foster families Winter 2010 Issue 7
Win a Turbo Buggy from Hauck!
Attachment Expert Nancy Thomas answers your questions
Fostering a grandson with leukaemia
Learn their tongue, teach them yours
“Thank you for the fab magazine that arrived this morning! Amazing as ever!” Katie, foster carer
Welcome from the editor... Dear Reader, It’s definitely feeling like Winter already with the long dark nights and cold winds. We’ve got some festive treats for you inside, including some fun decorations you can make with the child or young person in your care. Also in this issue, Nancy Thomas gives her top tips on dealing with attachment disorder, while Janet Blannin advises how to best cure bedwetting. And as if all that isn’t enough, there are plenty of competitions to catch your eye too! As always, we love to hear from you, so please send your stories and questions into email@example.com or post them to our postal address on page 4. I hope you enjoy this issue, I know I have!
Ceressa Bateman, Editor
Meet the experts... Chris Graham, cookery teacher, shares some fun recipes you can try with the child in your care
Annette Webb, from Simply Fostering, is here as always to answer your questions
Nancy Thomas, Therapeutic Parenting Specialist, gives her top tips on attachment disorder
Janet Blannin, Starr Medical, looks at the best ways to cure bedwetting
Helen White, independent Real Nappy Advisor, shows how using Real Nappies can save you money
foster families Winter 2010 Issue 7
With more languages being spoken in the UK, find out how to help the child in your care
39 Expert Nancy Thomas gives top tips and advice on Attachment Disorder
Win a Turbo Buggy from Hauck!
Attachment Expert Nancy Thomas answers your questions
Fostering a grandson with leukaemia
Super Nan Judy Tonks tells of her grandson’s struggle with leukaemia
Learn their tongue, teach them yours
“Thank you for the fab magazine that arrived this morning! Amazing as ever!” Katie, foster carer
2 Find us on
Cover photo: www.flickr.com/photos/limaoscarjuliet/4356243027
Win a Turbo Buggy from Hauck by entering our competition plus other prizes to be won too
Photos (from left) : Daniel Zanini H, David Woo
Take a look at this issue’s cover stories
Photos, clockwise from top left: Foster Families, c/o Judy Tonks, c/o Winchester University, Amanda Truss, Jesslee Cuizon, www.flickr.com/photos/ 97631899@N00/56583236
Contents Winter 2010
Find out what great treats we have in store for you in the Winter edition of Foster Families
information . . . please sir, we want more...
personal . . . a family for us all ... 5 supergran, caring for a grandson in hospital... 19 is that normal behaviour? attachment ... 28
leaving care . . .
book reviews ... you share your favourite books: i miss mummy ... 29 boosting self esteem in adoption ... 29 gatwick bear ... 37
culture shock - going to university summer school at winchester control freak, a new novel
10 ... 8 ...10 ...11
advice . . . real nappies, save money registering as self employed
communication . . . our top tips ... hospital visits avoid bedwetting
... 20 ... 34
competitions ... grandma’s gifts ... 21 my desi guru dvds ... 23 orchard toys game ... 24 who cares trust ...29 saronti books ...31 montagne jeunesse...31 themessiplace ...32 peppa pig game ...37 mediak cds/dvds ...39 hauck turbo buggy ... 39
what did you say? take a look at language ... 22
support . . . avoiding allegations at christmas help filling out your cwdc form support on surviving a tough placement dealing with attachment disorder
... 15 ... 16 ... 17 ... 27
home . . . fresh walls for each new child in your care... 30 our christmas gift list ideas ... 31 decoration ideas with salt dough ... 35
food and health . . . tips for curing bedwetting the creaming method explained chris’s cookery cards
... 33 ... 35 ... 36
fun stuff . . . swap shop - trade your toys and prams competition winners kids’ corner crossword 3
... 4 ... 32 ... 37 ... 39 foster families
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Please Sir, we want some more... A chronic shortage of foster carers may spell a return to Oliver Twist-style children's homes, experts have warned. Laura Mackie tells all
igures reveal there are 10,000 fewer foster families than needed after an ’unprecedented rise’ in the number of youngsters being taken into care. But while the number of children needing placements soars, the rate of people applying to become carers is plummeting. The crisis is now so acute that experts fear the Government will have no choice but to build ‘Dickensian’ children's homes to cope with the shortfall. Cathy Glass, foster carer and established author on the subject, says it was ‘only a matter of time’ before such institutions were needed. ''The UK's fostering system is in dire straits,'' she says. ''Following the Baby P case, this number will continue to rise and, if
left unabated, the authorities will have no option but to house them in children's homes like those of the 19th-Century.'' Eight out of 10 local authorities reported an increase in foster children last year - a total of about 70,000 children nationally – on top of a five per cent rise in 2008-09. The rise has been blamed in the number of babies and toddlers being taken into care following the case of Peter Connelly, or Baby P, in 2009. Local authorities urgently need at least 5,250 foster carers to come forward this year alone to look after children who cannot live with their own parents because of abuse or
“Brothers and sisters forced to live apart”
neglect. The shortage of carers often results in brothers and sisters being forced to live apart if the carers available can take only one or two children. It also causes unsuitable placements, such as teenagers living with carers who specialise in looking after babies. The only ‘escape route’, experts fear, is the creation of a series of gigantic children's homes capable of housing hundreds of youngsters. Cathy says: "With no funding to improve the situation, councils will have to look for alternatives which may be the creation of large-scale children's homes. ''By placing children in such buildings, we run the risk of insitutionalising youngsters from the outset.'' Foster carers are the backbone of the care system for children and 68 per cent of looked after youngsters are cared for by foster families. For more information, visit www.cathyglass.co.uk.
“Rate of people applying is plummeting”
Finding the right family for us all
Faye Patrick tells how Philip and Angela delayed fostering until their own daughter was ready
Photo: Carmella Fernando
aking care of a child who is not your own is very difficult but these foster carers are making a difference to young people. Philip* and Angela* have been fostering for nine years. During that time they’ve fostered three children, and are currently looking after a ten year old girl. Things have not always been easy but they do not regret it for a second. Angela says: “We have had many experiences, good and bad, but we have learnt from them all.” Angela, 49, and Philip, 55, live in Birmingham and have had a lot of support from their local authority. Every couple of weeks a visit is arranged with their link worker who talks to them about how the placement is going and also to offer advice. Walking into their home you can see that Philip, a surveyor, and Angela, an office worker are proud of their family, whose pictures are on the wall. Philip originally struggled with the idea of fostering a child he didn’t know but he came to realise that he would be making a difference to someone else’s life. “We decided to foster when nearly all of our children were adults, and we knew we had enough room to take care of another child. “It wasn’t an easy decision as we still had one of our children living with us, who was thirteen at the time, so we had to make sure that everybody was happy for us to go ahead with it.” Things were difficult right from the start as this was the first time both Angela and Philip and the young girl,
Charlotte*, had ever taken part in worker their daughter decided that a placement. The placement soon she would like her parents to foster improved but Charlotte, who was again. ten at the time, was not happy. Her Angela remembers: “We talked biological mother didn’t accept that through it, and made sure that she there was a reason was happy because for her daughter to be we knew that taken into care. This fostering was a put a lot of pressure on good thing to do but Charlotte and two years we did not want to later she decided it was make our daughter time to leave. feel uncomfortable.” It was difficult for all the family Taking somebody else’s child into because Charlotte had been with your house is not easy and many them for two years and she had professionals offer support on making bonded with the couple and their family. This was also the first time the family had experienced a child in care moving out. Philip looks down at his hands as he says: “We all found it hard when she had gone, but our daughter seemed to struggle the most. “After Charlotte moved out she decided that she didn’t want us to look after children in care anymore because she found it really difficult when another child was not being very nice to us.” But after talks with Philip realised that by fostering he’d be making a difference to someone’s life the family’s link
“Our daughter didn’t want us to foster any more”
“It was difficult for everyone when she left”
*Names changed to protect identity
Personal they decided to meet with the girls and see if they got along. Thinking back to that first meeting, Angela looks out the window and says: “When they were brought round by their short term foster carers, Ellie*, the eldest one, seemed really nervous and was physically shaking. But the younger one, Téba*, was relaxed and upbeat. “Once Ellie began to relax we seemed to click. “It was easy to see that they needed help in different areas, such as social skills - particularly manners, but
happy and cheerful, but once they settle in and become more relaxed they can become naughty. “This is like a test from the child, to see how far they can push us. After all, we’re like strangers to each other, so they have to learn the boundaries as each family is different.” After a month travelling by taxi to a school that is half an hour away from Angela and Philip’s house, the girls moved to a school nearby. One happened to go to the same school as Angela and Philip’s daughter which gave her some extra support. Philip says: “If she was being bullied by other children
we just knew that we could make a difference in their lives.” After Angela and Philip met with the girls it was time to tell their link worker any thoughts and concerns. The children’s social worker also talked to the children. In this case everybody was happy. Ellie and Téba met with Angela and Philip once again, and later on the children moved in. Looking at Philip, Angela says: “The biggest thing is when the children move in. At first they seem to think it’s like a holiday so they are very
for being the new girl, our daughter would always be there to support her. When people asked how they were related they used to say they were cousins who were living together.” Angela adds: “It was easier for them to say they were cousins because teenagers can be cruel and if they knew that she was in foster care it could make the whole school experience a lot harder for her.” This placement lasted for two years and of course had its up and downs. Both children had counselling with
“At first they think it’s like a holiday”
“They have to test how far they can push us”
sure that both the carers and the child in care are happy. Angela took part in some of the training offered by the Birmingham Foster Care Association (BFCA) to help them in a number of different areas linked to fostering, including first aid courses and understanding allegations and complaints. Philip adds: “Even though we’ve had support from the BFCA we have always had a lot of help from our link worker, who has always made plenty of time to meet with us or chat on the phone whenever we had an issue. “This made us feel more confident knowing that we had somebody nearby.” Now Angela is completing her NVQ level 3 in Children and Young People. She’s also aiming to complete the Children Workforce Development Council (CWDC) workbook before the deadline in April 2011. Angela says: “Meetings have been arranged so that social Remember: workers Foster carers who and senior have not completed practitioners the CWDC workbook can go by the deadline in April through what 2011 will not be allowed is needed. to foster! “My link Take a look at page 16 worker for more help from CIS supports me Assessments on filling and when I next see out the workbook. her we’ll go through some of the questions.” The next time the family fostered was about a year later; however, this placement was very different to the first. “We decided early on that we would foster a young girl long term, and that she would have to be younger than our daughter, as this is what our daughter wanted. “However, when we heard about these two young girls we knew that we could offer them the home that they needed as we had enough room for both of them.” The girls were aged five and 13, and were half sisters. Even though the family were wary as it would be a bigger commitment,
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), which is a specialist service that works alongside Birmingham’s Social Care and Health. “Later on we discovered that Ellie was finding it hard to be in care and was struggling with her own problems as well as growing up. So we attended a meeting with the link worker, social worker and the social worker’s manager and decided that it was best for her to find another placement. “This was best for all us, however, Téba really struggled as her sister had always been with her. But she soon realised it was for the best because she could be her own person.” One of the hardest things when fostering a young person is to make sure they are treated equally by other
members of the foster carers’ family. And this is something Philip and Angela’s family have been great at. Philip says proudly: “Ever since we began fostering, all of our extended family have been supportive, and treated the children we look after as if they are our own daughters. “Téba always has birthday presents from our friends just as our other daughters would.” Téba’s placement is still going well, but there have been problems and these are being addressed as they arise with help and guidance from various professionals. Angela continues: “We are all happy and know that we will have problems to face on the way, but it is all worthwhile when we know we are helping to make a difference.”
