Responding to the BMA’s Growing up in the UK report
calls for more early intervention to support vulnerable families. Policy Manager, Emma Scowcroft said:
“We know the number of vulnerable families facing multiple problems in the UK is growing. Our research
with the Children’s Society and NSPCC predicts that the number of children living in families with five or more vulnerabilities is set to rise by 54,000 to 365,000, an increase of around 17% by 2015.
“We strongly support the BMA’s calls for early intervention. From our own work with families and communities all over the UK, we know that it transforms lives and creates real savings in the long term – up to £1.3bn a year.”
*This figure was calculated using the SROI developed by NEF (2008) to primarily provide figures on Action for Children’s East Dunbartonshire Family Support service, assessing the programme’s success in preventing children from going into care. This figure takes into account the savings of £0.8 billion the Coalition Government would make from not providing family support services to every child across the UK at risk of going into care. Cutting these services would be a false economy, as many more children would be taken into care at a cost of £2.1 billion. This gives a net cost of £1.3 billion (£2.1 billion minus £0.8 billion). Commissioned by Action for Children, research was conducted by New Philanthropy Capital.
Broadcaster, journalist and PACT Ambassador, David Akinsanya is backing PACT's Foster Care Fortnight (13-26 May) campaign.
David grew up in care and spent time in prison but credits his social worker for giving him the determination to turn his life around at the age of 19. He is involved in voluntary work and is passionate about adoption and fostering, and acts as a mentor/respite foster carer for many children and young people in care.
David said: “There are many children around today who have huge potential but have been given a challenging start in life and I have great respect for all the patient and professional social workers, foster carers, adopters and teachers that work to support children who are facing difficult times through no fault of their own.
“Having been in care, I know only too well how important it is for those who end up being looked after to have kind supportive people in their lives. I urge those with space in their homes and hearts to become foster carers or adoptive parents to help give these youngsters a better start in life. That’s why I’m backing Foster Care Fortnight and charities like PACT.”
PACT is currently recruiting foster carers to help meet the national shortage of 9,000 new fostering families. PACT is running information events for people to find out more about this rewarding vocation. To hear from a PACT foster carer, learn about the support and training on offer, and how to take the next steps to becoming an approved foster carer with PACT, come to one of our Foster Care Fortnight events.
- Thursday 23rd May, 2.30 – 7pm drop in at PACT’s office, No. 9 Southern Court, South Street, Reading
- Wednesday 29th May, 2.30 – 7pm, drop in at Clapham Library, SW4 7DB
- Thursday 30th May, 10.30 – 2pm, Sutton Central Library, SM1 1EA
David will be speaking at PACT’s Adoption & Fostering evening for people from the black and minority ethnic community on
- Monday 17th June, 7 – 8.30pm at The Brix, Brixton, SW2 1JF.
For details of all PACT’s adoption and fostering events including the information afternoon at PACT’s Reading HQ on 23rd May, visit www.pactcharity.org/info
As the latest unemployment figures are announced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today, Action for Children, says that more needs to be done for vulnerable young people, particularly those with no or poor qualifications.
Whilst overall the figures have gone down, the analysis published today by IPPR shows that while the graduate unemployment rate up to the end of 2012 stood at almost 13 per cent, among those without good GCSEs it was almost 35 per cent, and worse still, 41 per cent for those with no qualifications at all.
Emma Scowcroft, Policy Manager at Action for Children said: “We agree with the IPPR that for the vulnerable young people who have no qualifications at all the future is deeply concerning, and sadly we’re still seeing many who don't have jobs, or who aren't able to access education, accessing our support every day.
"Many vulnerable young people have to face obstacles that most adults would find too much to bear. They may be living in poverty or experiencing neglect on a daily basis, as a result, this puts employment and education opportunities even further out of reach.
“These young people need to be given a fighting chance. We know that with targeted and timely support we can address their needs and offer the stability and consistency needed to open up opportunities to the right education, training programmes, and jobs.
"We know supported training programmes like Action for Children’s Youthbuild
can transform their lives for the better, and can save society huge amounts of money in the long term.”
Staff from Community Foster Care will be offering advice to adults at information stands during Foster Care Fortnight (May 13-26).
At the same time, children will be able to take part in face-painting and potting up sunflower seeds.
“We want to plant the seed about fostering into the minds of adults, and we’re giving children something to do at the same time,” said Chris Cawkwell
, Registered Manager for CFC, based at Staunton .
