tends to take place when procedures and investigations are concluded. Known Events However, if your child is speaking of known events, she may be trying to come to terms with difficult thoughts and feelings. Foster carers often

worry that they’re not ‘qualified’ to talk about past experiences with the children and young people in their care. However, if the child is leading the communication and you enable them to feel listened to and safe within your relationship, this may signal that they consider your relationship a therapeutic one. Listen and Comfort On this basis, you are able to support the child in expressing and managing difficult thoughts and feelings. This means that the child is doing the talking, and you are doing the listening and offering comfort. Comfort is whatever works for the child, such as an understanding smile, a hug or even a windy beach walk where she can run around and shout and scream at the top of her voice. Keep a record of what the child says and your responses. Include dates and times as this helps to monitor progress and can be useful for any mental health professionals that may become involved in the future. If done consistently over a period of time, this approach is very effective and you will become a key agent of positive change for the child. Don’t analyse I strongly urge you to avoid offering any analyses or diagnoses. I have come across a few instances where foster carers have provided written or verbal reports outlining their analysis of the children in their care. These reports contained

“You are doing the listening and comforting”


psychological and psychiatric terms, and concluded even that they ‘need therapy’ or will pose a ‘risk to others’. In all cases these highly inappropriate analyses were unsubstantiated and the conclusions were inaccurate and alarmist. This was very damaging for the children involved. Fortunately, I don’t see this often. Professional Help If you have concerns that the child isn’t making progress in managing their difficult thoughts and feelings - say for instance, their daily functioning if affected, or the child is placed at risk, then discuss your concerns with the child’s SW. They will arrange to refer the child on to a mental health professional such as a nurse specialist in mental health, a psychologist or psychiatrist in the services available to looked after children in your authority. It’s quite common for children and young people to say very little during sessions with professionals, and then open up with someone else outside of the professional relationship. This means that the ‘talk’ during the session may have prompted thoughts and feelings that the child inhibited within the therapeutic relationship, but felt able to express freely within a more personal relationship. Depending on the therapeutic approach used by the professional, you may be able to work alongside or even under supervision if everyone is in agreement and if this approach is more effective for the child.

“Keep a record of what the child says and your responses”

This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Communication Spring 2011 foster families 9

Preparing for adoption Fiona Strachan shares her top tips for moving a child onto adoptive parents as smoothly as possible


oving a child from your care on to their adoptive placement can often be a bittersweet experience. It’s a time of mixed emotions: happiness and hope for the child’s future balanced with moving on of a child you’ve cared for in your family. Once the decision to move a child to an adoptive placement has been confirmed, practitioners and carers can start to prepare their child for the move to their ‘forever family’ home. The timing and how this is done needs to be carefully thought through and communicated with everyone involved in the child’s life. A consistent message can lay strong foundations for the big changes ahead. As with most things in life, and certainly in foster care, there is no set format or one size fits all approach. You need to factor in the child’s understanding of the reasons for being in care, what a permanent placement means to them and their existing relationship and feelings towards their birth family. So what things can help you prepare your child for the move to their ‘forever family’ home?

reinforce things for the child and ultimately make things easier to understand. Team work This fits with consistency and means that you and your child’s workers need to talk to each other about when and how to tell the child about the move. Even down to the language and words used to describe what’s happening. Timing Timing depends on the child and their circumstances. Some children will need time to process what’s happening, for others more notice just leads to more anxiety and too Any info given to the child must be age appropriate much time to think about things. of understanding things. We used Part of your teamwork will to draw pictures of all the different involve how and when houses and places they’d been and you deliver your consistent message. we’d get a pen and do footprints/ If finding a prospective match is likely steps all over it and talk about to take a long time this obviously everyone as we drew. It usually affects how you’ll time discussions. ended up a mess of scribbles but Also, important review dates and helped reinforce their story and what contact with birth family may lead you was happening. to tell the child before these so that Language they are not finding things out in the It’s important to use the same wrong way. words to describe adoption and Age and stage appropriate the move. Things like ‘forever family’; Any information given to the ‘tummy mummy’ etc have all been child needs to be appropriate used to start to describe the different to their age and stage and in a way families. that they will understand or at least I have to say I’m not a big fan of be able to start to process. This either of those phrases but if your might mean using pictures, books child knows them and makes sense and stories to describe things or to of them just keep using them. We talk start conversations. Some children about our children’s ‘first mummy and can find drawing pictures a good way daddy’ and to begin with we were ...

