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. Continue reading
In 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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Young Royals Kate, William and Harry promoted the Heads Together charity earlier this week with a campaign encouraging people to talk about mental health and to find practical, everyday ways to help. During Foster Care Fortnight it seems fitting to think about the wellbeing of carers who risk becoming stressed, anxious or depressed. Yoga and other mind/body practices can help – and they don’t all require being super-fit or flexible. It all begins with good breathing, so try this simple exercise from our book Caring With Vitality – Yoga and Wellbeing for Foster Carers, Adopters and Their Families.
Breathing holds the key
‘If you breathe well, you will live long on the earth.’
Yoga is not just about the physical asanas (postures). In fact, it is learning and practising a different way to breathe that will revitalise you even more than doing the poses.
All too often we become used to taking quick, shallow breaths (into our chests rather than our bellies), without making full use of all our breathing muscles, or our full lung capacity. If we carry on with this ‘bad’ breathing, the result can be physical tension and a whole range of other health problems. Continue reading
Paolo Hewitt, author of But We All Shine On and The Looked After Kid, was in Woking last week, the town of the children’s home in which he grew up, to give a talk about his experience in care, and how his personal journey as an adult to discover whatever happened to his close childhood friends led him to write these two, highly moving and inspirational books.
As soon as I walked into the room the nerves kicked in. I had been fine up until that point but the sight of maybe 100 people ready to hear me read and talk about my time in care switched the dial.
It was then I recalled some advice given to me many years ago before a similar event. I was told there was no reason to be nervous. People who were there to hear me read were on my side. They were not against me, they were for me; they wanted to see me succeed. The crowd was not hostile; they were onside. So why be afraid? Continue reading