From 10:00 am until 16:00, you can come along and ask CFC staff any fostering-related questions at the following venues:
Monday 13 May 2013Blooms Garden Centre, Haresfield
, near Stonehouse, GL10 3DP
Wednesday 15 May 2013Regent Arcade Shopping Centre
, High Street, Cheltenham
(We'll be on the ground floor by the glass lift)
Friday 17 May 2013Blooms Garden Centre, Evesham Road
Monday 20 May 2013Dobbies Garden World, Siddington
, Cirencester, GL7 6EU
(We'll be by the exit)
Wednesday 22 May 2013Brockworth Garden Centre
, Shurdington Road, Brockworth, Gloucester
“Hopefully people interested in foster care will come and talk to us,” said Chris. “They may not have had children of their own, but could have the life experience that would make them a great foster parent. We’d like people to go away thinking that fostering could be for them.”
Look for our pink and purple stand! Click here for more information on Future Events in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Cumbria and Lancashire.
Staff from Community Foster Care's Preston office will be on hand to offer fostering advice at a number of events around Lancashire during Foster Care Fortnight (May 13-26).
Thursday 16 May 2013Firswood Community Centre, Longford Park
, Great Stone Road, Stretford, M32 8QS - Information Evening (18:30 - 20:00)
Saturday 18 May 2013Dobbies Garden World Preston
, Blackpool Road, Clifton, PR4 0XL - Information Stand (11:30 - 15:30)
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 May 2013Chipping Steam Fair
, Green Lane Show Ground, Chipping, Lancashire - Information Stand (All Day)
Monday 27 May 2013Great Harwood Show
, The New Showfield, Harwood Lane/Whalley Road, Great Harwood, Lancashire, BB6 7TB - Information Stand (All Day)
Also, CFC staff and carers will be on BBC Radio Lancashire
on Monday 13 May 2013 (10:45 - 13:00), talking about their experiences with CFC and fostering in general. Click here for more information on Future Events in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Cumbria and Lancashire
Three St Christopher's foster carers from Essex have explained why they decided to foster, how rewarding it is to see a young person make progress and why they'd recommend St Christopher's. If you'd like to find out more about fostering, enquire today:www.stchris.org.uk/fostering
We are very proud to announce that Team Fostering foster carer, Maria Catterick, has been awarded the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
Maria Catterick has been fostering with us for 9 years and has looked after 26 of Team's children and young people. We are very pleased that her dedication and selfless support to help improve the lives of young people in care, has now been recognised by this fantastic award.
Maria's work with young people helped her gain first hand insight into the impacts of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) which led to the launch of the FASD Network
, a support group made up of a cooperative of families affected by this disability all are advocating for awareness and change.
With about 70% of children with FASD going through the foster care and adoption systems, Maria, ambassador for the cause, has helped educate groups of teachers, social workers and other professionals about the needs of children and adults with FASD, focusing her time supporting families and caregivers as well as speaking at conferences around the country and abroad.
“I am truly humbled by this award. I see lots of people in my town doing extraordinary things, often in a voluntary capacity. said Maria
"Joined together we can meet most needs from housing, food, family support etc. The essence of the Big Society is that whatever little we have or however ordinary we are, we can make a difference. We don’t have to have loads of power and money but what we do doesn’t have to be massive. All we have to do is just share a little of what we have to respond to a need that we encounter in our everyday life and before we know it change happens. I do what I can because I can… because we all can.”
Commenting on the award Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Maria is an amazing woman. She has shown tremendous generosity of spirit and dedication to all of those children that she has looked after.
“She has also had a wider impact on the community, raising awareness of FASD, a serious condition which unfortunately is becoming increasingly common.
“Maria embodies the spirit of the big society in showing how one person’s altruism can have a much wider positive impact on the whole Stockton area”.
TACT has joined forces with six other charities – Barnardo’s, The Care Leavers Association, Catch 22, The Fostering Network, Voice and The Who Cares? Trust – to call on the Government to make radical changes to the way that care leavers are supported in England. The Care Leavers Coalition have outlined the case for reform in their briefing, Still Our Children
, published today.
Many young people in care will have experienced difficult and often traumatic childhoods and many of them will have been abused or neglected. At the age of 21 years the relationship between the young person and the state often ends abruptly, which can lead to poor outcomes for care leavers.
The coalition call comes as the Queen’s Speech marks the opening of a new Parliament and the Government sets out its plans for the next term. The Children and Families Bill – in which care leavers are not mentioned at all – is reaching a crucial stage as it makes its way through the House of Commons.
The Care Leavers Coalition wants to see three specific changes in the Bill:
- the cut off age for support to be raised from 21 to 25 for all care leavers
- allow children in foster care to remain with their foster carers until they are at least 21 if they wish
- virtual school head teachers to champion the educational attainment of looked after children in each local authority up to the age of 25
Rama, a care leaver who has worked with The Who Cares? Trust, was 21 and in her last year of university when she found she wouldn’t be able to live in supported accommodation any longer. She said:
“I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of living on my own just then – I was juggling my last year at university with being a single mum – I felt there was just too much on my plate at that time. I was basically told you’re not the only young person who needs accommodation.