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“A consistent message lays strong foundations”

Here are some top tips:


Consistent message This is one of the most important things that will help a child’s understanding of the big changes ahead of them. It’s going to be hard to manage all the messages given about adoption especially where there is ongoing contact with birth family who are contesting the move. However, if the child’s workers and carers and those around them give the same message it can help



To read the rest of this article please download from This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Communication Spring 2011 foster families 10

Books for kids... Take a look at these fun books with loveable characters for the children in your care to relate to

Gatwick Bear, by Anna Cuffaro (Sparkling Books) £9.99 ISBN: 97819072300280

Reading together is a good way to bond

Where does Gatwick Bear live?



An exciting adventure for kids to enjoy. Gatwick Bear is named after the airport where he lives, and gets into lots of trouble while he tries to find a real home with a new family. To get your hands on a copy, visit http://, or answer this question for your chance to win one:

a) Gatwick Airport b) Heathrow Airport c) Manchester Airport Email your answer, along with your name and address to with the subject line ‘Gatwick Bear’. Or you can post your entry to Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The closing date is May 10th 2011, and the first correct entry picked at random on this date will win.

Fun adventure for children

Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story, by Linda Thieman (Juvenile Books Series) ISBN: 9780979439612


his fun and enchanting Here’s your chance to win book is about two girls a set of Katie and Kimble from world’s apart books, including A Ghost who become friends. Aimed at seven to ten year olds, Story, and The Magic Wish Katie has a loving, stable To enter, simply answer this family and a faithful dog question: called Twinkle. When her What is Katie’s dog called? family moves house to a a) Sparkle different area she meets lots b) Lightning of new people. Kimble is a c) Twinkle friendly ghost searching to Email your answer, along with your find out what happened to name and address to competitions@ her family, and needs with the subject Katie’s help to say line ‘Katie and Kimble’. Fun goodbye to the past. adventure for Or you can post your entry to The book deals with trust, friendship and being welcomed Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook children and accepted into a new family. It is a fun adventure that Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The children will enjoy. Many children in care will be able to relate to closing date is May 10th 2011, and Kimble, who longs to find her mother, and cautiously becomes part of the first correct entry picked at random on Katie’s family. this date will win.

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...and books for carers For our fab list of books for carers please download the full version from

This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Communication Spring 2011 foster families 11

Time to read Cathy’s story Author Cathy Glass shares why she decided to foster


athy Glass has spent the last 20 years caring for children of all ages and backgrounds. She also has three children of her own, two natural and one adopted. It is the true-stories behind some of these children which have formed the basis for the books she is now known for internationally. Through her books, which are regularly in the top 10 best-sellers list, Cathy portrays the suffering and courage For more information on Cathy Glass and her books, visit

of some of the most vulnerable children in our society. Her ‘calling’ for fostering began when she saw an advert in the local newspaper, following a career in civil service. “The advertisement said that foster carers were desperately needed, and so I went along to an introductory evening and never looked back. “I’ll admit that at times fostering is very demanding, but the rewards are never ending.”

“It’s demanding, but the rewards never end”

Cathy has always combined writing with fostering. Before the publication of her fostering memoirs she had written several short stories, articles, and poems for various national magazines and newspapers. “I think writing is a sort of therapy for me, and certainly telling the children’s stories has helped me to come to terms with what they’ve been through.” Since publishing her first book in ...

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Don’t push me! Does the child in your care pull you close just to push you away again? Carol Lozier takes a look at the push/pull relationship of Ambivalent Attachment


n a parent-child relationship, the purpose of attachment is to make the child feel safe, secure and protected. Attachment is categorized as either secure (healthy) or insecure (damaged). The three types of insecure attachment are: ambivalent, avoidant and disorganised. In this article we’ll focus specifically on the ambivalent style.

her parent will be available, the child tries various ways to gain her attention, such as fussy or clingy behaviour. Ambivalent attachment can be described as a ‘push/pull’ relationship between the parent and child. The child initially wants closeness with her parent, but also fears closeness so will act up or shut down to distance her caregiver. For most parents this behaviour is confusing and frustrating.

Ambivalent attachment

Wade and Kimberly’s story

This develops when a caregiver is emotionally unpredictable sometimes she is available and at other times she is unavailable. Because the child can’t predict when

Wade and Kimberly are first time parents. After much consideration, they schedule a therapy appointment to discuss concerns about their three year old son, Luis.

Kimberly begins, “We brought Luis home from Colombia when he was 16 months old. We thought he had a good foster home. We don’t understand it... we thought we were doing well.” Wade and Kimberly notice Luis’ behaviours but aren’t sure if this is average three year old or adoption related behaviours. Problematic Behaviours: Kimberly says, “Luis won’t accept ‘no’ from us. Time-outs don’t work. If I get upset he says, ‘Mum, your hair looks nice. I like you very much.’ It makes me wonder if he’s manipulating me.” Wade adds, “He runs into his room, hides and screams, ‘Don’t touch me!’ Then, he’ll scream for one of us ...

