Looked After Children

Improved Support Is Vital For Children In Care Placed Away From Home

Sam Royston | Posted 20.09.2017 | UK
Sam Royston

When a move away from their home area is necessary children should get the support they need to thrive and stay safe. They should be able to stay in touch with family and friends when appropriate, and they should receive a return home interview.

Dave Dedicated Everything To Fostering

Macaila Hannaford | Posted 15.08.2017 | UK Parents
Macaila Hannaford

In October 2014, Dave, who had cancer several years before, was re-diagnosed. We were told it had spread to several parts of his body and to "enjoy the next 12 months". Devastating news, but we were given hope with a drug trial that was available. We decided not to tell the children until after the treatment.

Foster Carers Are Entitled To Demand Fairness At Work

Martin Barrow | Posted 04.08.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Change needs to come from the top. Directors of children's services can lead by example, giving foster carers an equal voice in their fostering and adoption teams, instead of treating us like providers of bed and breakfast, as is the case too often. Respect for foster carers, no less than we deserve, is what most of us really want.

We Make Happy Summer Memories For Children In Care

Martin Barrow | Posted 16.07.2017 | UK
Martin Barrow

If I paint a particularly bleak picture of a typical summer in the world of fostering, I apologise. Yet these are some of the concerns that preoccupy the UK's 55,000 fostering families as they prepare for the end of term. This summer they will carry much of the burden of caring for society's most vulnerable children alone, with little help from their communities. I just thought you should know.

Pride And Joy Of Being A Foster Family

Martin Barrow | Posted 04.07.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We never forget what a privilege it is, to be granted these memories and to share in the joy, nor do we underestimated the scale of the responsibility we have been given. We also are conscious that each milestone we witness is a milestone withheld from a birth parent or grandparent, or a moment that has not been shared with a forever family.

Our Grandson, The Foster Carer

Martin Barrow | Posted 29.05.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

It takes a village to raise a child, as the refrain goes. Fostering is a commitment that affects a broad community. Our grandson will feel the departure of our foster children keenly, but he will not be the only one. Over the past 18 months or so, they have been loved by so many people, both old and young.

A Book Dedicated To Foster Carers, Heroes Of The State

Martin Barrow | Posted 15.05.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

No two foster carers are the same, and no two children are identical. Hence, the need for the handbook to reflect a diversity of approaches. Our ambition is that foster carers old and new will reflect on the experiences of our contributors and reflect on how these learnings may be relevant to their own approach to foster care.

Saying Goodbye To A Foster Child Is The Toughest Challenge

Martin Barrow | Posted 02.05.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

When a foster child arrives, we usually do not know how long the placement will last. It may be for days, weeks or months. This placement has lasted for almost one year and a half. That's two birthdays, two Christmases and two Easters.

Part-Time Foster Carers Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

Martin Barrow | Posted 12.04.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Our long weekend was possible only because of the availability of respite care, arranged through West Sussex County Council, for whom we work as foster carers. Our children were able to stay with approved, experienced foster carers who make their home available to give full-time foster carers like us a break when we need it.

Foster Carers Become Masters Of Disguise

Martin Barrow | Posted 12.03.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We learn new school runs and hitherto unknown neighbourhoods become focal points in our lives. Our weekends are punctuated by social events with families who were strangers to us until a few weeks ago.

Keeping Children Safe Is Your Responsibility Too. Don't Leave It To The Professionals

Martin Barrow | Posted 28.02.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

But if cases like that of Keegan Downer and Daniel Pelka will teach us anything, it is that the general public are as responsible as so-called professionals when it comes to keeping children safe.

How Seeing A Children's Home As A Place Of Hospitality Could Help Us Create A Sharing Society

Jonathan Stanley | Posted 10.02.2017 | UK
Jonathan Stanley

George Lyward always insisted, invariably after a longer than anticipated by the questioner pause, that Finchden Manor, the pioneering residential com...

