Foster Care

9-Year-Old Helps To Fund Own Adoption With Lemonade Stand

The Huffington Post | Amy Packham | Posted 26.04.2016 | UK Parents

A nine-year-old decided to help to fund his own adoption by selling homemade lemonade and cookies in his garden. Tristan Jacobsen from Springfield wan...

The Foster Care Covenant Is Broken

Martin Barrow | Posted 19.04.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

The fostering covenant is currently being broken, to coin a phrase David Cameron once used to describe our neglect of the military. Austerity measures are having a devastating effect on practical and financial support for foster carers, and on children's access to their social workers and other services, including mental health services.

Our Memories as Foster Carers Are Precious

Martin Barrow | Posted 12.04.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

An unexpected reunion with a much-loved former foster child brings memories flooding back. She came to us as a new-born and left just before her first birthday. She is thriving with her forever family, who are as dear to us as our own.

For the Sake of the Children, Foster Carers Deserve Better

Martin Barrow | Posted 31.03.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We have witnessed the wonder of adoption first hand. As foster carers we were present when the baby we had cared for since birth met her new parents for the first time, and we have been blessed to be part of their lives ever since.

We All Have a Responsibility to Help Vulnerable Children

Martin Barrow | Posted 21.03.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

At the school gates parents mellow and become curious about this child's new lease of life. So often, they admit they were aware of problems, but felt it was not their place to become involved. Sometimes, there are genuine concerns for their own safety. But mostly, I am sad to say, it is down to indifference.

A Tale of Three Mums

Martin Barrow | Posted 01.03.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

The message about mothers and motherhood is clear and simple, and the pressure on children whose reality does not chime with the narrative presented by television and radio, or displayed in shop windows and restaurants is intense.

Young People Reveal Holes in the Foster Care Safety Net

Andrew Lam | Posted 26.02.2016 | UK Universities & Education
Andrew Lam

Liberty Dycus, 23, who was adopted from Ethiopia as a child, ended up in foster care after being abused. She says that when she emancipated at 19, sh...

Adoption Agencies Want Volunteers To Cuddle Newborns

The Huffington Post UK | Amy Packham | Posted 19.02.2016 | UK Parents

Adoption agencies are looking for volunteers to cuddle and care for newborn babies waiting to be adopted. The agencies in America, who need volunt...

Domestic Violence Knows no Postcode

Martin Barrow | Posted 19.02.2016 | UK
Martin Barrow

Yes, looked-after children are more likely to have lived in poverty, and they are more likely to have parents whose own lives were blighted by neglect and abuse. But we have also provided a home to children and young people who attended private schools, who wore preppy clothes and carried the latest smart phone in their back pocket. We have cared for children who told stories of foreign holidays and family days out just like our own.

Keep Children in Care Connected to Those Who Matter to Them

Kevin Williams | Posted 11.02.2016 | UK Politics
Kevin Williams

If the governments of the UK are to create future generations of successful and happy care experienced young people, they have to support them in maintaining the relationships that bring them security, happiness, and the freedom to express themselves and fulfil their potential.

Putting Children's Mental Health First

Martin Barrow | Posted 08.02.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Most foster carers have little, if any, specialist training in dealing with mental health issues. We rely heavily on our own life experience, particularly the experience of bringing up our own families, and we look to our social work teams for support and advice.

Kitchen of Life

Martin Barrow | Posted 03.02.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

It has taken time but our foster children have finally got used to me doing the washing up, peeling potatoes and preparing lunch, although they still expect me to cut a finger when I chop carrots.

The Young Become the Old

Martin Barrow | Posted 18.01.2016 | UK
Martin Barrow

It is an unlikely friendship. He's pushing 90, blind and not as quick on his feet as he used to be. She's not yet four, and until recently rarely said a word. Now she has found her voice and she has plenty to say for herself. Within moments she is holding the elderly gent's hand and he is laughing out loud. If he's not careful she'll soon be helping herself to the cake from his plate.

Foster Care Works - This Must Be Acknowledged

Kevin Williams | Posted 15.01.2016 | UK Politics
Kevin Williams

Good foster care transforms lives and enables young people to flourish. The vast majority of young people in care are living with foster families who love them, and provide the stability and support that will see them grow into confident adults.

When the Numbers of Foster Care Don't Add Up

Martin Barrow | Posted 04.01.2016 | UK
Martin Barrow

How many children have we fostered? From now on, that will remain between us and the children, thank you.

Tis the Season to Be Caring

Martin Barrow | Posted 23.12.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

The season to be merry is in full swing, and all around us people appear to be having a great time. As a family we love Christmas and everything it stands for. We celebrate with close relatives and friends, reflect on the year that is drawing to a close and to make plans for the year ahead. But as foster carers? Well, it is complicated, isn't it?

Education, Much More Than Box Ticking

Kevin Williams | Posted 08.12.2015 | UK
Kevin Williams

Educational outcomes are easy to analyse, put in tables, and condemn and congratulate people for - but all too often it is forgotten that the focus of education should be on the child, on their needs, their wishes, and their aspirations.

Mum Moved To Tears By Stranger's Christmas Gesture For Foster Daughter

The Huffington Post UK | Amy Packham | Posted 08.12.2015 | UK Parents

A mother was moved to tears during a trip to a café with her foster, when a stranger left a sweet note for the child with a bit of Christmas magic. ...

Foster Care Is Renewal of the Human Spirit

Martin Barrow | Posted 06.12.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

As she runs off to play, I contemplate the wondrous capacity of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Just a few weeks ago this same child did not know me, and had never set foot in our home. All this is new and alien. She has been removed from everything she has ever known to become a looked-after child in foster care, with no sense of how long this might last.

Fostering Again

Martin Barrow | Posted 26.11.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We are fostering again. Our home is filled with the sounds of children playing. Umpteen pairs of little shoes and wellies are piled around the front door, coats and jumpers are draped over stairs and chairs. There are toys in every room. Our foster children come in twos and threes, and sometimes it feels like being hit by a tornado.

The Kindness of Strangers

Martin Barrow | Posted 18.11.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

I count my blessings. This week I had the privilege of attending the Mind Media Awards and Fostering Excellence Awards in London on successive evenings. Both events are born out of human frailty but celebrate the extraordinary kindness and resilience of ordinary people in the face of often appalling circumstances.

Saying No Is the Hardest Thing

Martin Barrow | Posted 05.11.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Few things trouble a foster care more than having to refuse a child placement. It is one of the most difficult decisions we face and is never taken lightly. We are committed to providing a safe haven to vulnerable children.

Every Child Leaving Care Matters

Martin Barrow | Posted 22.10.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We take so much for granted. At our grandson's first birthday party we meet some of our daughter's friends. Now parents themselves, they gather with their babies and toddlers, sharing stories about broken nights and nappies, first steps and playgroups. Our home fills with the laughter of children and the accompanying chat of watchful parents. As hosts, our role is to make sure there is plenty of food and drink, so we spend a frantic, if joyous, couple of hours on the go.

Permanency Must Be the Gold Standard for Children in Care, Not Adoption

Martin Barrow | Posted 08.10.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

If adoption is to be the gold standard for looked-after children, then we appear to have failed as foster carers. Only one of the children we have cared for has been adopted, while a number of different outcomes were agreed for the other children.

Business, We Need to Talk About the Future of Fostering

Martin Barrow | Posted 28.09.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

We urgently need more foster carers. Another 8,000 additional families are required to meet demand for stable, secure and loving homes for record numbers of fostered children, according to The Fostering Network