“Our extended family have been very supportive”
Photo: David Woo
BAAF is not just for social workers. Foster carers and adopters also find that individual membership of BAAF helps them do a better job. Find out why we have 1,400 individual and 500 corporate members. Visit www.baaf.org.uk/join The membership association for everyone working in fostering and adoption
Culture shock University-goer Esther Birungi remembers how it felt to be a Ugandan living with an Ethiopian foster family in the UK
arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied minor, and I was placed in foster care for quite a long time. I attended school, studying for both my GCSEs and A-levels while in foster care. It was both a challenge and a support at the same time. I am Ugandan and my foster family were from Ethiopia but had been in England for a long while. I had an African placement, however
“I had to adjust quickly - I was no longer a child”
foster mum, who was lovely, and my support worker.... but then the care system failed me as I didn’t get a permanent social worker but was always Esther now studies a Nursing Diploma given temps. This was really hard for me as I had to go through the same thing with each new SW. Culture Adapting to a new culture was also strange, but I was glad to be allocated an African foster family. My foster mum had around five adult children. I got to know two of them, and the others only tried to visit sometimes. There was another foster child in the home, and we got on well. He was also Ethiopian, which was beneficial for him... and I tried to fit in as much as possible. However, my foster mum had brought her family up here so the children behaved ‘British’. In some ways it was completely different to what I was used to, especially when the children were disrespectful to their parents - that upset me a lot. I used to think that they were raised the wrong way as it was contradictory to my culture to
“Completely different to what I was used to”
Photo: (Flickr) Alessandro Giangiulio
the difference in cultures was, in a way, a hindrance to our interactions. My foster mum was supportive and very nice. She encouraged me to go for any adventures that would support my career and personal development as I did not have very many friends or family at all. It was not easy being in a completely different world, with everything new around me. I had a family back home in Uganda and it had all been very lovely. Esther didn’t like finding her neighbours’ doors closed in the UK When I came to this country, I found that I had to adjust to everything very quickly. I had to get used to the fact that I was not that much of a ‘child’ now - I had to keep most of my emotions to myself. I rarely shared them with any one as I found out I had no permanent place I could stay and I didn't want to keep telling my life story to everyone. However, I trusted a few people that I met, like my teacher, my
ever disobey elders. However, it was a norm here, and I soon found out about ‘children's rights’. I tried to relate the Ethiopian culture to my Ugandan culture. In a way, they are not very different and we both tried to accommodate each other. However, I think I failed to adapt to the British life... and opted to hold onto the African culture as much as I could. But as I found out, this didn't last for long. I had to catch up... and really fast. Community I found it really strange not to know your neighbour, or even in some cases not to knock on their door if they raise an alarm but rather to call the police first before you can attend to them. This was a major upset to me, and I tried really hard to reach out to my community to try and keep up with this. To my amazement, not everyone was welcoming and I was told this was normal and carried on that way. It was each for their own, which was the complete opposite of the culture and family I grew up with, where everyone knew everyone and cared about each other. In Uganda, it was one big community.
Language I spoke English in my country which was a huge benefit for me with the major challenges and changes that I was to go through. It also gave me an advantage compared to some of my fellow foreign students, meaning communication was not too hard for me.
University University life wasn't easy as I had to rely on myself for most of my survivals. I did manage to gain access to some money from the university provided for students in care, and from social services but it was not enough. It meant that I had to have a part time job to supplement my income, which was in most cases my bursary. My bursary only covered my rent, which meant I had to earn money to pay for my bills and travel expenses. I opted to stay at home as I’d just
Family Support My foster mum was supportive in my education and always encouraged me in the things I wanted to do. She always reminded me of my mum and eventually we became friends. To me, this is a major aspect when choosing a family for a child in care. Communication is a major aspect of family life and a child's development. Trust should be gained and can NOT be bought - as I found out with some of my foster friends, where the parents had to give them money and possessions to make them happy. Will the child in your care be thinking of university one day? To me this was a reward for something that I had done well. got my flat from social services and Children in foster care sometimes moving closer to uni meant I would just need someone to talk to: lose that privilege. I’d been bidding someone who understands them, to for my flat for over three years, so I listen to them and just give had to make a bit of their time, as they a choice are considered a burden as once I sometimes, and I think they started uni just want to prove them I would be wrong. thrown out This has given me a strong drive of the temporary accommodation and will to go through what I have that social services provided. experienced as an unaccompanied It was not easy to cope on my own, minor in a foreign land. but I guess I can say I had seen From my experiences I’ve seen that worse in my past life in Uganda. I children in care are often seen as had to continue with the struggle as failures, or are even ashamed of who I knew what I wanted, and I wasn't they are. Throughout my school life going to give up that easily. Enjoying in the UK I had the view that it was life at university wasn't top of my shameful to be in care and no one priorities but instead achieving what could know about my situation. I had initially started. I had to carry on like that and I missed out on socialising with my pretend that I lived a normal life with mates as I had responsibilities they my mum, or at least with a relative. hadn't met yet. Most of them were With enough support, children in living with their parents or in student care should be able to feel differently. halls, whereas I was living on my They should be able to have an open own in the flat. relationship with their families. This Right now, I hope to be a practice in turn helps them to make lifestyle nurse once I have completed choices... with the support of their my Nursing Diploma at Kingston families. University.
Photo: (Flickr) Vince Alongi
“Children in care just need someone to talk to”
School Education here was great and I was pleased with the opportunity to attend a school where I barely had to buy anything as it was all provided for by the school. I seized the opportunity as to me it was the greatest I could receive - back in Uganda I sometimes had to miss classes as my parents could not afford my school fees. However, it was the opposite of my fellow students, and they sometimes laughed at me when I told them what it was like in my country. Students were often disrespectful in class and didn't seem to care about what happened. Some of the teachers didn’t bother with those students as they said it was normal behaviour for them.
“It wasn’t easy on my own - I had to rely on me”
Summer schools... Get a taster for uni life Terri Sandison tells how summer schools are a step in the right direction
The young people having fun at the Summer Camp in Winchester
his summer 13 young people, aged 14-17, in the care of Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services attended a threeday residential at the University of Winchester. The summer school is part of the University’s extensive outreach programme for children in care and this year was based around creative arts, enabling students to participate in a variety of different activities including creative writing, stomp, drama, and developing their own sessions to teach their peers. The students put together a song and street dance performance with Seven Stars Agency Ltd and also learned the skills of stage combat from a professional stunt coordinator. Alongside all of this, they worked towards their Bronze Arts Award, which is a recognised national qualification.
Aimhigher Hampshire and Isle of Wight provided innovative workshops in careers education, in which participants took part in a Q&A session with student ambassadors and the Aimhigher outreach officer. This helped them to focus on their futures and the benefits of staying on in further and higher education. Lee Culhane, Participation Officer, Hampshire County Council says: “Hampshire County Council wants to encourage its children in care to go on to university, and the University of Winchester wants to provide support to young people in care. We aim to achieve this in a way that’s fun and raises aspiration for the young people themselves. The whole process isn’t
“It’s about raising confidence and self esteem”
just about raising aspirations though, it’s also about raising confidence and self esteem.” Jordan, who participated in the summer school this year, says: “It gives us an opportunity to meet other children in care and talk about our backgrounds and experiences. It’s made me think about coming to university.” Chris Wilkins, a University of Winchester graduate and film maker, recorded footage of the summer school and interviewed participants and staff on the benefits of the scheme. The DVD, featuring ‘I’ve Got My Swagger On’ - a song created by participants during the urban arts and music production workshop - was launched at a Celebration Event in September. Senior staff from Hampshire County Council and the University of Winchester joined the young people and their carers and families to celebrate the achievements of this year’s summer school. The University of Winchester has an excellent support package for Care Leaver undergraduates and currently has 20 students enrolled who have come from backgrounds in care, studying a wide range of degree courses. One student who enrolled this year has attended residentials for children in care since he was 14. He is now not only studying for a degree, but also working parttime both for the University and for Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services to encourage other young people to follow in his footsteps.
“It’s made me think about going to university”
Thinking about uni? Find out what funding’s available • •
Visit http://www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk/publications.php?action=publication&id=22. Section 4 is all about financial support for careleavers going to university. Also, check out our competition on page 29. On top of LA and government support which is set out in the Who Cares... publication, a few universities also have a bursary or scholarship for careleavers. Terri Sandison says: “At Winchester we currently give all new careleaver undergraduates a King Alfred Scholarship of £2,050 in their first year (it comes in two installments and is coupled with advice on budgeting and managing money). Also visit www.leavingcare.org. Terri says: “Current fees, grants and loans will remain in place for students entering higher education in 2011. However, for those who start studying in 2012 the whole system will change in line with new Government policy.”
Support for care leavers at Winchester
Gweithio Gyda Myfyrwyr syâ€™n Gadael Gofal -Ein hymroddiad ni iâ€™ch dyfodol chi
Er mwyn cael cymorth a chyngor cyn i chi gyrraedd (mewn Dyddiau Agored, dyddiau ymweld, etc.), drwyâ€™r broses ymgeisio, ac wrth i chi gyrraedd, astudio, ac ymlaen iâ€™ch graddio, cysylltwch Ă˘ DEBRA CROFT yn y Ganolfan Ehangu Cyfranogiad E-bost: firstname.lastname@example.org FfĂ´n: 01970 622681, neu Tecst: 07968 77 55 23
Leanne Hart â€œThe University of Winchester has been very supportive. If it wasnâ€™t for the staff at the University â€“ I would never have had the confidence to apply. The level of support received is fantastic and itâ€™s given me confidence to know that I have such an excellent support network behind me.â€?
workinG with students froM Care - our commitmEnt to your futurE
Ě?ÂŽÂ“ÂŒÂ‘Â‹Â—ÂŠÂ‰ÂˆÂ?Â”Â‘Â†Â—Â˜Â?ÂŽÂ•Ë¨ÂœÂ”Â—Â™Â?Í„Í‰Ë¨Í‡ÍŒÍ‡Ě”Í‰Í‡ÍˆÍˆÂŠÂ“Â™Â—Â†Â“Â™Â˜Â˜ÂŠÂŠÂ”ÂšÂ—ÂœÂŠÂ‡Â˜ÂŽÂ™ÂŠË¨ ÂœÂœÂœËŤÂœÂŽÂ“ÂˆÂ?ÂŠÂ˜Â™ÂŠÂ—ËŤÂ†ÂˆËŤÂšÂ?Ě• Ě?Â•ÂŠÂˆÂŽÂ†Â‘Â?ÂŠÂ‘Â•Â†Â“Â‰Â˜ÂšÂ•Â•Â”Â—Â™ÂœÂŽÂ™Â?Â?Â”ÂšÂ˜ÂŽÂ“ÂŒÂ†Â—Â—Â†Â“ÂŒÂŠÂ’ÂŠÂ“Â™Â˜ Ě?ÂŠÂ˜ÂŽÂŒÂ“Â†Â™ÂŠÂ‰ÂŠÂ‘Â‹Â†Â—ÂŠÂ‰Â›ÂŽÂ˜ÂŠÂ— Ě?Â™Â—Â”Â“ÂŒÂ•Â†Â—Â™Â“ÂŠÂ—Â˜Â?ÂŽÂ•Â˜ÂœÂŽÂ™Â?Â‘Â”ÂˆÂ†Â‘Â†ÂšÂ™Â?Â”Â—ÂŽÂ™ÂŽÂŠÂ˜
Find out more: Terri Sandison T: 01962 827225 E: Terri.Sandison@winchester.ac.uk
TTE M I D
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: email@example.com Tel: 01970 622681, or Txt: 07968 77 55 23
V L E A
Control Freak! 02444_foster_advert.indd 1
The new novel by Henrietta Bond about a girl ready to leave care, who knows what she wants How do you hold it together when youâ€™re leaving care, falling in love and your little brotherâ€™s gone missing?
out for when living independently, such as budgeting well and how far to trust new friends. Henrietta understands the different emotions that careleavers will be going through, and Holly is a lovable guide to take them through it. Henrietta says: â€œLeaving care is so significant. Thereâ€™s also fear with it. Young people are so desperate to be independent. Itâ€™s not just about having their own home, but being in control of their own life, and proving theyâ€™re ok. They want to be past the point of leaving care, and through all that.â€? One of Henriettaâ€™s roles has been a life coach for young people. She says: â€œWorking with young people was the most exciting breakthrough.â€? Sheâ€™s done media training with those in care, helping them to think about their stories and which bits they can use. â€œIâ€™ve heard lots of young peopleâ€™s stories. I wanted to write about their experiences in care, but
â€œLeaving care is so significant - thereâ€™s a fear with itâ€?
Get in touch with National Care Advisory Service (NCAS). Theyâ€™ll support you and can advise your next steps, whether they be employment, further education or something else. Visit www.leavingcare.org
not in the way people expect. â€œI didnâ€™t want Holly to come across as a victim. Instead, everythingâ€™s ...a sincere, simply told, ultra-convincing story that shows what itâ€™s like to branch out on your own after a childhood in care Jacqueline Wilson going on around her and sheâ€™s holding it all together. â€œSometimes when young people do that, things can get tough down the line â€“ after all, theyâ€™ve basically denied themselves a childhood. â€œIâ€™m a great believer in asking people for help. Thereâ€™s nothing weak about that. Some people feel â€˜I have to copeâ€™ otherwise they think they look weak, but I want to encourage them that they can ask for help.â€? Hollyâ€™s story is an amalgamation of lots of peopleâ€™s experiences. Henrietta says: â€œI saw a lady waiting at a bus stop with long dark hair, woolly tights and a checked shirt. She had her phone out and looked
But Holly hasnâ€™t bargained for the problems an out-of-control brother, a too-good-to-be-true boyfriend and a lovestruck best friend can create. As her perfectly laid plans go pear-shaped, does she have the nerve to stay in control?
his is just the type of book I would have read, and loved, as a teenager. Holly Richards is a confident young lady who knows what she wants... and that is to leave care! Despite the fact she has a loving foster family who donâ€™t want her to leave, Holly is determined to go it alone. And along the way she finds romance, drugs, plus the ups and downs of fending for herself, and her younger brother who needs her now more than ever. Funny, exciting and moving in places, this is a brilliant novel for girls who may be leaving care, or dreaming of the day theyâ€™re old enough to. Even with crazy situations going on around her, such as teenage pregnancy, heroin addiction and more, Holly sets a good example for girls to follow. Control Freak highlights, without being patronising, some of the practical areas to look
Seventeen-year-old Holly Richards is tough, practical, determined, and has her whole future carefully mapped out. So for her, leaving foster care to move into her own flat should be no problem.
