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Our adoption and fostering resources offer valuable guidance on important issues including attachment and trauma parenting, foster and residential care, life story work, education and schools, creative therapies, transracial adoption, parenting teens, special educational needs and more.  We also have a great set of therapeutic children’s books to help them manage big feelings.

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What is Theraplay® and how does it help children with attachment difficulties to connect with their parents and carers?

TheraplayVivien Norris and Helen Rodwell discuss what Theraplay is, how it works and why it is such an easy yet powerful tool for helping children with attachment difficulties to emotionally connect with their parents and carers. This extract is taken from their new book, Parenting with Theraplay®, and is preceded by a foreword from Dafna Lender, Programme Director of The Theraplay® Institute. Their book is a simple guide for parents which explains everything you need to know about Theraplay, with practical tips to apply it to everyday family life.

Click here to read the extract

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How to make an effective special guardianship assessment

special guardianship

With the number of Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) on the sharp rise, the need for thorough analytical assessments has never been greater when deciding whether to place a child with a potential special guardian. Here Joanne Alper and colleagues draw on experts in the field to provide information and guidance in the promotion of improved analysis when undertaking these complex assessments.

Click here to read the extract

Joanne is the author of Assessing Adoptive Parents, Foster Carers and Kinship Carers, Second Edition. Now fully updated and expanded to cover the assessment of kinship carers and special guardians, the book enables professionals to establish a meaningful understanding of parenting capacity and what it takes to support a child with a history of trauma, loss or hurt.

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Help children to understand adoption and the diversity of different families

diversityHelp children to understand adoption and the diversity of different families with this illustrated rhyming story by Shanni Collins.  The rhyme is taken from her new book, All You Need is Love, which celebrates families of all shapes and sizes and encourages inclusion and acceptance in a child’s relationships. Each page is dedicated to a different family, with stories exploring sexuality, adoption, fostering, disability, race, gender diversity and illness.

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Recommended reading for new and prospective foster carers

recommended reading foster carersAn extract from Welcome to Fostering, for foster agencies considering books for their recommended reading lists for new and prospective foster carers.

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If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, or have recently become one, this book is the one companion you’ll need to understand the experience of fostering. Edited by Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest adoption and fostering charity TACT, and Martin Barrow, former news editor at The Times and a veteran foster carer himself, the book demystifies the process of fostering by combining invaluable advice from long-term foster carers, the expertise of the professionals who support them, and priceless experiences of foster children themselves; it answers all the questions you’ve had about how to become a foster carer, what the challenges and highlights are, and what it takes to thrive as one.
If you would like to read more articles like this and hear the latest news and offers on our Fostering books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Adoption, Fostering and Parenting Facebook page.

The demand for new foster carers has never been greater

Foster carers

Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest adoption and fostering charity TACT, describes the immense contribution that foster carers make on a daily basis to the lives of vulnerable children, but explains how the demand for new foster carers has never been greater.

Monday 8th May saw the launch of Welcome to Fostering, a new JKP book co-edited by myself Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest Adoption and Fostering charity TACT, and Martin Barrow, former news editor at The Times and a veteran foster carer.  The purpose of the book is to explain how to become a foster carer, and what the experience of fostering is actually like, in the hope that more people take up the mantle. It is packed with case studies from actual foster carers detailing their experiences: their first placements, the challenges they have faced along the way and what it is has meant to them to be making a difference, day in day out, to the lives of these children who depend on them. It also includes case studies and quotes from children in foster care themselves.

Foster care is vital and our need for foster carers has never been greater.  In 2016 there were roughly 93,000 children in state care in the UK, and nearly 75% of these children were in foster care. In England alone, there are currently 70,440 children in care, and this number has been rising steadily for some years.  The demand for new foster carers is therefore ever increasing, especially for those who will care for older children and sibling groups.

Lord Laming recently described foster carers as ‘Heroes of the State’, and he is absolutely right about this. Every day, every week and every year, an army of altruistic, selfless and dedicated foster carers look after children who are amongst the most vulnerable in the UK, and through their daily interaction with them, they come to learn that these children are full of amazing and sometimes limitless potential.

Fostering isn’t easy, it is not for everyone and if you choose to become a foster carer you will learn a great deal about the lives that some families lead, and you will also learn a great deal about yourself. Fostering demands patience, empathy, creativity and above all compassion and desire to help children recover from trauma and neglect and to grow up to fulfil their true potential. To borrow the words of TACT ambassador Lorraine Pascale in the foreword to the book, “Foster families are not only important through childhood but remain important throughout life. It is important that the immense value and positive impact of foster care is recognised, and that more ordinary people consider doing something extraordinary for vulnerable children and young people, and that is to become foster carers. This book offers real-life accounts by foster carers and young people in care, as well as expert advice and case studies. What I am most pleased about is how positive it is, and how it reflects the hopes and aspirations of so many children in foster care and their foster carers. It also highlights what I know, from my own life, to be true, that good fostering can build brighter, happier futures for children and young people.”

We hope that reading this book will encourage you to seriously think about foster care. Deciding to become a foster carer is, in part, an emotional decision but it must also be a decision made with a clear minded understanding of what you are committing to. It is no less than the opportunity to transform a child’s life. Good foster care and good foster carers are one of the most valuable resources the UK has. Very few other roles allow you to make such a positive impact on the lives of others.  Fostering is transformative for both the child and adult.