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Support Spring 2011 foster families 12

Welcome to the culture

Leanne Rose tells how the local Afghan community welcomed her when she fostered an Afghani boy


fostered an Afghani boy who was age assessed at 15. He was an asylum seeker and didn’t speak a word of English. I am a white British single female carer and took him in on an emergency basis... I don’t know who was more shocked, me or him! Culturally, Farshad* was in shock that a single woman lived on her own with her own house and car etc. And then there was the obvious language barrier.

Translator please!

He spoke Dari or Persian - of which there aren’t many translation sites online. I knew there was a street in Doncaster that has a lot of different ethnicities living and working on it, so I went down and entered a café which was full of men. It was like walking into an old wild west saloon – everyone stopped talking and stared! The manager came bustling out and I asked him for help. I explained who I was and the situation I was in. He didn’t speak Dari but a similar language. He asked if anyone in the café could help, and a guy stepped forward and spoke to Farshad. I just wanted some basic info on diet and religion. Meanwhile, the manager bustled about in the kitchen and came out with a full-on Afghan meal for us, which was a great comfort for Farshad to have some food he recognised. He refused to take any money for the meal, and promised to bring some food to my house that night as he lived close by. He brought us many more free meals too! The man who was speaking to Farshad said that their languages were not quite the same and gave me the name and location of another Afghan man who came from the same region. After the meal we went to see

Saffi who spoke fluent Dari. Throughout my time with Farshad he was brilliant - I could phone him anytime and often used him as an interpreter.

Photo: (Flickr) Ivan Mlinaric


That first day Saffi and Farshad had a long conversation where I found out he was very religious and only ate Halal food. He wanted to go to mosque and get a Quran and prayer mat. The mosque leader was quite shocked to see me there and after I’d explained about Farshad he welcomed him and took him under his wing. At the mosque one day I asked a couple of young men where I could get a Quran and prayer mat from. They invited us to their house and gave Farshad a Quran and prayer mat. They refused any money, saying that in their culture they could only pass the Quran on with love not money.

“Everyone stopped talking and stared”

Fast learning

I bought a children’s picture dictionary with everyday items around the outside of the pages and a picture in the middle to show the place and context these items would be seen in. As we went through the book Farshad wrote down how to pronounce the words in English by the side of the pictures. I went through my house pointing out and demonstrating various items. He was mesmerised by the cooker, fridge and kettle! He learnt really quickly and within a month we could hold a basic conversation in English. I learnt a few words of Dari too. I located a halal meat shop and downloaded some Afghan recipes which I cooked for him.

Culture is a big part of who we are

The end of the placement

Unfortunately the placement had to come to an end as culturally he found it difficult to live with a single woman, and with dogs - which are seen as dirty. Another reason was that Ramadan was coming up and I didn’t know very much about it. I had befriended an Asian foster family through Farshad and they said they’d be happy for him to move in with them. They followed Islam and the whole household observed Ramadan. So he moved in there and stayed for a few months until he was relocated to a different area. I have to say my local Afghan community were brilliant. They made it much easier and were very tolerant of my ignorance in their religion and ways.

“Saffi was brilliant - I could phone him anytime”

Have you got a story to tell? Email it to

*name changed to protect identity Photos do not show children in care This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Professional Development and Training for Foster Carers Positive Learning Ltd - Delivering professional training products and events specialising in Health and Social Care issues, with a particular focus on Safeguarding and Child Protection. Foster carers can individually attend any of our courses and events held throughout the year or we can design and deliver In-house Training for Foster Care groups, agencies and organisations. - Helping foster carers gain practical skills and knowledge to enable them to overcome the challenges they encounter and ensuring young people in care maximise their potential. Examples of some of our training topics include: Dealing Eectively with Challenging Behaviour Child Protection and the Internet Supporting Young People Leaving Care Domestic Violence and the Impact on Child Development Managing ADHD and other Autistic Spectrum Disorders Children and Young People who Self-harm

Call 01243 544 960 or visit for more information on these and other topics available

Independent Support for Foster Carers subject to Allegations or Complaints for just ÂŁ52 annually. Prottect You urselves s, Your Family y and your Fo ostering g Registrration. For more e details s and to o apply y online e visitt or call 01730 231603

Health Spring 2011 foster families 14

Is toilet training driving you potty? Top potty training tips from Starr Medical’s Janet Blannin and advice on how to tell when they’re ready


he normal age at which bladder control is achieved varies widely. However, the majority of children are dry by the age of five years, with some as early as 18 months and others even later. Getting control of bladder and bowel movements is a complicated process. Potty training is yet another important milestone reached by the developing child. The child will get there in his or her own time and the process cannot be hurried... even if continence is a condition of entry into the nursery at the tender age of three years. I have often heard parents talk about when they are going to start potty training, ‘I thought I would take a week off work and really get down to it’ or ‘She is nearly two so I must get

her out of nappies’. Parents will crow about the early success of their child’s potty training achievements because that’s what we do as parents, so try not to be influenced by your friend’s success. The child in your care is unique and will develop bladder control in his or her own timescale and that will be the right time for them. Gaining bladder control early is not so much a reflection of your child’s intelligence as it is the maturity of the developing systems that allows the child to be continent. Successful potty training largely depends on parents or carers noticing the early signs that the child is ready.