WARNING: This book is intended for teenagers and may not be suitable for readers under 13.
urses in the
eas: Geography, Geology &ences; the Environment
Geographical Information &Systems; Disaster Geography; ment; and Geology; ble Development. Hazards & Disaster Management; and Sustainable Development.
V L E A
TTE MI D
Support for Care Leavers
mental OfferingScience; courses in the ollowing areas: ogy; hical EarthInformation Sciences; ; Environmental Science; hy; Gemmology;
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
www.kingston.ac.uk/compact or contact us on
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
020 8417 3233
very in control, and I thought, ‘That’s my Holly’.” Henrietta would love to help breakdown the stigma surrounding foster care. She says: “Even if I just make people a teeny bit more aware that if you’re in care, you don’t have a choice - things happen to you.” Holly can seem hard on adults, always finger pointing at the social workers (SW). Henrietta says: “Young people in care see SWs as having control and making all the decisions about their Henrietta Bond, author of Control Freak lives. The book shows there are reasons why SWs can’t do everything – one is in hospital, the other has a death in the family… they’re just people with lives too.” Henrietta’s personalisation of all the different roles (kids, foster carers, social workers) really helps the reader to see events from everyone’s perspective rather than just their own. Henrietta comments: “Ordinary young people rebel against their parents and teachers, who they see as being in control, whereas for young people in care it’s SWs they rebel against.” Henrietta knows leaving care is a big deal. Most of us can go back to our family if things go wrong or if we don’t have enough money, but careleavers don’t have that choice. In the next book, Holly will be facing some financial difficulties. “Some young people are like Holly – they’ve got fantastic foster carers but are scared of feeling like they owe them something. I’ve met lots of foster carers who love the young person as part of their family and want them to stay with them, but simply don’t have the money. “They go and visit the young person a few times a week, and see that they’re not coping well on their own, but they don’t have the finances to support them. And young people can be scared of being a financial burden to their foster carers.” Henrietta adds: “It’s really important to help young people think through their futures. Many young people in care don’t realise how many options and opportunities there are. “It’s hard for them to make pathway plans, and these can be restrictive. Try to help them think of the wider picture. “Where do they want to be 20 years from now? Or even 30 years from now? “Help them to realise that you don’t often walk straight into your perfect job.”
“If you’re in care, you don’t have a choice”
A great place for
inspiring minds Support for care leavers at the University of Greenwich We recognise the unique challenges faced by care leavers coming into higher education. To help you make the best of your time at university and achieve your full potential, we can provide: ● A dedicated team offering on-going support and
mentoring throughout your degree programme ● Advice on the fi nancial support available, including
the cost of Open Day visits and a bursary of £1,000 per year, subject to conditions ● Support in fi nding a job after graduation.
Quality mark awarded for our commitment to working with care leavers
More about Holly 0800 005 006 • www.gre.ac.uk/careleavers
You can read more about Holly in Henrietta’s novel Control Freak. Visit www.baaf.org.uk to order a copy for yourself or for the young person in your care.
Save money on real nappies! Helen White explains how real nappies are not as bad as they used to be - they can even save you hundreds of pounds!
ver considered washable nappies? Modern washable cloth nappies have come a long way from the days of terry squares, nappy pins, horrible plastic wraps and boiling them on the stove! These days washable nappies are made from modern materials such as organic cotton, bamboo and micro fleece. They are slim fitting, brightly coloured, highly functional and fast drying. Parents on the go will love all-in-one style nappies; they’re quick and easy to put on and with a one-size design they’ll fit from birth to potty. Two part nappies are an incredibly reliable option and will suit all babies from the skinniest to the chubbiest! Children feel the advantages Children in washable nappies will have the advantage of potty training sooner – as they feel the dampness of the nappy - and toddlers learning to walk will love the extra padding to their bottom as they take their first faltering steps.
Easy to wash Washing is easy at 40° and loads can be made up to full with underwear, socks, towels etc for a more economical wash. No need to pre-soak. Instead, dry pail in a bucket with a tight fitting lid. Save money After the initial outlay most options of washable nappies will leave you cost neutral after six months of age - imagine no more buying nappies and how much that can save a week on your shopping bill. The average cost save on using washable nappies is around £800 per family – considerably more if they are subsequently used on other children. Cashback foster carers too! Most councils in the UK offer a cashback incentive for using washable nappies. The amount and the terms vary per council and more information can be found by contacting your Waste Minimisation
“Proof of fostering makes you eligible for cashback”
More about Helen
Helen is an independent Real Nappy Advisor for Staffordshire and South Derbyshire and runs a business online selling washable cloth nappies and eco products for parents and babies www.burtonrealnappies.co.uk. A mother of four, Helen currently has two children in washable nappies and so can advise from an extremely personal view on the different makes available and the benefits of living with children in cloth.
Department within your County Council. In instances where the council ask for a birth certificate your proof of fostering will suffice. Most counties have a Real Nappy advisor who works with the council to promote and advise parents on using cloth nappies. To find your local advisor contact Go Real (www.goreal.org.uk) as they have a comprehensive list of all local advisors in the UK and you can search by region.
Helen with two of her own children in Burton Real Nappies
•• • ••• •• •• •• ••• ••
•• ••• •• •• •• •to •• • • •• •• • •• •• •• ••• •• How
We specialise in looking after Foster Carer’s taxation
Visit us at www.fostertax.co.uk, or speak to us on 01207 524 909 to find out how we can help you We charge a fixed fee, agreed in advance
register as self employed
Hayley Payne explains how simple it is for foster carers to register with HMRC
• On the HMRC website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/ • On the HMRC self employed phoneline: 0845 915 4515 • Submitting form CWF1 obtained from the HMRC website • Fostertax will register their clients Who should Register: The person in the household who should register will differ depending on personal circumstances. A sole foster carer will have to register, whereas a couple need to consider whether both of them or only one of them needs to register. This will depend on whether their income arises solely from fostering or if either or both of them has
“Foster carers are treated as self-employed”
Fostertax help take the stress out of taxes
other income. Other income may be from employment or a different selfemployment. The level of their fostering income will also be a factor. To talk through the best option in your case contact Hayley on 01207 524909. What to register for: If your taxable income is nil then you only need to register for NI purposes. However, this situation must be reviewed. If you have taxable income in the future then you will need to register for taxation purposes as well, and will have to complete a selfassessment tax return. The NI registration is in relation to Class 2 NIC - currently £2.40 per week. However a foster carer with a taxable income of under £5,075 can choose to apply for exemption to paying it. But be warned, not paying it may affect entitlement to certain benefits. If you have taxable income then you must register for both NI and Taxation, and complete a Self Assessment Tax Return each year. You may be entitled to reclaim: You should also note if you have been employed during the year but ceased to become a foster carer. If so you may have paid too much tax on your employment income that you could reclaim. Fostertax specialise in looking after the taxation affairs of foster carers. Please contact Hayley on 01207 524909 or visit our website www.fostertax.co.uk.
oster carers are treated by the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) as self-employed. This means that you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance (NI), and for submitting a Self Assessment Tax Return to the HMRC if required. This is totally different from employment, where it is the employer’s duty to deduct and pay your tax and NI, and make the relevant submissions to the HMRC. How to register: On becoming a foster carer you must register as being self-employed with the HMRC. This can be done in the following ways:
Independent Support for Foster Carers subject to Allegations or Complaints for just £52 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 www.fosteringsupport.co.uk or call 01730 231603
A safer caring Christmas and New Year Fostering Support Ltd share their top tips for avoiding allegations
or those who celebrate, Christmas can be a fantastic, magical, memorable time for children. But it can also prompt thoughts of loneliness and abandonment for those in the looked after system. For foster carers, Christmas can also be a joyous time, but here at Fostering Support Ltd we know only too well that the emotion of separation, contact and expectation of happy families at Christmas can often lead to false allegations.
In order to avoid the potential pitfalls we have a few tips…….
Do plan ahead: Fostering can be unpredictable at the best of times, but with 1000 things to do before Christmas Day stress levels can rocket when your little ones won’t go to bed or your bigger one has lost his bus fare and needs picking up …..again! Do take time to talk: Often we at Fostering Support find complaints
and allegations are borne out of misunderstanding and miscommunication. I remember once staying up all night with a young woman in my care, making mince pies. While the rest of the house slept we talked and rolled pastry, filled pies and dusted icing until all the fears of the forthcoming days were spoken out. Do remember families: Birth families, Extended families and Foster families – what’s changed for them this year? What might they be thinking and feeling? Do keep handy the number for Out of Hours Support and do clarify before offices close what your Fostering Service team expect you to do if there is an emergency over the Christmas period. Don’t forget alcohol consumption: A glass of wine at Christmas may mean a well earned treat to you, but for your vulnerable ones it may spell
potential for Domestic Violence or Abuse. Don’t agree to give alcohol to the children as a one off treat no matter how persuasive the arguments. It’s most likely against your Fostering Services Policy and may very well be against the law. Don’t be upset if the gifts you queued for hours outside Hamleys to buy are discarded in favour of something entirely unsuitable delivered late by a family member……its only Christmas after all! Wishing all readers a peaceful, safer caring Christmas and a very Happy New Year from Debra Gibbs Director Fostering Support Ltd and the Team www.fosteringsupport.co.uk Oh and Do remember to apply for Independent Support Annual Subscription (just £52) BEFORE you have an allegation, NOT DURING or your application may not be accepted.
“Apply for ISAS before you have an allegation”
Are you ready for April 2011?
Alex Knapp, CIS Assessment, shares how to quickly get your evidence portfolio ready for 2011
am sure you have all seen the Foster Care Training Support and Development Standards and have probably been given a workbook by your Supervising Social Worker (SSW). You probably know that you have to complete the standards before April next year. But did you know that there is a fast track method? Since 2007, CIS Assessment.co.uk has supported thousands of foster carers across the country to evidence their knowledge against the Standards, without using a workbook. We have found that most foster carers have a good level of knowledge and understanding. Simply using the assessments to evidence their knowledge and skills, in a way that values all of the work and training they have undertaken, is much more effective than ‘completing’ a workbook.
Standards, by providing evidence of competence, based on prior learning and experience. And that is exactly what the online assessments do – ‘Fast Track’ evidence of knowledge and competence. The SSW should support the assessment using observation and discussion in supervision. However, because supervision is going to happen anyway and because the online assessments only take minutes to complete a Standard, gathering evidence for the CWDC Standards can be completed within something you are already doing – supervision. So it does not need to be something that has to happen on top of everything else! The online assessments ask questions linked to the seven Standards and are designed to check knowledge i.e. ‘do you know it’. Observation is checking you are applying that CWDC Guidance knowledge in your day to day role In the ‘guide for Supervising Social with the children and young people Workers and Managers’ CWDC you support, i.e. ‘are you doing it’. describe that foster carers can You don’t need to go on training fast track their way through the courses to evidence something you already CIS saves you from piles of paperwork! know and are regularly putting into practice. Instead, if you understand about confidentiality for example, then all the evidence required is that your SSW can evidence
“Much more effective than a workbook”
that you put this knowledge into practice with the children and young people you support. Once you have completed…what then? Once you have completed the Standards, your SSW will sign your Certificate of Successful Completion, which you should keep in your portfolio. Part of the duty of care to the children and young people you support is to keep your knowledge up to date and your SSW will support you with Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Additionally, you can use the assessments to support CPD because they can be used to refresh your memory and guide the discussion in supervision. They will also help you to work out what courses might be of benefit… and evidence which courses you don’t need to go on!
“Gather your evidence during supervision”
What can I do now?
Get in touch to see if your Local Authority has funded access to the assessments. Visit www.cis-assessment.co.uk for more details. Download the case studies from http://new.cis-assessment.co.uk/ default.asp?p=cs
Photo: (Flickr) ShironekoEuro
Simple, Quick and Easy to use Finally and most importantly, the assessments have been designed with carers in mind. Foster carers using our assessments have repeatedly fedback that they are easy to use - even those who don’t like computers have found them easier to use than the workbook method.
Need help to survive a challenging placement? Laura Crowden explains the support available for carers and those in care at SLaM
ostering a child is a rewarding, yet challenging, experience. Just as no child is the same, each fostering experience brings with it new problems to be overcome. The South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) provides a specialist service for children and young people with emotional difficulties arising from adoption, fostering and care proceedings. These may be related to either their emotional or behavioural development or to more specific placement issues, including failed placements, the degree of contact with siblings or birth family, and permanency planning. Based at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, the service is open to children and carers from across the United Kingdom. The service aims to develop or strengthen secure attachments between children and their foster or adoptive parents. Young people are offered a range of therapies, from cognitive behavioural therapy through to real time coaching to improve the parent and child relationship and attachments. SLaM staff also work closely with schools and social services to provide advice on behaviour management and learning difficulties. “From being a nightmare who was wrecking our family life, he has now settled down and is a loving and loveable boy,” says the adoptive mother of a seven year old who took part in the programme. Children and adolescents who take part benefit from improved relationships and general well-being.