If you would like to read more articles like Andy’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Fostering books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Adoption, Fostering and Parenting Facebook page.

Unorthodox Beginnings – A Poem About a foster family

A poem by TACT Ambassador and 2016 National Poetry Slam Champion, Solomon OB, about what his foster family means to him – as featured in Welcome To Fostering.

 

 

She graces stages

West End bound, best friend found in a sibling who

chauffeured her halfway to crazy when we were younger

My sister

 

She called me baby

As soon as I arrived through those airport doors, she

came charging, screaming, she hugged me with a force

you would expect from a lady who had not seen me

since 10 years before

My mother

 

He held down swaying relationships at home, light

anchors gripped to sea beds

He sped from Brighton to Bristol and back via London

Picked me up when I was man down behind the enemy

lines of my mind

Before I self-destructed

My brother

 

He sits across Christmas dinner tables from me and I

wear his family name with pride

And with rose red eyes he told me:

‘I love your mother now more than the day we got

married’

50 years together a testament to the strength they’re both

possessing

My foster mother

My foster father

 

And yes, he calls my foster mother my mother but with

no intent to disrespect my mother

I mean what else would you call your lover?

The woman who raised these kids, bathed these kids,

takes them in like her own

Told them everything will be OK, told them they could be

anything they wanted to be one day

 

What would you call her?

Saint? angel? magician for making ends meet when others

may not have been able?

Many names from which to choose but I guess on this

occasion mother will do

So yes we are fostered

And when I say this the lines on people’s faces crumble up

like discarded pages of paper laden with mistakes

But we are not mistakes on pages

We are simply awesome novels

With unorthodox beginnings

 

We are not mistakes on pages

We are simply a crooked introduction straightened out by

proofreaders Pat and Vic

Whose love and guidance set the foundations for straight

lines for us to write the rest of our story on

No we are not mistakes on pages

So this Christmas past I took your last name as a present

to you to show you now that I can give and take

 

Victor Roy, Patricia Anne Brooker

I love you.

 

If you would like to read more articles like Solomon OB’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Fostering books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Adoption, Fostering and Parenting Facebook page.

What is it like from a birth parent’s perspective to have your children living in foster care?

Foster care birth parentsIn this extract from Welcome to Fostering, Annie describes what it is like from a birth parent’s perspective to have your children living with foster carers, and provides some useful advice for foster carers on how to manage a good relationship with birth parents. She is the writer of her own blog, Surviving Safeguarding, which tells the story of her ongoing journey to win her children back into her custody. She believes that ‘Fostering is truly a wonderful thing’.

Click here to download the extract

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Tips for promoting young children’s wellbeing

Young children's wellbeing

Sonia Mainstone-Cotton, author of Promoting Young Children’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing, provides some very useful and easy tips for supporting young children’s happiness at this important stage in their development.

Wellbeing is a term we hear a lot about for adults and young people, but we don’t hear so much about it for young children. We know that the rates of teenage mental health problems are rising alarmingly, and we are aware that children and young people are feeling increasingly stressed and distressed. I passionately believe if we can help young children to have a good wellbeing then we are setting them off to a great start in life. But to help children have a good wellbeing, we need to be proactive about it.

One critical aspect of a child having good wellbeing is by them knowing that they are loved – that they are loved for the unique and precious individuals they are. Parents and grandparents clearly have a crucial role in letting children know that they are unconditionally loved, but I also believe that key workers, teaching assistants, children’s workers also have a role in showing children that they are loved and wanted. We show this through the words we use and the way we hold children. Part of my job is as a nurture consultant; I have seven children and schools that I support throughout the year. Every time I see one of my nurture children I ensure I show delight in seeing them that day. I smile at them, I look them in the eyes and tell them how lovely it is to see them today, how much I have been looking forward to our time together. Continue reading

How Disney films can help you talk to your child about adoption

Read an exclusive extract from Adoption at the Movies

Chapter 5: Disney Films

“Disney produces films that are loved by people of all ages, and their films tend to be watched and re-watched over the years. Disney films often involve stories that are driven by parental loss or family formation. We start our journey into the movies with a selection of enjoyable Disney films that can help your family start some meaningful conversations. The discussion questions in this section explore becoming a family, themes of belonging, dealing with loss and sadness, differentiating between secrecy and confidentiality, feelings of missing or longing for birth family members, and identity development. Let’s get the movies rolling!”

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In his new book Adoption at the Movies, based on his popular blog by the same name, Addison Cooper reveals how movies your kids love can get the whole family talking about adoption in a fun and safe way.

With a film for each week of the year, Addison Cooper has compiled the best movies, new and old, for family-friendly viewing. Among those featured are Finding Dory, Frozen, Paddington, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kung Fu Panda, Star Wars, Divergent, The Blind Side and I am Sam. Carefully selected, the movies included will help families to comfortably talk about important adoption-related topics. Films are sorted by age range and topic, so it’s easy to find the perfect movie for your family. Cooper summarizes the plot, the adoption connection, difficult or scary scenes, and provides discussion questions for each movie. Helping all members of the family to explore both the pain and joy of adoption, the book covers a range of issues which can arise, such as culture, identity, control, and reunification. With something for everyone—from kids, to teens, to grown-ups—this book is a must-have for all adoptive families.

 

To learn more about Adoption at the Movies or to purchase a copy, click here. You can also view the full range of JKP’s adoption books here, join our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook.