Foster Care

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

Thousands of Foster Children Move Home Several Times a Year

Sir Tony Hawkhead | Posted 20.09.2015 | UK
Sir Tony Hawkhead

The keys to our success are our amazing foster carers. They do a fantastic job providing the love, care and support needed by children and young people who have too often had a very tough life. The stability those foster carers provide can make a huge difference to the futures of the children they support, in so many ways: in education, health, career, family life.

Foster Carers Are the Custodians of Memories

Martin Barrow | Posted 17.09.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

One day children who have been in our care will ask questions about their past that simply cannot be answered in a memory book. Above all, we hope that they understand that they were loved and cherished. And we hope that they know that they can come to us for those elusive answers. We are, after all, merely custodians of their memories.

Child Refugees Looking for Love in the Shadow of Our Own Homes

Martin Barrow | Posted 08.09.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

As for our own child on the beach, he is safe and well. Life will never be easy but he is strong and bursting with energy, and with support and guidance his future is full of promise. He visited us recently, and was received with an extra strong hug, in memory of Aylan. We promise he will never become a refugee in his own land.

Foster Carers Provide Loving Homes for Refugee Children

Kevin Williams | Posted 07.09.2015 | UK Politics
Kevin Williams

Europe is at a turning point. Now leaders from across the EU are listening to the calls to offer homes to those who are risking their lives fleeing tyranny and violence in their home country.

In the Fight for Our Children's Mental Health, Previous Generations Must Not Be Forgotten

Martin Barrow | Posted 04.09.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

By describing children's mental illness as an epidemic without precedent we are denying them a sense of perspective. We are building barriers between generations when we should be sharing experiences that may, at the very least, offer comfort in difficult times.

Sons and Daughters of Foster Carers Give a Great Gift: They Share Their Parents

Martin Barrow | Posted 17.08.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Parents chose to become foster carers, and their children, to one degree or another, go along with that choice. They may not do so with the same conviction, even if they understand its value. But their consent is absolutely essential: they may not realise it, but the success of a placement is down to them as much as it is to the adults, and often even more so.

Foster Carers Are the Unsung Heroes of the Crisis in Calais

Martin Barrow | Posted 04.08.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

Foster carers have been unsung heroes during the Calais migrant crisis. Hundreds of migrant children have been taken into care and placed with foster families. Many of these families live in Kent but children's services are already having to look beyond the county for support because it is increasingly difficult to find suitable placements.

Our Family and Our Foster Care Journey

Jesse Toksvig-Stewart | Posted 04.08.2015 | UK Parents
Jesse Toksvig-Stewart

My mum has since gone on to have about 11 short-term foster placements with young children looking for love and stability. Many kids that with a good routine, structure and cuddles, blossomed into charismatic little people they had never got a chance to be.

Foster Carers Meet the Challenge of Summer Holidays

Martin Barrow | Posted 23.07.2015 | UK
Martin Barrow

In the heat of summer, enduring childhood memories are forged: of scalding sands on foreign beaches, of holiday romance and heartbreak, of campsite misadventures, of that first clandestine beer. Life-forming experiences in simpler times.

Keep Calm and Carry On... You're a Foster Carer!

Martin Barrow | Posted 07.07.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Foster care would be that little bit easier if you could press a 'pause' button on your own life. What would we not give for some sort of arrangement to put everything on hold, as we work to resolve the seemingly intractable problems of the children who come into our care? But the reality is that our own lives carry on: stuff happens to us too, with no regard for the children and young people who have been entrusted to us.

What It Means to 'Protect Our Foster Kids'

Kevin Williams | Posted 29.06.2015 | UK
Kevin Williams

"A foster carer treats you like family, like their own children."

Children in Care - Prison Isn't Destiny

Kevin Williams | Posted 23.06.2015 | UK Politics
Kevin Williams

It's much harder to allow them to fail, it's much more effort to turn the other cheek, and I hope that this review will shine a light on many of the steps we can all take towards supporting young people and helping them to achieve their dreams.

The Love and Loss of Caring for a Foster Child

Martin Barrow | Posted 16.06.2015 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

One of the joys of foster care is being a witness to extraordinary, life-changing moments. I shall never forget the day we took three young children to the beach for the first time ever, even though they had lived no more than 15 miles from the sea.

Children in Foster Care Deserve a Positive Future as Much as Any Child

Kevin Williams | Posted 02.06.2015 | UK Parents
Kevin Williams

Stability affects us all, and when you have none you feel alone. Children in foster care are our children, and as a member of a fair and good society we have a duty to do all we can to make them feel loved and supported. They deserve a positive future as much as any child and at The Fostering Network we're determined to help them achieve that.

Could You Foster? Charity Issues Plea For 8,000 More Foster Carers

PA | By Emma Clark, Press Association | Posted 01.06.2015 | UK Parents

A charity has issued a plea for 8,000 new foster carers to give teenagers more stable lives, after a survey revealed more than a third of (40%) teenag...

Why I Will Always Be a Foster Child

Victoria Leith | Posted 23.05.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Victoria Leith

I invited my foster parents to my wedding - I felt it was so important for them to be there. They came and again, when I saw them, it felt so strange as I only recognised them from photos, not having proper physical memories... yet the connection was so strong.

Parents-To-Be Share Big News With Heartwarming Twist

The Huffington Post UK | Natasha Hinde | Posted 19.01.2015 | UK Lifestyle

Forget the innovative pregnancy announcements on YouTube, one couple decided to share some big news of their own using a simple card. But it's the twi...

The State Should Be a Parent Who Doesn't Turn Its Back on Young People

Sir Tony Hawkhead | Posted 13.12.2014 | UK
Sir Tony Hawkhead

Childhood is short. And maybe like me, you remember longing to be grown up because of the freedom and adventure we perceived adulthood brings. But for some of our most vulnerable young people, adulthood is thrust upon them too soon.

The Angels of Parenting

Jeff Brazier | Posted 25.11.2014 | UK Entertainment
Jeff Brazier

As I recalled my earliest memories I was keen to impress on the group that I don't look back and see my time in foster care as a negative, my expression wasn't from feeling sorry for myself, I completely understand that in the absence of my biological father, my very young mother, too young to even consider a woman would want to get herself together after having me at the age of 15 and, in some respects I think it was very brave decision to take. I didn't say this in front of the room of kids but I'd prefer to be fostered than to have been aborted and to not have had the privilege of life in the first place!