After taking part in the programme, parents reported a reduction in anti-social behaviour at home, fewer tantrums and angry outbursts. Most importantly, they felt their relationship with the child was much improved. Behaviour at school also improves, with many children displaying increased engagement in the classroom due to reduced hyperactivity and a better ability to control their emotions. Professor Stephen Scott, Director of the National Academy for Parenting Research and a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at SLaM, describes the services as invaluable for parents and children who are experiencing difficulties as a result of fostering or adoption. “Children and adolescents who have
been fostered or adopted often have complex emotional needs and learning difficulties. Our service aims to support not only the children, but also their foster or adoptive parents, in working together to overcome emotional and behavioural challenges and enhance attachments. “The majority of children and adolescents who come through our service display a dramatic improvement in behaviour and ability to adjust to family SLaM’s Professor Stephen Scott life.”
“Much improved relationship with the child”
“Fewer tantrums and angry outbursts”
Tanya’s story Six months into a long-term placement, nine-year old Tanya was referred to SLaM’s Adoption Fostering Service due to her daily temper tantrums. Tanya’s intense tantrums frequently became very violent, especially when her primary carer attempted to separate from her. She would kick and bite her carer, but also become extremely distressed crying and threatening to hurt herself if the carer attempted to leave. Tanya’s carer often felt guilty about ‘upsetting her’ and would soothe her extreme distress. Despite her tantrums, Tanya was also a very capable child. She took herself to school every day, even attending summer camp for a few nights. She
wasn’t scared of separation but wanted her placement to be on ‘her terms’. Tanya used anger and distress to control her carer. An otherwise bright girl, it is likely Tanya’s mix of attachment issues and behavioural problems was due to longstanding neglect and probable sexual abuse. SLaM’s Adoption and Fostering Service staff assessed the family, and began a tailored parenting intervention, based on parent-child play. This was conducted ‘live’ with coaching to the carer via an earpiece and video link. The aim of the intervention was to enable the carer to respond sensitively to Tanya’s erratic behaviour while avoiding being
drawn into the child’s distress. It also encouraged Tanya to regulate her emotion in more genuine ways for her carer to be able to develop her emotional understanding. After six coaching sessions there was a significant improvement in the number of tantrums at home, and after three months Tanya’s tantrums had ceased completely. Tantrums were replaced by talking about Tanya’s feelings and frustrations. Her behaviour at school also improved, and she began to develop normal peer relationships. Thanks to SLaM’s Adoption Fostering Service, in just a few months, Tanya’s behaviour was transformed and the previously risky and unstable placement was stabilised.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care Service
the last year working in MTFC that I’ve really understood how to help the most vulnerable and distressed children. The eight year old boy placed with us started out as a complete nightmare but now is a well behaved and affectionate child at home and doing well at school – we can’t believe it’s the same child. He will now be staying with us long term.”
for foster carers. Carers gain valuable practical skills grounded in cognitive behavioural therapy and social learning theory in how to better manage their placements, helping them to avoid disruptions. Joan, a foster carer, says: “If I had this training many, many years ago, I would have kept some of the placements I had. Rather than saying I can’t be bothered, I would have worked with it. Since doing this course, any placement I should get the kids are staying with me.”
SLaM’s Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) Service works with organisations that run the MTFC programmes nationally. The programme, designed for those with complex behavioural and emotional difficulties at risk of multiple placement disruptions, works across all areas of the child’s life, providing: - daily support and management advice to foster carers - skills coaching and education support to children and young people - individual therapy to adolescents and family therapy to birth families or move on placements. It aims to promote stability and positive attachments for the child and the ability to live in a family, whether the intended outcome is a return home to birth family, extended family, long-term fostering, adoption or independent living. One year on, children and young people in the MTFC programme show reductions in offending, violence, inappropriate sexual behaviour and self harm. “Before, all I saw was a brick wall, but now I’m going to college,” says one 16 year old participant. One foster mother says: “I’ve been fostering for 19 years and it’s only in Winter 2010
Fostering Changes Training Centre The Fostering Changes Training Centre delivers training to support facilitators of the Fostering Changes Programme (FCP). Facilitators who complete the four day course go on to deliver the FCP - a 12 week evidence based course
For information on any of SLaM’s adoption and fostering services, please call 020 3228 6000 or visit www.national.slam.nhs.uk.
Photo: Antonio Machado
When her daughter became unable to care for her baby, Jude stepped in... and then he got ill
udy Tonks is no regular Nan. At 53 she could be mistaken for Jordan’s mum, wearing a Noah’s Ark Trust hoody with jeans and trainers. Yet Jude cares for Jordan in a far more hands-on and practical way than most Nans would.
Why Jude decided to foster
When Jude’s youngest daughter, Kate, was 16 she and her partner got hooked on heroin. Theirs was a violent relationship resulting in Kate becoming pregnant. Kate was scared at the news, but a termination wasn’t something she felt she could do. “Jordan was born premature at 29 weeks,” says Jude. “The circumstances were very difficult for Kate. It was hard for her to focus on Jordan and his demanding father, when the drugs were all they could focus on. “She wanted to help Jordan’s father to come off the drugs, but when you’re addicted you can’t think about anything else. “After four and a half months my husband, Mike, and I took Jordan on. That’s what unconditional love is all about. Kate’s my daughter and I love her no matter what.”
Coping with Leukaemia
Jordan was a fast developer and had a very high IQ, which was linked to a form of autism. When he was just 18 months old he developed a chest infection. “His joints were swollen, he was crying and he had pain in his legs,” says Jude. Five months later he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. “We almost lost him – he had 12 hours to live. Kate couldn’t cope. She didn’t see much of him and started drinking, blaming herself. “Both my grandson and my daughter were a big worry. And I was still coming to terms with the fact that I didn’t have my life back like I’d planned.” Judy had just finished a counselling course after taking her GCSEs and A Levels later in life when Jordan came to live with them. “I’d devoted myself to my kids, and to being around for them. I was prepared for them leaving, then the little baby came along. I was 41 and going through sleepless nights, nappy changing… all over again.” And on top of that, Jordan’s dad had threatened to kidnap Jordan. “He goes to prison, sobers up, then demands to see Jordan,” says Jude sadly. “Then our house fell down – literally. We had to move out and rent somewhere. It was difficult, because I was in hospital with Jordan for eight and a half months over in Birmingham, while my husband was trying to work and sort out our home back in Worcester.
Keeping it in the family Fostering your grandson is life changing, but what about when he has leukaemia? “Jordan was two and half when he got pneumonia four times. He couldn’t walk. He was in a wheelchair. And we were struggling to get him into remission. He started swearing and shouting – he’d picked words up at the hospital, shocking
“We almost lost him - he had 12 hours to live”
things to come from a two year old. “He didn’t want things done to him and said he hated me. He was on massive dosages of steroids which made him big, and his hair fell out. They increased the chemo and there were so many chemicals in his body that he started crying blue tears. “Eventually after two years he went into remission. He lost nine friends in six months during his time at the hospital. He learnt firsthand about death aged three. And we had to prepare ourselves as the chances were very high (88%) that he wouldn’t make it.”
“Sleepless nights and nappies all over again!”
19 Jude with Jordan (left) and her eldest daughter’s children
Jordan, left, and Jude
agencies who are better suited or equipped to cater for their fostering needs. For more info, please complete the registration form at www.simplyfostering.co.uk.
young people in focus
research | training | publications
For more detailed information about these resources: www.youngpeopleinfocus.org.uk/publications To order call 01273 693311 (select publications department)
WIN a WIN! gift to say thank you to your Nan
ward in the sky, I’ve expect people see how cataracts in his family dietomade fromare thestars radiotherapy.” been truthful. They canJordan deal with worried you are, and offer to death very real to him. He One of Jude’s roles is to help death better than you think.” help, but they often don’t realise was terrified of me dying! cope with these changes. His sister is it gets harder, easier. Beyounger real Don’t spoil “We only had anot week but learning faster. and take a day at a time.” “I’vethat seen a lot parents to decide whether “She teases him she canofspell Be specific spoil kids when they Jordan should have the better than him, so he hits her withhave “When I was staying with cancer. kids spoilt, treatment or not - the something. You When have to let are them both Jordan at hospital, I’d have they become insecure, whiney week of Colin’s funeral. be what they are – without killing If you’re struggling to find One lucky reader to pay for food orKate take it witheach me. other!” and not very nice. “In the meantime can win £20 worth the perfect gift for your For a while friends would bring “I wanted Jordan to have was now in intensive The essential Jordan is still there.a of presents for grandparent, try food, but they didn’t always think normal, disciplined life despite care (IC) “He loves to drum their grandparent. www.grandmasgifts. about how I all of this. helps as she had and dress up,”It says For your chance co.uk. would heat to keep his feet overdosed. Jude. “This helps on to win, tell us what Original it up at the ground.who I guard I was himthe to escape gifts include what you find most hospital.” him but I don’t rushing to he is. He doesn’t wrap special about wartime Big dishes up.” or want see her likehim ‘Jordan’ scrap books your grandparent. of casserole in touch in IC at weekends in to be ‘Jordan’. He’s aware Stay of other Email your entry that revive aren’t always with friends Worcester, then back people and very caring. He loves Britain’s rich to competitions@ the choice! in ICsuitable with Jordan in If you ask children and old people. “Different history, classic fosterfamilies.co.uk friends to help you out with friends init’s different Birmingham in the week. “He checks my help handme that not all with the subject board games, meals, advise them what things ways. My good friend Helen took “Kate was really upset wrinkly – my mum is 76 and wrinkly. line ‘Grandma’s jigsaw would be suitable. Chloe in for six months when and scared, saying, ‘It Even though she’s very active Jordan puzzles Gifts’, along Think about the end Kate was in IC. She takes didn’t work’ – she had says to her, ‘Can I help you, ‘cos her with your and “Like all kids, we’ve been kids and mine to school every wanted to give her life in you’re old now?’! She just laughs.” name and retro blessed with Jordan for a day. place of Jordan’s.” Jude is always lacking sleep, with sweets. address. moment. I don’t a fear interrupted of “Helping each out like The decision washave made nights. “Youother get used to this Or you can These losing him, but I dread him not cements your friendship.” post your answer to that Jordan would have it,” she says. “The chemo affected the gifts are Foster Families, Flat being in our lives. Every daynerve we endings Jude made friendslegs. with people treatment. in Jordan’s This intended to 2, 2a Brook Street, just love him and be there for on the ward who used share “This was the worst time. causes him ongoing pain, so I to have to Worcester, WR1 1JB. spark memories and him. He often asks, ‘Am I going their food – hot and spicy Indian He was anaesthetised get up in the night to massage them. The competition closing conversations about to die?’ And with I have to be honest. and bhajis. date is February 10th twice a day, “Even ifsamosas I get the chance now,Even I don’t your grandparents’ lives, 2011, and the first entry Don’t lie to children. I haven’t the nurses would treatment going to his sleep any more than threeshare and atheir half making for a magical picked at random on this told him his friends from thehours. I’m takeaways with too! – I brain. constantly onJude autopilot date will win. occasion. Although Jordan’s sometimes feel detached from sleep “I feel privileged to help Jordan now in remission, the deprivation.” through all this and privileged that radiotherapy has left him with some we’ve got him. Every day is a bonus,” brain damage. He has high anxiety Support says Jude. levels, he can’t write The Noah’s Ark Trust, a local charity “One very low point and his autistic traits supporting bereaved children, was when we thought are much more arranged for Jude to take Chloe on a he was finally making pronounced. He’s camp for children in similar situations. it. He needed to be become obsessive. “Even though the camp was for in remission for six “If he’s not in a Chloe, it helped me through my grief. months, and it had been four months routine he loses the plot,” says Jude. My dad, my granddad, a close friend already. We were starting to think “Routines help with his short term and two brother-in-laws had all died about how we would celebrate the memory to give him security. He while Jordan was in hospital.” six month mark. But then Kate’s new checks everything. And he doesn’t Thanks to the support she received, fiancée, Colin, died suddenly. Kate like being away from me. Jude now volunteers for Noah’s Ark had a breakdown. Her and Colin’s “We’re hoping he’ll get to the five Trust. daughter, Chloe, came to stay with us year mark of remission. My biggest for three days before a friend of mine concern is adolescence, when the fostered her for six months. hormones kick in. If there are any “Then it got worse. They told us cancer cells left, the hormones can that Jordan had relapsed. A bone turn them into tumours. marrow transplant with chemo and “It’s been a bumpy ride. I never radiotherapy was the only thing that expected this at our time of life. could save him, but it could also “The doctors can’t do anymore. He’s leave him with brain damage. It was finally been statemented as a child really, really scary. Colin dying was a with special needs. He’s now waiting big loss for him, and having someone for an eye operation due to getting
“He cried blue “From tears fromthe allstart the it was important to chemicals” include Kate”
Photo: (Flickr) Keith Ramsey
“We get three and a half hours sleep a night”
20 Jordan was on so much medication that his tears were blue
Valuable Training Resources for Foster Carers for foster carers
Southampton Footballing legend Matt Le Tissier, who has represented England and is currently one of the main Sky sports pundits, supports Simply Fostering and believes that all looked after children deserve to experience some positive family life.