“Having more flexibility around the support I could have had would have made a real difference to me.”
The number of young people aged 16 and over leaving care has risen each year from 8,170 in 2007 to 10,000 in 2012.
The state has a role as corporate parent which the Care Leavers Coalition believes it is failing to fulfil. Changes are needed to improve comparatively low outcomes for care leavers:
- 23 per cent of the adult prison population has spent some time in care
- Around a quarter of those living on the street have a background in care
- Care leavers more than four times more likely to commit suicide in adulthood
- In 2011 just 12.8 per cent of children who had been in care for a minimum of one year obtained five good grade GCSEs, including English and maths; for other children the figure was 57.9 per cent
- The number of 19-year-olds who were looked after when aged 16 years and who are now NEET is 36 per cent, double the number of their non-care contemporaries.
For further information please contact Amanda Cumberland on 0208 695 2315 / 07738 210597 or Kate Lawson on 07793 580 440.
Read our briefing paper: Still Our Children – case for reforming the leaving care system in England
Barnardo’s is calling for more to be done to help children in care move to adulthood. We believe care leavers in England need support for longer and are calling for the cut off age for support to be raised from 21 to 25 for all care leavers for the first time.It comes as the Queen’s Speech announces that the Children and Families Bill – which has no provision for care leavers at all – will continue into the next Parliament term.
A previously unpublished YouGov survey conducted on behalf of Barnardo’s found that:
- Only 5 per cent of UK parents expected their children to leave home by 18
- More than a quarter (27 per cent) of UK parents expected them to be at least 26
- 64 per cent of UK parents expected them to be at least 22 before they left home
Barnardo’s believes all care leavers should be supported by personal advisors for longer to help improve their life chances.Care leavers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society,
who are more likely to become homeless, be unemployed and spend time in prison:
- Care leavers show significantly lower academic achievement than their peers – just 12.8 per cent of children in care gain five GCSEs compared to the national average of more than 57.9 per cent.
- Children in care are four times more likely to have a mental health disorder.
- Of the young people in the youth justice system, more than 40 per cent have been in local authority care at some point. 23 per cent of the adult prison population has previously been in care.
Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said:Each child has something unique to offer our society and deserves an equal start in adult life.
Children leaving care are often the most vulnerable young people in our society who need the most support. Unfortunately this support is often not available nor is it consistent across the country.
Paradoxically only care leavers who are in education, employment or training get support until they are 25. Those who aren’t – and who arguably need it the most - do not.
That is why we are calling for support for all care leavers to be raised to the same age.”
The call comes six months after the Department for Education and Barnardo’s vice president, fashion designer and care leaver himself Bruce Oldfield launched the Care Leavers Charter.
A DESIRE to support and inspire disadvantaged children is thought to be the main reason people foster, a survey by an adoption and fostering charity has found.
The survey of 100 people by Parents And Children Together (PACT) for Foster Care Fortnight™ found that 72% of responders suggested that people would be motivated to foster to help a child achieve in life.
More than half of respondents had considered fostering at some point and over 60% had known someone who had fostered.
The results of this poll are published by PACT during Foster Care Fortnight™ to share people’s ideas around the motivations and barriers to fostering.
The Fostering Network estimates that 9,000 new foster families need to be recruited to provide homes for children who can’t live with their birth families. PACT’s survey also found that 21% of respondents would consider fostering children under five years old, but only 5% were interested in fostering teenagers.
Other findings were:
- 83% agreed the PACT fostering allowance of c£300 per week per child was ‘about right’
- 66% felt their concerns over the behaviour of foster children was a barrier to fostering
- 53% identified a lack of time as a barrier to fostering
- 49% saw fostering as a vocation and an alternative to paid employment
PACT’s Chief Executive, Jan Fishwick, said: “It is encouraging to find high levels of awareness and interest in fostering among the survey respondents.
“A number of people may be ideal foster carers but never had the prompt to come forward and find out more. Foster Care Fortnight can be that call to action, and I encourage anyone who knows they are good with children and would like to offer their time and skills in a very practical way to get in contact.
“Our information events are a chance to hear from inspiring PACT foster carers about the difference they are making to a child’s life now and in the future.”
To find out more about what’s involved come to PACT’s Fostering Information Afternoon on Thursday 23rd May, at 9 Southern Court, South Street, Reading, RG1 4QS,
PACT’s Fostering Information Afternoon on Wednesday 29th May at Clapham Library, SW4 7DB, or PACT’s Fostering morning on Thursday 30th May at Sutton Central Library, SM1 1EA.
For more information about fostering download a PACT Guide to Fostering at www.pactcharity.org/Fostering
or call 0300 456 4800.