“Bladder control will develop at the right time for them”



You’ll need to prompt the child in your care to use the potty at first. Your earlier observations will

1 2 3 4 5 6

The child can stay dry for at least two hours between nappy changes The child shows signs that they are aware when they wee or poo The child can understand what you tell them to do and follow simple instructions They can get on and off the potty without your help The child can pull down their pants with minimal help from you The child has regular bowel habits have shown the length of time they can delay a wee, so don’t be tempted to constantly offer the potty as the child will quickly get bored with the process. Offer the potty shortly after taking a drink, and then at intervals of every two hours or so.

Let them enjoy it

Try to make potty training fun, be patient and understanding, never get cross, make little of any accidents, and be reassuring.

No more nappies

Don’t be tempted to go back to the nappies as this will only confuse your child and once you have made the decision to start, stick with it. Putting a nappy on when you go out can be very confusing as you are telling the child to wee in the potty at home ...

To read the rest of this article please download from

This is not the full version - to read all the articles, download the full version for just £1 or subscribe to the printed version. The printed copy comes out four times a year, and costs £2 per issue or £7 for the whole year. The printed copy has no extra adverts, just lots more advice, support, fun and personal articles. Email or subscribe at

Photo: Todd Morris

When you feel the time is right and your child is keen and enthusiastic to sit on the potty, it need not be a long drawn out business of embarrassing episodes of puddles... although some accidents are, of course, inevitable.

Here are some of the early signs to look out for:

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Win The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Now two children can win this movie by entering our competition! It sails onto high-

Have you seen the Narnia movies, or even read the Narnia books? Now you can return to the magic and wonder of C.S. Lewis’ beloved world via the magnificent ship, The Dawn Treader, in this fantasy-adventure. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader marks the return to Narnia for courageous voyagers Edmund (Skander Keynes) and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley). Joined, against his will, by their cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). This latest expedition follows the three adventurers as they are swallowed into a painting and transported to the magical world. On their journey they connect with King Caspian (Ben

For your chance to win

Find the missing number in the blue box on the Sudoku game (right) and email your answer to with the subject line ‘Narnia’, or post it to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The first two correct entries drawn will win. The competition closes May 10th 2011.

definition Blu-ray and Barnes) and a DVD on 18 April 2011 noble mouse from Twentieth Century named Reepicheep Fox Home Entertainment. for a mission that will determine the fate of Narnia itself. Among the highlights to be explored on the Blu-ray voyage are: an interactive map showcasing more about this magical land and the seven secret islands; an all-new story extension – The Secret Islands: The Untold Adventures of the Dawn Treader; character discoveries; secret scenes; games and much more. Now you can win the DVD in our competition. See below for details!

Sudoku Numbers Enter a number between 1 and 4 in each empty square so that every row, every column and every 2 by 2 box contain all four of the numbers between 1 to 4. Work out what number should be in the blue square for your chance to win the DVD.






10 Cathy Glass books to win! Across

1. _______ Jolie, actress who played Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (8) 5. Flower known for its smell (8) 10. ______ Girls, movie starring Helen Mirren (8) 11. Group of running animals (8)


For more information on Cathy and her other books, visit:

1. Have the skill and knowhow (4) 2. The opposite of receive (4) 3. The ___ effect, men’s toiletry slogan(4) 4. Type of bread (4) 6. ‘Add to ___’ popular online shopping phrase (4) 7. Steering part of a ship (4) 8. Lazy (4) 9. 1993 family film, ____ Willy (4)

We’ve teamed up with Sunday Times best-selling author Cathy Glass to offer 10 lucky readers a copy of her 8th book, ‘Mummy Told Me Not to Tell’ – usual price £6.99. For your chance to win, use the questions to fill out the crossword. The coloured squares are an anagram of a word linked to the book. Once you’ve worked that out, email your answer to with the subject line ‘Cathy Glass’, or post it to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The first ten correct entries drawn will win the prize. The competition closes May 10th 2011.


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Foster Families Spring 2011 Sample  
Foster Families Spring 2011 Sample  

A sample of the Spring 2011 issue of Foster Families Magazine. Interviews with best selling author Cathy Glass and successful adults who wer...