Teenagers in Foster Care –
Promoting Positive Relationships.
This training material is designed specifically for foster carers and social workers looking after young people. It provides all the material needed to run the course including a CD with PowerPoint slides and handouts. NEW PRICE: £32.50
for young people Getting Along A companion to the training pack, this high quality magazine resource is packed with quotes & tips from young people, foster carers and social workers. Topics include; moving, trust, school, friends, health, sex, risk and more!
Simply Fostering has now helped over 30 experienced foster carers transfer to new fostering agencies who are better suited or equipped to cater for their fostering needs. For more info, please complete the registration form at www.simplyfostering.co.uk.
‘Me’ time Find something you love doing. Jude’s always been good with bongos, whistles and the like. “Mike saved up to get me a five piece drum kit,” she smiles. “I get lost in drumming. It’s the most amazing thing I do.” Jude also loves ironing – when she was staying at the hospital with Jordan the nurses used to bring their ironing in for her to do. “I did a 48 hour sponsored iron for the ward,” she says. Jude has been sponsored for doing lots of things to raise money, including swimming and walking. Keep it real “Right from the beginning I knew it was vitally important to include Kate in everything. At the end of the day, I’m not Jordan’s mum. “I always insisted he call me Nan as one day hopefully he’ll go back to Kate.” And at least it makes sure Jordan knows the realities, even if he doesn’t go back to his mum.
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“I’ve done the role of mum, and Nan. It’s just what you do. I don’t get up upset when he says, ‘I want to be with my mum.’ Of course he does!” Ask for help “You can reach places where you feel very overwhelmed, so please ask for help,” Jude encourages. “It will make things seem less overwhelming. You sometimes expect people to see how worried you are, and offer to help, but they often don’t realise it gets harder, not easier. Be real and take a day at a time.” Be specific “When I was staying with Jordan at hospital, I’d have to pay for food or take it with me. For a while friends would bring food, but they didn’t always think about how I would heat it up at the hospital.” Big dishes of casserole aren’t always the suitable choice! If you ask friends to help you out with meals, advise them what things would be suitable. Think about the end “Like all kids, we’ve been blessed with Jordan for a
“From the start it was important to include Kate”
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moment. I don’t have a fear of losing him, but I dread him not being in our lives. Every day we just love him and be there for him. He often asks, ‘Am I going to die?’ And I have to be honest. Don’t lie to children. I haven’t told him his friends from the ward are stars in the sky, I’ve been truthful. They can deal with death better than you think.” Don’t spoil “I’ve seen a lot of parents spoil kids when they have cancer. When kids are spoilt, they become insecure, whiney and not very nice. “I wanted Jordan to have a normal, disciplined life despite all of this. It helps to keep his feet on the ground. I guard him but I don’t wrap him up.” Stay in touch with friends “Different friends help me in different ways. My good friend Helen took Chloe in for six months when Kate was in IC. She takes her kids and mine to school every day. “Helping each other out like this cements your friendship.” Jude made friends with people on the ward who used to share their food – hot and spicy Indian samosas and bhajis. Even the nurses would share their takeaways with Jude too!
What did you say?!
With over 300 languages spoken in London schools alone, make sure you can learn to understand your foster child’s lingo!
come in at 1st, 2nd and 4th most spoken languages respectively, with French and Spanish coming in at 11th and 14th*. So how does this affect you, the foster carer? Depending on where you live, you may find yourself fostering a child who speaks a different mother tongue to your
own. One obvious difficulty in this is not understanding what the child is telling you. Claire fostered a boy who spoke a different language to her. She says: “Not understanding what he was asking for often resulted in tantrums! But both of us enjoyed teaching each other: me teaching him, and him teaching me.” Amanda Gay, of the Ethnic Minority Achievement Team in Lambeth, says: “We have a lot of children and foster carers, and none of them necessarily speak English. Our team give talks to foster carers – and there are lots who don’t speak English. “Children can be placed with a certain foster family due to sharing a religious connection, rather than sharing a nationality.” While you may wish to help the child or young person learn your language, or learn English, it is also good practise for you to Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/97631899@N00/56583236 learn some of theirs.
“Not understanding what he said resulted in tantrums!”
id you know that more than 300 languages are spoken by children in London's schools, making our capital the most linguistically diverse city in the world? Although English remains overwhelmingly the most common first language, for more than a third of children it is not the language they will speak or hear spoken at home. Punjabi, Hindi/Urdu and Gujarati
* http://www.literacytrust.org.uk / http://www.cilt.org.uk/ home/research_and_statistics/statistics/languages_in_the_ population/annual_school_census.aspx
Learning a new language Perhaps 50 years ago, it made sense to teach French and German in schools, as they are the languages of our closest nations. But now with so many languages being spoken in one city alone, why not help your children and foster children pick and choose between a wide variety of other languages to learn, capitalizing on our growing bilingual population? As telecommunications, trade and transport systems ‘shrink’ the world, we need a population fluent in languages other than English*, thus encouraging some to pick their mother tongue as their ‘second’ language. Best to start young Research shows that the older you are when you first start trying to master a second language, the harder and less successful it will be. Children learning a second language before seven years old grow up to be as fluent in that language as ‘native’ speakers, and less fluent the older the learning starts. If we want our children to master a second language fluently, it’s therefore best to start teaching them as young as possible. In response to this, My Desi Guru (literally meaning My Asian Teacher) have created language DVDs dedicated to teaching young children Asian languages. These are currently available in Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu all combined with English. They have also just launched a DVD in Punjabi. In an effort to encourage learning languages at an early age, founders Punam Malhotra and Pinal Patel say: “Introducing children to Asian languages is a future investment and beneficial for a multicultural society. Learning an additional language has also proven educational benefits for children including improved school performance, increased creativity and better abilities to solve complex problems.” Benefits of learning a second language Children understand intuitively that language is something to explore,
Win a language DVD from My Desi Guru! Now’s your chance to win a language DVD from My Desi Guru, worth £17.99! The bright and colourful jungle characters will help the child in your care learn a new language. You can choose from Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu or French. To enter, answer this question: What does My Desi Guru mean? a) My Asian Teacher b) My French Teacher c) My German Teacher
Email your answer to email@example.com with the subject line ‘My Desi Guru’, along with your name and address. Or you can post your answer to Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The competition closing date is February 10th 2011, and the first correct entry picked at random on this date will win. play around with, and enjoy. Their enthusiasm is both infectious and effective. There are numerous benefits to learning other languages, including higher test scores in other subjects, better reading skills, greater confidence, additional future opportunities, cultural awareness, and a better grasp of a child’s original language, among many others. Rhys is from a Welsh speaking family who have fostered young people from English language backgrounds. He says: “Two of the children we fostered became fluent in Welsh and went on through Welsh Medium Education. Bilingualism is a great boost to children. When they came to study French they picked up the language very quickly.” For children under the age of six, My Desi Guru use animated jungle
“It’s best to teach children a language as young as possible”
characters to teach numbers, colours and common words associated with food and drink, playground, clothes, days of the week, expressions, body parts and more, making it the Perfect Language Tool! Punam and Pinal say: “We needed to produce a modern teaching tool aimed at kids growing up in the western world, understanding and accommodating both cultures.” Parents, carers and educational institutions are finding these integrated and interactive learning tools highly effective to teach kids English/Asian languages. Children learn through onscreen visuals and hearing words associated with them. Together, they reinforce one another and can be linked to enhance the learning process. My Desi Guru have got DVDs for in the house, CDs for long car journeys, and colourful posters to reinforce learning. Check them out at www.mydesiguru.com.
“There are many benefits, including higher test scores”
Win Two Orchard Toys
board games to be won!
Bus Stop Ages: 4-8 Players: 2-4 £9.00
Email your answer to competitions@ fosterfamilies.co.uk with the subject line ‘Orchard Toys’, along with your name and address. Or you can post your answer to Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The competition closing date is February 10th 2011, and the first two correct entries picked at random on this date will win. Shopping List Ages: 3-7 Players: 2-4 £7.00
“Often children from other countries are more used to playing board games. For example, dominos is a very popular game in the Caribbean – and is easy to play even when you don’t share the same language.” Playing board games also gives you an excuse to spend time together without having to worry about awkward or difficult silences. You can understand each other more easily as the conversation relates to the game. If you’re trying to help the child in your care to learn a language, Amanda recommends you establish supporting routines and have the child take part in your normal activities, as you would with a young child who is learning to talk. For example, take the child shopping and read price tags and labels together. You can do some baking with the young person and read the recipe cards together - these things will help them to learn a language in a natural everyday setting.
Photo: (Flickr) Larry Ewing
Bus Stop is a colourful and fun addition and subtraction game. Take a counter and throw the two dice to move around the board, counting passengers on and off your big bright bus. Shopping List is a memory game where the aim is to be the first to fill your trolley with all of the items on your shopping list. These educational games will help the child in your care to learn English, and to have fun doing so! You can buy these games and more at www.orchardtoys.com. For your chance to win one of these two games, answer the following question: How many languages are spoken in London schools alone? a) 10 b) Around 120 c) Over 300
How you can help As well as using tools such as the DVDs, you can help children to learn by creating a warm and supportive atmosphere. Amanda says: “They won’t learn if they don’t feel secure. “Create lots of routines for them, such as sitting down and doing their homework, to help them develop organisational skills. This is as much help as actually helping them do their homework. “For those who don’t speak English, Orchard Toys board games are very helpful. Do activities like this with the family at home. These games are very good for helping children to learn languages as well as literacy. “Moving around the board helps children with counting: they can buy things in shops to help them get a grip of money, and there are little cards that they have to read. The games help them to develop a number of skills, such as sharing and taking turns.
Tired of dealing with attachment? Nancy Thomas, Therapeutic Parenting Specialist, gives some fantastic advice on attachment therapy
Love is never wasted
ancy Thomas is an inspiring woman. Speaking to her, you can just hear the love in her voice. She really cares for children, especially those who have been unloved. Not only does she teach seminars and give training on how to care for children with attachment disorder, but after adopting and fostering a number of children she has lived it. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s been through the pain, the rejection and people thinking she’s the one with the issues... but most importantly, she’s seen the results. Nancy says: “When a foster carer has a ‘normal’, healthy child placed with them, there is grief, anger and fear at being taken from their parents ‘I want to talk to my mum’. These reactions are normal. The child is overwhelmed. They have no control, and they are like a raging bull.
“But if the child placed with you is really happy and says ‘Can I call you Mum?’, then that child is sick. Very sick.” Nancy compares this to how you might feel if your motherPhoto: Jessica Garro in-law turned up out of the blue and said, ‘Right, I’ve found you a new husband – he’s perfect. We’re going to meet him right now, and you’ll be staying there.’ You would not be happy! What about your husband? Your life? Your stuff?!
See a therapist
Nancy’s first tip is the importance of going to a therapist for attachment therapy. She says: “90% of the treatment is done in the home. The more educated the carer is, the better the success. But the first 10% is done by the therapist.”
“Children with RAD need structure and nurture”
If you see no progress:
Nancy says: “Children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) need a balanced amount of structure (so they feel safe) and nurture (so they can grow). “If this balance is well done, but there is no forward progress, then
*Taken from http://www.attachment.org/pages_what_is_rad.php
the child has a secret i.e. they’ve been abused, they’ve stolen something, they’ve hurt an animal… They have to put a lot of energy into keeping that secret. So if there’s a lot of no-forward-movement, it’s because of their secret.”
‘It’s my fault’...
If you find yourself thinking this is all your fault, you’re not alone. Nancy
What is Attachment Disorder/Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?
Attachment is the affectional tie between two people. This starts with the bond between the infant and mother, and becomes internally representative of how the child will form relationships with the world. Attachment Disorder is the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. If a child has not attached to the mother and therefore created no loving bond as a baby, then they will not attach to the rest of the world. This damage is done by being abused or physically or emotionally separated from one primary caregiver during the first three years of life. They often show almost a complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others. They typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust. They do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue. They do not think and feel like a normal person. They are filled with a deep-seated rage because of the abandonment they felt as infants.* foster families
Support says: “Carers definitely blame themselves – we do all we can, and yet see failures.” It’s very common to blame yourself, especially when the child tells you: ‘You’re a failure’. “But we have to remember we’re healing their hearts. They blame the new mum for the things that really are the fault of the birth mum,” explains Nancy. “Carers must keep this in mind. Tell yourself: ‘You didn’t create the problem.’ And: ‘I know I’m not the one the blame belongs to.’ “When it happens to me, I literally turn my shoulders to the side slightly, to help me remember emotionally that the arrows aren’t aimed at me. “It can feel heartbreaking, as you love them. It’s painful, but understand their pain.” What makes it even worse is that other people will blame you too. The child with RAD knows how to manipulate people. They charm those around them to think they’re a lovely child, and the victim of your harsh rules and temper. Nancy says: “The mum is under attack. Dad thinks Mum’s gone crazy
Photo: Daniel Zanini H.