Put Children First In The Quest To Improve Foster Care

Martin Barrow | Posted 09.02.2017 | UK Politics
Martin Barrow

Above all, be ambitious. Be as ambitious for children and young people in care as you would be for your own. Map the route from broken family home to high achievement in business, academia and the arts, and make recommendations that will bulldoze the road blocks along the way. Now that would be an inquiry worth waiting for.

Why Every Child Needs Someone Who Believes In Them

Javed Khan | Posted 25.01.2017 | UK
Javed Khan

Laughing while being pushed on the park swings, blowing out candles on a birthday cake and enjoying family holidays, are memories which make us look back and smile as we go through our adult lives.

Society Must Face Up To The Cost Of Foster Care

Martin Barrow | Posted 19.01.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

I think that it is particularly difficult for foster carers to express their frustration over allowances because there is still a widely-held belief among the public that fostering and money should never be mentioned in the same breath. That we do it for the love of the children, and that is a reward in itself; and that foster carers should not be motivated by money.

2017 Is The Year Of The Foster Carer And Here's Why...

James Cleary | Posted 05.01.2017 | UK Parents
James Cleary

The beginning of a new year is a time when ambitions and dreams are taken from under the bed, dusted off and thoughtfully considered. For a lot of us, it's a good time for soul searching and a great time for change, and in the world of fostering in 2017 there is a great deal of change that's needed.

Foster Care At Christmas? It's Complicated

Martin Barrow | Posted 14.12.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We see the love and sense of pride in the faces of mums and dads, and make sure that our little'uns can see us in the audience, so they too can be reassured that there is someone who cares. We take photos, and collect the programmes, which will find their way into memory boxes and albums for when the day comes, as inevitably it will, for them to move on.

Children's Services And The Need For A Defence Of History In The Age Of Innovation

Jonathan Stanley | Posted 09.12.2016 | UK
Jonathan Stanley

There is still time for the Government to reconsider the professional and financial ramifications, and even more importantly, the ramifications for the children and young people we care for, who need, and have always needed the secure emotional base provided by safe, stable, careful, committed and reflective professional care.

Enjoyed A Good Career? Now Foster!

Martin Barrow | Posted 23.11.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We became foster carers with no grand plan, unsure how long it would last. All these years later, we find that we are busier than ever with fostering, including our three current children who have been with us for just over a year.

A State That Looks After People Or A State That Cares For People - Thinking Towards A Government Social Care Strategy

Jonathan Stanley | Posted 23.11.2016 | UK Politics
Jonathan Stanley

We have not had a general policy direction for this new Government beyond Theresa May's conference speech where she stated the first duty of the state...

No Ordinary Birthday

Martin Barrow | Posted 16.11.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

The venue is booked, the guests have been invited. The eldest of our three foster children is preparing to celebrate her birthday. She is drawing up a list of presents that she would like, tentatively at first but gradually growing in confidence, with some encouragement. This is not something she has been able to do in the past, and it takes some getting used to.

Let's Celebrate The Sons And Daughters Of Foster Carers

Martin Barrow | Posted 13.10.2016 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

Foster care really is a family commitment, and would not be possible without the selflessness, determination and courage of so many children and young people. They give so much, and often learn from a tender age how hard life can be.

Why We Actually Need to Recruit Foster Carers

James Cleary | Posted 10.09.2017 | UK
James Cleary

There will always be a need for new foster carers and we ought to look at that positively, every child and teenager is different, they deserve a truly broad and diverse range of carers to be matched with in order to give them the best chance of a good outcome in care and achieving success in their lives.

Saying Goodbye to Our Family Social Worker

Martin Barrow | Posted 12.07.2017 | UK Parents
Martin Barrow

We have said goodbye to our family social worker, who has retired after a long and distinguished career with the county council. She has been with us since we became foster carers some years ago, and has been at our side through thick and thin.

The Return From Resxit - Children's Homes Have Good Outcomes for Children

Jonathan Stanley | Posted 29.06.2017 | UK Politics
Jonathan Stanley

What's needed is to grow the size of the sector, by design increasing the number of homes for some needs, so that members of each sub-group meeting specifically identified needs can contribute asking the same questions, wrestling with the same issues, and worrying about the same things as you are, so that they feel a little less isolated and a little more recognised.