Children with disorganised attachment need lots of nurturing
– and that the child is wonderful. He can’t believe all the things Mum says about the child. He thinks she’s being too tough and starts criticising her. “And poor Mum’s being criticised by everyone. Even her own mum will turn against her. The child uses a pitiful face, as if to say, ‘Don’t leave me alone with her’. And people feel sorry for the child.”
“Children who have RAD will hone ‘cute’ to an art”
What you can do
If your partner doesn’t believe you that the child in your care is spiteful and nasty when it’s just the two of you, Nancy suggests using a hidden video camera to track what goes on when they’re out the house, which you can then show your partner when they return. “One dad pretended to leave for work, then snuck back in and hid in a cupboard,” tells Nancy. “He was there for about half an hour, listening to the little angel shouting at Mum and being a complete
terror. The child’s jaw dropped when Dad came out of the cupboard and he realised he’d been found out.”
Your questions answered
How can you differentiate RAD characteristics from autistic traits? “That’s simple,” says Nancy. “An autistic child cannot be ‘cute’ or turn on the charm. To be ‘cute’ and charming, you have to understand facial expression, which an autistic person cannot do – they don’t engage you or bat their eyelashes at you. Children with RAD, on the other hand, hone ‘cute’ to an art. They are cute and charming to new people.” The likely attachment disorder for our son is disorganised, but this hasn’t been proved. What advice can you give us? Nancy says: “Whether diagnosed or not, love is never wasted. Disorganised attachment is the most difficult form of attachment. You have your heart and your hands full. The child will need a lot of nurturing
“Whether diagnosed or not, love is never wasted”
Photo: Jim Champion
RAD is when infant and mother don’t bond
- at least 12 hugs a day. They need lots of snuggle time – just you and them, snuggling on the sofa, maybe with some ice cream, talking. Hold them close. They shouldn’t be away from Mum (in this case, you, the foster carer). They need lots of time with Mum, not playing football or being away with friends. They need some time with Dad too.”
School Tell the school all you can about the situation - you need to work together. Mum needs as much support as possible. Dessert Session This is a wonderful way of having a support group. Find other foster carers or parents dealing with attachment disorder, and bring some
puddings to share. Nancy says: “The first 45 mins to an hour is time for venting. Let everything out.” Each person speaks for no more than 3 mins. Then have a break - and have some sugar. The last 45 mins to an hour is only positive. Share ideas and solutions, and the good stuff that has happened. “That way you end on a high. You can even pool funding and get a speaker – or a clown. Laughter is very healing. These mums don’t get a chance to laugh, so really laugh when you’re together,” adds Nancy.
“You have your heart and your hands full”
Follow Nancy’s advice and love the child in your care. You can make all the difference. Nancy’s own adopted daughter had attachment disorder – she was a child of rage. But thanks to Nancy’s love and support, she’s been Nurse of the Year, and she’s just got married.
Nancy will be in the UK in January, doing seminars across the country. For seminar dates and for more info and advice from Nancy, visit http://www.attachment.org
Support other foster carers with some cake, at a Dessert Session
What causes Attachment Disorder?
Any of the following conditions occurring to a child during the first 36 months of life puts them at risk*: • Unwanted pregnancy • Pre-birth exposure to trauma, drugs or alcohol • Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) • Neglect (not answering the baby’s cries for help) • Separation from primary caregiver (i.e. Illness or death of mother or severe illness or hospitalization of the baby, or adoption • On-going pain such as colic, hernia or many ear infections • Changing nurseries or using providers who don’t do bonding • Mums with chronic depression • Several moves or placements (foster care, failed adoptions) • Caring for the baby on a timed schedule or other self-centered parenting
Attachment Disorder: The Symptoms If you think the child in your care may have attachment disorder, see if these symptoms look familiar*: • Superficially engaging & charming • Lack of eye contact on parents terms • Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers • Not affectionate on parents’ terms (not cuddly) • Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone) • Cruelty to animals • Lying about the obvious (crazy lying) • Stealing • No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
• Learning lags • Lack of cause and effect thinking • Lack of conscience • Abnormal eating patterns • Poor peer relationships • Preoccupation with fire • Preoccupation with blood & gore • Persistent nonsense questions & chatter • Inappropriately demanding & clingy • Abnormal speech patterns • Triangulation of adults • False allegations of abuse • Presumptive entitlement issues • Parents appear hostile and angry
*Taken from http://www.attachment.org/pages_what_is_rad.php
Is that ‘normal’ behaviour?
Kathy’s lived with the effects of attachment disorder for years. Here’s her story
iving up her life as a single lady ten years ago, Kathy chose to support children with special needs full time. She started off by doing respite at weekends, but enjoyed it so much that she decided to foster full time. “I specifically wanted to foster children with special needs as I’ve had lots of experience in my various jobs as an NNEB nursery nurse.” Kathy, who doesn’t have any children of her own, is a single carer and gets a lot of support from family and friends. “I never really wanted my own children as I knew from a young age that fostering is what I wanted to do.” She continues: “My young person is now nearly 15 years old. Attachment issues affect every single day of our lives and have done so for the eight and a half years that she has lived
with me. “I had no previous experience of attachment issues and only found out what they were six months into the placement, after I began experiencing some serious problems. “I’ve got to know a range of behaviours. Some are more subtle, such as not cleaning her teeth or combing her hair. “Then there are behaviours such as putting her full school uniform on back to front, even neatly turning her shirt collar over the neck of her sweatshirt, then just appearing down to breakfast waiting for me to say something - which of course I don't. “But then I am on a mission to let school know before she gets there and ask them to do the same thing. ”We have other issues with clothing, such as not taking her coat to school on the coldest winter days. Teachers used to feel sorry for the poor freezing child in the playground, shivering as she told them how her mum had left her coat in the boot of the car. They used to give her a replacement coat, but once they had a bit more of an understanding of attachment issues they stopped doing that and now simply say that maybe tomorrow she might like to remember
“Nothing prepares you for the reality of living with it”
“I knew from a young age that I wanted to foster”
Photo: Jesslee Cuizon
her coat - which of course she does. “We have also had issues with eating: for months on end she brought her whole lunch back in her lunchbox. This I found more difficult to ignore as I knew she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. The frustrating thing was that while she was leaving her lunches, when we were in front of family and friends she would eat as if I had been starving her. “Then there is her latest issue of ‘losing’ things, everything from her coat to her lunchbox. I must admit it was a while before I caught onto that one. “For instance, there was the hat that she lost on a Monday and told me every evening she couldn't find anywhere. Imagine my surprise, or should I say shock, when I unexpectedly called into school on the Friday and saw her running around the playground with the ‘lost’ hat on her head. “It has been a very tough few years, the hardest part being when teachers and other professionals thought it was me who had issues. Thankfully that rarely happens now. “We don’t have any specific training in my area on attachment issues. There are some training courses but what can you even begin to understand in four hours? One thing I found helpful was a seminar featuring Nancy Thomas, a Therapeutic Parenting Specialist. “I’ve also done lots of research and read quite a lot of books on the subject - having said that, nothing prepares you for the reality of actually living with it day to day. “As tough as it’s been, I wouldn’t want to do any other job.”
“As tough as it’s been, I wouldn’t want any other job”
10 copies of ‘Who Cares... about lookedafter children’s education?’ up for grabs!
Fantastic advice on Personal Education Plans, understanding how children learn and the financial support available to them. The guide explains the different stages of education, all the way up to university. It contains everything you need to know, and explains it all in an easy-to-read manner. To get your hands on a copy, visit www.whocarestrust.org.uk, or answer this question for your chance to win one of 10 free copies: Who stars in Disney’s latest adaptation of A Christmas Carol? a) Jim Carrey b) Julian Clary c) Cary Grant To enter, simply email your answer, along with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Who Cares’. Or you can post your entry to Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The closing date is February 10th 2011, and the first 10 entries picked at random on this date will win.
I Miss Mummy, by Cathy Glass (Harper Element) RRP £6.99 ISBN-10: 0007267444. ISBN-13: 978-0007267446.
his book is written by a foster carer and gives a real outline to the different types of children in care and how to respond to them. It also helps people who perhaps have older children and are concerned for them. It was really relevant to me as I hadn’t (at the time of reading) had any children in my care so it was nice to read a true account from a real foster carer. The book is about a four year old girl who has had a tough time. She was living with her grandparents before being moved into foster care. Cathy does all she can to get her back into the care of her grandparents. The little girl (Alice) has seen and experienced more than any four year old should. It really grips you and brings tears to your eyes. I found it incredibly helpful as it is written by the foster carer in great depth and is a true story. I think this book should be read by all carers as it is very in-depth with lots of help and advice from Cathy. I found once I picked this book up I couldn’t put it down as I wanted to know what else was happening and what the outcome was. I highly recommend this book. Book review by Katie Marks, foster carer to a 14 year old. You can order it for just £3.99 from http://www.amazon.co.uk.
Boosting Self Esteem in Adoption, by Naomi Richards and Fiona Strachan
his ebook is very clear and easy to follow. It has some brilliant practical tips on building self esteem, which make you want to put them into practice right away! The points are made in such a way that you can picture how the child in your care would feel about different situations, helping foster carers to understand what makes children insecure and where their insecurities come from. I think this ebook will help remind carers how important and impacting their attitudes and words are to children - something you can often forget in the heat of the moment. Fiona and Naomi have given practical examples of things to say which can help adoptive parents/foster carers to get it right! I’d highly recommend it to any foster carers or adoptive parents dealing with self esteem issues. This ebook can be downloaded for £2.50 via http://adoptresources.wordpress. com/ebooks/. For £10, organisations/agencies can access multiple downloads for distribution. 29
Creating a theme room Change your walls as often as you change your mind! Shirly Lustik talks about wall stickers
re you looking for a wild idea for your foster child’s room, nursery or playroom? Walls of the Wild UK Ltd (WWUK) has the answers with huge monkeys, elephants, zebras, giraffes, snakes, lions, tigers, cubs, leopards, dolphins and sharks... Children love animals and zoos, so have fun together and create your own zoo in their bedroom. What is your foster child's favourite animal? WWUK have a wide range of high quality fun and educational selfadhesive wall stickers for all ages. These are a great way to transform any room in minutes. WWUK specialise in self-adhesive stickers which you can use to create impressive large wall murals, a feature wall or simply enhance a room’s décor. These stickers are an easy and fun way of creating fantastic and realistic themes with an educational environment. You can use them to help get new foster children involved in helping design and stick the actual stickers on their room. They will love this activity! It’s also a great opportunity for you to spend time with the child and chat about what you’re doing. The stickers can transform any room to an educating and stimulating environment and will help develop an interest in animals, plants and nature. WWUK stickers range from jungle and farm animals to huge dinosaurs Winter 2010
and even a sea world theme. Imagination is the only barrier! The stickers are produced using an advanced state of the art printing process that ensures the details and colour of each hand-painted original are enhanced offering colourful and lifelike images. The child in your care will love being in a room that’s a reflection of their likes and interests. One thing that is really noticeable when you look at the animals is a feeling of realism mixed with their own individual personality. Since they are not cartoon-like or menacing they can be enjoyed by both young and adult. The stickers are produced on a selfadhesive, peel and stick polyester. The polyester will not tear as easily as paper. The stickers will apply on any smooth indoor and outdoor surface. Each sticker is cut around the image making them lifelike and easy to apply. They can be modified and moved to
another location in the room. This is a bonus for short term foster carers, who have lots of children coming and going. The room can easily be redesigned for each new occupant, and the stickers can be reused. The key is to start at one corner, or at the top for a tall one such as the giraffe or the tree. If you get it wrong you can peel it off and try again. You can check the website for more ideas and see customer’s walls on www.wallsofthewild.co.uk. So what do you think, are you ready to get started?
For one month only, Foster Families readers can receive a 10% discount when they buy from www.wallsofthewild.co.uk. To take advantage of this fantastic offer, simply type in the code ‘family’ when you get to the checkout.
Need some inspiration this Christmas? Here’s our Christmas gift wish list Are the kids bored? Why not try this fantastic family board game! Lots of fun for all the family, and only £15. Help encourage the child in your care to develop social and communication skills. And a lovely website too: http://www.orchardtoys.com/ products/what-a-performance/. Rokka, the new must-have wooden toy for the Christmas market, inspires one to five year olds’ imaginations by changing from see-saw rocker into a table and two chairs, a boat, theatre, kitchen, bridge and more. Visit www.rokkaplay. com for more info. Starting price is £234.
The new SodaStream, from £54.99, produces less waste than throwaway bottles and cans. Try a range of flavours from £2.99 including Cream Soda, Dandelion and Burdock, Green Tea, plus fruity flavours like orange, pink grapefruit and blackcurrant and sugar-free varieties. Visit www.SodaStream.co.uk. Keep feet dry and fresh all day long in these Barbie Pink Lelli Kelly’s boots. The soft insole captures wetness and holds it in a gel. All Lelli Kelly shoes come with special collectable free gifts. Lelli Kelly Jewel and Bow Slouch Fuchsia Boots (left) are £59 from www.lovethoseshoes.com.
With enchanted forests, beautiful rocking horses, magical landscapes and night skies, online children’s art gallery ‘The Little Picture Company’ is filled with original artworks for your nursery created to delight and spark children’s imaginations. For more info visit www.thelittlepicturecompany.org.
Win a Saronti Christmas book
Help the child in your care feel part of your family! Saronti’s A Special Christmas is 32 pages of a funny, rhyming personalised story where both the illustrations and the text can feature up to seven of your family members (or pay extra for more). Character faces are made up from the photos of family members you supply, and the text features their names too. Get the kids a great gift... and adults will laugh at the funny character roles in the story. For your chance to win a free Special Christmas book from Saronti, simply answer this question: Name two other photo gifts Saronti produces, besides the books? Visit www.saronti.com for more info!
To enter, send your answer, along with your name and address to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Saronti’. Or you can post your entry to Foster Families, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The closing date is February 10th 2011, and the first correct entry picked at random on this date will win.
n Win a Montagne Jeunesse Pampering Pack
Here’s a treat for you this New Year
The Montagne Jeunesse Foot Cooler is the perfect treat for your feet. Bursting with Iced Blueberry and Balm Mint to cool and soothe this unique cream talc is a no fuss solution to calming tired swollen feet. With no need to rinse this is the perfect indulgence for foster mums and mums-to-be. Check them out at www.montagnejeunesse.com.
Now one lucky reader can win a pack of pampering masks for their face, hair and feet. To be in with a chance, simply email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Pamper pack’. The first entry drawn at random will win. Competition closes February 10th 2011. 31
Adoption Greeting Cards
Adoption is a very special time and the parents, and their children, deserve a special card During my personal adoption journey I’ve noted the lack of adoption greeting cards for sale. That is why I’ve set up this website and sell these fine personal cards. The good news is I am now an adoptive mum myself - with two wonderful children. There is a small sample of cards for sale on the website, with numerous card designs and themes to choose from for each occasion, from adoption announcements to ‘Welcome to Our Family’. Please contact me if you have a particular request. Carolyn 0116 2221882/ 07974810771 www.adoptiongreetingcards.co.uk
Competition Winners K
to our winners! iCongratulations ds Board Game goes to Steven Co rn er School DVD from Leapfrog. ! Number Corner
Win the new The 5 Little Monkeys Jumping in the Bed Ben 10 DVD in our from Swansea. competition Davina, Co. Durham, and Sue, York, both won the Let’s Go To
Ben 10 Alien Force Volume 4: Undercover
Angie from Dudley won the Kitchen Pack from themessiplace.com. numbers the box go upthe Ben 10 DVD, and to Laura for winning Well done to EdwardThe from East in Mids, forbelow winning in 7s from 16 to 86.Little Can you work the Kingdom DVD. out which number is missing? Lesley, Co. Durham, and Gemma, Kent, won theBabaSling.
It’s hero time once again! Currently the top rated show on Cartoon Network, Ben, Gwen and Kevin are back for all-new high octane adventures including a battle against Ben’s evil twin. When he’s not teleporting to distant planets or rescuing the Earth from destruction, Ben even tries to give dating advice to Kevin. Now there’s a challenge! But with his heroic bravery and powerful Omnitrix, Ben can handle just about anything. The DVD features these fantastic episodes: • Darkstar Rising • Alone Together • Good Copy Bad Copy • Save The Last Dance • Undercover Sold at £9.99, you can win a copy for free by entering our Number Corner competition. Send your answer, with your name and address, to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Ben 10’. Or you can post your entry to Foster Families Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The first correct entry drawn at random will win. The deadline is November 10th 2010.
Let’s get messy! 16
44 Your chance to win51a messi kids pack
Here at themessiplace.com we offer65 colour available will appeal to 72 options 23 a unique range of products that the both boys and girls. children in your care will love. Why? 37 Foster ? Families 86 have teamed up with WIN! Bento & have fun Because kids like and get www.themessiplace.com to offer you Holly’s messy! We also knowLittle parents don’t the chance to win an individual boys Kingdom DVD like cleaning up the mess afterwards or girls kids pack. Each pack includes Scramble Corner Competition awww.themessiplace. magical journey to so take a look Take at a bag, a pencil case and an art smock The Little Kingdom on 27th The words below have been when BAFTA awardcom and makeSeptember your life easier. made from colourful wipe-clean PVC. winning pre-school series Ben scrambled! Can you put the letters & Holly’s Little Kingdom-at Holly’s The messi range is aimed in the right order to spell out some Magic Wand arrives on DVD for Who produces the art smock, bag and pencil case shown the first with time! providing children garments and words to do with Little Kingdom? The DVD contains 10 episodes above? a) the messi place b) the tidy place c) the arty place plus special bonus episode ‘The equipment needed for those messy King’s Busy Day’. www.littlekingdom.co.uk. think you know the answer, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom follows the amusing times - whether producing wonderful 1.If you N B E adventures of Princess Holly and along with her best friend Ben Elf. They live artworks or having fun in the kitchen 2. O L H your Y L name, address and the subject line ‘Messi’, for your chance to in the Little Kingdom, a tiny but win a pack like the one pictured above. Or post your entry to: Competitions, enchanted magical land where orflowers garden. The bright range of high 3. E F L and grass rise above the Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The first correct entry drawn on tallest towers. quality products includes pencil cases, 4. N G K I You can win the DVD here by entering our Scramble February 10th 2011 will win the prize. Corner competition! aprons and garden kneelers. The 5. A C M I G Send your answer with your name and address, to
email@example.com with the subject line ‘Little Kingdom’. Or you can post your entry to Foster Families Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. The first correct entry drawn at random will win. The deadline is November 10th 2010.
foster families 37
Say good night to bedwetting
Photo: Amanda Truss
No more worry-filled nights thanks to Starr Medical’s Janet Blannin and her fantastic tips for curing bedwetting
edwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) is a common childhood problem. Many parents feel unable to discuss the subject in case this attracts a negative response. Instead they delay asking for help fearing it will reflect badly on them as parents. Bedwetting is of course deeply upsetting for the child, who has a constant worry of ‘being found out’. This inhibits their social interaction as they avoid taking part in activities that will involve sleeping away from home, such as scout camps or sleepovers with friends. Primary Enuresis Approximately 90% of bedwetting children have primary enuresis which means they have reached five years of age without being dry for a significant period of time. Secondary Enuresis The other 10% of children have
secondary or onset enuresis i.e. they suffer a reoccurrence of bedwetting after having been dry for a period longer than six months. Stressful events at critical times of the child’s early development may delay the natural process of potty training and may take longer for them to achieve night-time dryness. Secondary enuresis appears to be associated with stressful events in the child’s life such as family upsets, birth of a new baby, moving house, death of a loved one or pet. Early separation of a child from their parents may trigger the onset of bedwetting. Factors associated with bedwetting The hereditary factor: Children with one or more parents who themselves wet the bed after the age of five years may take longer to achieve night-time dryness. Daytime wetting: It is important to consider if the child may have an
“Stressful events at critical times may delay potty training”
overactive bladder. The child will need to go to the toilet frequently with an urgent desire, often associated with having wet pants (this can be misinterpreted as the child leaving it too late or can’t be bothered to go). The bladder capacity might be smaller than expected for the age of the child, having a frequency of more than eight times a day (eight times a day or less is considered normal). Beware of Constipation: You are said to be constipated if the bowels are not emptied at least three times a week. The child finds it hard to wake to the sensation of a full bladder: The child may produce only low levels of the hormone ‘vasopressin’ during sleep. Vasopressin slows down the body’s production of urine at night resulting in smaller volumes of concentrated urine during sleep. Children who produce low levels of vasopressin tend to continue to produce urine at night at the daytime rate. foster families
Janet’s Top Tips for curing bedwetting: What you can do Encourage the child to drink at least six to eight glasses of water-based fluid throughout the day. Avoid certain drinks that are known to stimulate the kidneys to produce more urine i.e. blackcurrant juice, coca cola, and all caffeinated drinks. Exclude these drinks one at a time and note if there is any improvement. Exclude constipation. As the child becomes independent with their toileting needs it is more difficult for parents to be aware of the child’s bowel habits. If you think constipation may be a problem ask the child to keep a record for you. If unresolved seek advice from your GP or clinic nurse. Praise is the most important of all. Look for those occasions when you can say ‘Well done’. Here are some examples: Praise the child for remembering to go to the toilet before getting into bed and for trying again after the bedtime story. Praise them for coming home with an empty drinks bottle.
1 2 3 4
“Look for occasions where you can say ‘Well done’”
Praise the child for putting their wet pants or pull ups in the bin you have provided. A positive encouraging approach is essential - bedwetting is not the child’s fault as they cannot be held responsible for what is happening during sleep. Treatment Refer the child to your local ‘Enuresis Clinic’ for an assessment to determine a plan of care if there are no signs of becoming dry after the age of five years. Introduce a simple reward chart for the younger child. Be sure to reward the stepping stones towards dryness, do not just reward a dry bed as this would be discouraging for the child if they were having only a few dry nights. Promise small rewards; save the bike for bigger occasions. Increase fluid intake by day. Many children’s bedwetting has been resolved this way as the bladder capacity improves. Do not restrict fluids. I’m sure many of you, if not most, have stopped the drinks after six pm without resulting in the dry bed that you had hoped for. Treat the bedwetting child as you do their siblings - if they have a bedtime drink then do likewise for this child. Remember it is important
for the child to have six to eight water based drinks spread evenly throughout the day Alarm Treatment Your first choice of treatment for bedwetting should be the bedwetting alarm, where you can expect to get 72% success. The success, however, is determined by the child being motivated and enthusiastic to use the alarm. There are two types of alarm: body worn alarm and bedside alarm. It is important for the child to be involved in the choice of alarm where possible. Follow the tips on using the alarm, provided with each alarm or adhere to the instruction given to you by the health care professional. It is important that the child fully understands their role in alarm treatment. The child needs to settle down to sleep having a real desire to hear the alarm (just as you the foster carer would do when you set your alarm because you needed to be up early for an important occasion). Parents will need to encourage and support the child to wake, particularly over the first few nights There are body worn alarms and bed alarms: children tend to prefer the body worn alarms because they are neat and very discrete. If you have used an alarm previously without success do not let this put you off trying again as it will not in any way effect the success of the alarm treatment this time round. Alarms are not advised for all children who have a bedwetting problem. It may not be suitable for children with symptoms of bladder overactivity who have urgency and frequency, or where it is not the right time for the family to have disturbed nights e.g. at the time of a family upset or having a new baby. An assessment will determine the right treatment for the child. Read these books for some more info: - Cracking the Puzzle of Bedwetting, by Richard Butler - Everything a Child needs to know about Bedwetting, by Dr Yemula References: Richard Butler, Nocturnal Enuresis the Child’s Experience
Salt Dough Decorations Chris Graham gives some ideas for making decorations together
f the child in your care needs some help in feeling they ‘belong’ this Christmas, why not encourage them to make some of these simple decorations? Salt dough can be easily made and reused before baking a final shape that you want to keep. You can create an easy environment to bond with the child in your care while making the dough and then designing decorations together. The child can take these decorations with them
wherever they spend Christmas year after year, giving them the gift of security wherever they may be. Not only is this a fun way of spending time together, but using salt dough is a wonderful way of practising for real baking. You also get to paint the final decorations - kids love to paint! This is a fun activity for all ages and quite easy to do. Here is a simple salt dough recipe for you to try out this festive season:
“Salt dough is wonderful for practising baking”
What to do: 1. Stir the ingredients together. 2. Now you and your foster child can get creative.
Chris Graham shows how you can make the creaming method work for you
Meet the Chef
Chris Graham is a qualified nurse, teacher of cookery, nutrition, life skills and parenting. She now lectures in food safety and gives time to counselling and mentoring.
The Creaming Method Chris’s Cookery I’m going to teach you the Classes creaming method by baking these delicious recipes: Melting Moments, Cookie Shapes and Rumble Tumble Christmas Crumble. For the creaming method, you and your foster children will need a strong arm and some determined effort with a wooden spoon. All power to your elbow with this one! The back of the wooden spoon is used to mash the softened fat into the sugar and then to beat the two together, until the mix is light and creamy. Keep using the wooden spoon to beat in the eggs and stir in the flour. What have you got in the way of washing up? A bowl, a wooden spoon and some baking trays…… basic!
Here are a few ideas of what you can make with the salt dough
What you will need: 4 cups of plain flour 1 cup of salt 2 cups of water – enough to make a stiff dough
3. Once you’ve made a shape you like then bake it in the oven for three hours on 176°C/350°F/ gas mark 3. 4. Once it’s cooled down, get out some paints and start decorating! Note: Salt dough should not be eaten, it is for decoration only! 35
The style and methods used in these cookery classes are easy to make at home. Each recipe offers a tasty treat to bake with your foster children, which you can cut out and collect.
Chris’s Top Tip:
In the biscuit recipes use ½ butter and ½ hard white fat (lard or vegetable equivalent) to get a really crispy, melt in the mouth texture.
Roll out the cookie dough between two layers of cling film. That way it doesn’t stick to the table or the rolling pin. Lay it on a tray and pop it in the freezer for five minutes before cutting out the shapes... this way it won’t be impossible to handle. For Melting Moments or other rolled biscuits use the cling film to roll the dough into a sausage shape. Once happy with the shape, unwrap the cling film and cut the ‘sausage’ into segments.
Chris’s Cookery Class
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease two baking sheets/ trays. 2. Use the back of the wooden spoon to cream together the softened butter and lard together with the sugar until creamy and lighter in colour. 3. Add half the beaten egg to the mixture and beat that together constantly, take turns if you need to. Add the vanilla essence and the rest of the egg while continuing to beat the mixture with the back of the wooden spoon until it is light and fluffy. 4. Sift half the flour on top of the mixture and stir it in gently,
What you will need: 75g butter 25g hard white cooking fat 100g castor sugar or soft brown sugar 225g plain flour 1 medium egg (beaten) 2 drops vanilla essence
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease two baking trays. 2. Use the back of the wooden spoon to cream together the softened butter and white fat, with the sugar, until creamy and lighter in colour. 3. Add the egg and vanilla essence a little at a time and beat in until all is added and the mixture is light and fluffy. 4. Sift half the flour on top of the mixture and stir in gently. Repeat the gentle stirring with the rest of the flour, until it forms a soft dough. 5. Turn the dough onto a square of cling film, wrap it and chill for 5 mins. 6. Roll the dough out between two sheets of cling film, with a little flour until approx 2mm thick. 7. Put back in the freezer for 5 mins to make the cut shapes much easier to handle.
Chris’s Cookery Class
What to do:
no more frantic beating! Sift the rest of the flour and stir that in too. 5. Scatter the rolled oats on the work surface/cling film and roll up the mixture into a sausage shape. Cut it into equal portions (30-40) small discs, coated evenly in oats. 6. Space the discs out on the baking trays with plenty of room for them to spread as they bake. Cook them in batches, What you will need: re-greasing the trays 150g caster sugar/soft brown between each batch. sugar 7. Press a cherry half into 100g butter the top of each biscuit and 100g hard white fat bake in the oven for 15-20 1 medium size egg (beaten) mins until golden brown. ½ tsp vanilla essence Watch them as they burn 300g self raising flour while your back is turned! Rolled oats for coating 8. Allow to cool down a bit Glacé cherries, cut in halves or before transferring them to quarters a cooling rack.
8. Retrieve the hardened dough and remove Chris’s Cookery Class the top layer of plastic, putting it to one side for further use. Cut out one shape at a time and lift it in it’s cutter, placing on to the baking sheet and gently ease it out with a teaspoon handle. 10. Cook them in batches, for 10/15 mins re-greasing the trays between batches. Allow finished, golden cookies to cool down and go crisp, before carefully lifting them onto the cooling rack with a fish slice. 11. Once cool, they are ready to ice. There will be a detailed icing lesson in the next issue, so for now have some fun experimenting!
Rumble Tumble Christmas Crumble
1. Grease a deep oven proof dish or tin and set the oven at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. 2. Cream the soft marge/oil and vanilla essence together with the back of a wooden spoon. 3. Stir in the flour and oats - it will look like crumble. 4. Press half the mixture into the tin firmly with the back of a spoon. 5. Spread all the mincemeat over the base and press the slices of apple into it. 6. Cover the fruity layer with the remaining
crumble and press it down, but not quite as hard. 7. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 mins and add the nuts for the last 10 mins of the baking time, to toast them. 8. Eat hot as a pudding or leave it to cool and finish decorating with cherries or cranberries. This can then be cut into slices.
What you will need: 150g soft marge/sunflower oil A drop of vanilla essence 75g muscovado sugar/soft brown sugar 225g wholemeal self raising flour (or flour alternative) 110g porridge oats 225g mincemeat (non suet if possible) 330g apples, peeled, cored and sliced (squeeze some lemon over them to prevent them browning) Enough halved pecans or walnuts and cherries or dried cranberries to decorate the top once it is baked
Win Peppa Pig Win
for the Wii
Three lucky children can win You’ll be delighted to hear that the videogame Peppa Pig - Fun and Games is now available on Wii consoles priced £19.99 RRP. Peppa Pig- Fun and Games allows you to explore Peppa’s world and is simple enough to play without extra adult help. There are 10 re-playable games to discover which include Daddy Pig’s Bubbles, George’s Rocket, Cleaning Bicycles, Picking Apples, Watering Flowers, Duck Pond, Making Pictures, Decorating Cupcakes, Birthday Cake, Bursting Balloonsplus the bonus activity Dressing Up Game for which you can unlock extra outfits. Visit www.playwithpeppa.com for more information.
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 Peppa Pig - Fun and Games.
For your chance to win
Find the missing number in the blue box on the Sudoku game and email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Peppa Pig’, or post it to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The first correct entry drawn will win the prize. The competition closes February 10th 2011.
What are you reading?
k o o B ewGatwick Bear by Anna Cuffaro (Sparkling i v Re Books) £9.99 ISBN: 978-1-907230-02-8
This book is great for kids like you!
Gatwick Bear lives at Gatwick airport. In this adventure he is told to leave the airport, so he travels to Switzerland and gets into some fun and trouble along the way. He becomes part of a new family when he meets some other bears, but none of them realise that they’ve been misidentified as bank-robbers! Will they be caught by the police and blamed for someone else’s crime? Or will they persuade everyone that they are honest bears really? Read the book and find out! Buy it here: www.sparklingbooks.com/gatwick_bear.html
Note to foster carers:
Gatwick starts off homeless, with all of his belongings fitting inside one bag, and by the end of the book he has a new family that love and care for him. He deals with lots of rejection and misunderstanding. He wants to be independent and look after his little sister. He’s a helpful bear, but gets into trouble without realising what he’s doing. Many of the children in your care will relate to Gatwick and the situations he finds himself in. The book also throws in lots of useful facts so that children will learn while reading.
What’s your favourite book at the moment?
We’d love to hear what books you like to read. Let us know at email@example.com or post to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. You could even send us a review! 37
ters t e l s r de
Dear Annette, I'm currently looking into older fostered children babysitting for birth children and other fostered children in the household. What safeguards are put in place to enable it to happen? Any advice would be welcome. Thanks! Clare Hello Clare, I don’t think it’s appropriate for fostered children to babysit other children. Looking at it from a ‘Safe Caring’ perspective, there are too many risks to contemplate and it would not be fair to put that level of responsibility onto a ‘looked after child’. You need to consider developing your own support networks, if you don’t have any available adults to support you or talk to your supervising social worker about support resources available to you for babysitting duties. Ideally you would want an adult who is known to the children and one who is CRB checked. I hope this helps. Best Wishes, Annette
Dear Annette, My parents started fostering this year, and we have an 11 year old girl living with us. At first we got on really well - I’m a few years older than her so she looked up to me and would talk to me about everything. But sometimes she tells me too much and I don’t know how to deal with all that. Now I have a lot of coursework to do and exams coming up, but she gets angry when I study and says that I’m ignoring her. There have been some big rows and I feel like I can’t take her ups and downs anymore. What can I do? Amy Hi Amy, Please try not to worry. What you’re experiencing is what lots of children whose families are new to fostering can experience. It’s difficult for birth children to be friends with a foster child, as they can be very needy children who then pass on their experiences, worries and fears to you - which is what seems to be happening in your case and this is not fair. You really do need to put yourself first and speak to your parents about your concerns and tell them how you are feeling. You should also be aware your parents’ ‘supervising social worker’ is there to support you as well and listen to any worries that you may have, so do try and talk to him/her about your worries. Some agencies do run ‘sons and daughter support groups’ which would enable you to talk to other children in similar circumstances to yourself, which also might help. Finally please look at http://www.fostering.net/sites/www. fostering.net/files/resources/newsletters/thrive_special_sons_ and_daughters_edition_2008.pdf which will provide you with further information to help your situation. Best Wishes, Annette Winter 2010
Annette Webb, Simply Fostering, answers your questions Have your say!
If you’ve got a letter or a story to share, email it to haveyoursay@fosterfamilies. co.uk or write to Have Your Say, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Annette Webb
is a unique, webbased service designed and supported by fostering social workers to encourage people to apply to become foster carers. Simply Fostering provides free foster carer advice on a daily basis, as well as comprehensive information about fostering and how to become a foster carer. Visit www.simplyfostering.co.uk for more information and advice.
Dear Annette, Do you have any advice on how to prevent a very defiant two year old from hitting/kicking people when she can’t have her own way? Lesley Hi Lesley, Without full background information I can only give some general advice: Most two year olds are defiant to some degree, as this is a time when they are struggling to regulate their 'stress response systems'. Being told ‘No’ can cause some stress, the resultant behaviour is the kicking and hitting. Consistent, calm communication, with a consequence such as sitting in the corner of a room works well with many young children. Helping the child understand that her behaviour is not acceptable, and physically placing her in the corner after a warning should hopefully produce some positive results with regards to changing the behaviour. Always discuss strategies where you have to handle young children with the social workers, as safe caring is always a priority. All the best, Annette
Win a Turbo buggy from Hauck 1
Across 1. Where you may skate on ice (4) 3. Some of the top US colleges and schools are part of the ___ League (3) 5. __ Dog Go, children’s book (2) 6. Fly larvae (6) 7. ___ Rise to Candleford, BBC1 drama (4) 9. Captain Von Trapp’s eldest daughter (6) 11. Amphibian’s eggs (5) 13. Field or pasture (3)
Down 1. Ballroom dance (5) 2. You can buy her cookbooks and watch her demonstrations on TV (7) 3. The ninth Greek letter (4) 4. University city with a Minster (4) 5. _______ Globe, acting award (6) 8. ______ Witherspoon, actress (5) 10. Independent Worker’s Union (inits) (3) 12. Tom Selleck starred as Magnum __ (2)
An extra lightweight reclining stroller with adjustable footrest. The Turbo has a 5-point harness with padded shoulder straps for comfort and safety. With its swivel/ lockable front wheels and large shopping basket the Turbo is the ideal runabout for town.
For your chance to win, use the questions to fill out the crossword. The coloured squares are an anagram of a word linked to Hauck. Once you’ve worked that out, email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Turbo’, or post it to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The first correct entry drawn will win the prize. The competition closes February 10th 2011.
Win Win personalised CDs and DVDs from Mediak Help the child in your care to feel special with these fantastic CDs and DVDs
We’ve teamed with Mediak to give two lucky readers the chance to win a personalised CD or DVD. Not only do the songs and rhymes mention the name of your foster child, but a three-lined personalised message printed on the front of the disc makes it the perfect gift! For your chance to win, find the nine-letter word in the box below and email your answer to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Mediak’, or post it to: Competitions, Flat 2, 2a Brook Street, Worcester, WR1 1JB. Don’t forget to include your name and address. The first correct entry drawn will win the prize. The competition closes February 10th 2011. Visit www.kidsmusiccds.co.uk for more info. D N M E G E S E T
“I received some Mediak DVDs as a prize and they have been invaluable! Our two foster children received one each - a boy of four years and a girl of eight years. Both DVDs mention their names many times and make the children feel very special and important! They love watching and interacting with the songs and stories, and they have something that belongs just to them and no one else! They have been especially useful being played on their portable DVD players on long car journeys on our many trips to France.” Sue Hill, foster carer.
How many words can you make using the letters in the box?
You can only use each letter once, but they can be used in any order (they don’t have to be connected). There is at least one nine-letter word to be found! Once you’ve found that, send it in with your name and address to enter our competition above. Good luck! 39
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 EďŹ€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 www.positivelearning.co.uk for more information on these and other topics available
w m ee nn tt .. cc oo .. uu kk ww ww w .. cc ii ss -- aa ss ss ee ss ss m We provide carers and managers with easy to Easy to use assessments use assessments to evidence their knowledge to evidence knowledge for against Skills for Care Standards the CWDC Standards:
Common Induction Standards CWDC Induction Standards
Managers' Induction Foster Care and Short Break Standards Standards
LDQ Induction Standards Safeguarding Children
Supporting and enabling: Safeguarding Adults
Evidence portfolios Dementia
Personal Development Plans Infection Control
For a free evaluation, or more information contact:
For a free evaluation, or more information contact: tel: 0845 873 0373
tel: 0845 873 0373
Published on Feb 10, 2011
Here's the FULL version of Foster Families Winter 2010-11. Thanks for ordering it! Lots of fantastic articles and advice on all things fost...