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  • 18 Mar 2020 12:43 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Factors to consider

    Everyone starting the adoption or fostering process will do so with some understandable preconceptions about what they hope their family will look like as a result. However, reality rarely matches fantasy and it’s worth considering a range of factors to help you become more pragmatic in the process.

    You may start the process hoping to be linked with a younger child. That’s not always the right choice for you or the child. Firstly the child’s medical history can be uncertain. Were they exposed to alcohol, drugs or smoking during pregnancy leading to developmental and behavioural problems later in life? Some of the issues that can occur as a result will only be known over time – which can be challenging for some adopters and foster carers to accommodate. Similarly, hereditary conditions, allergies or illnesses may not be immediately obvious, or known about by the birth parents or the child’s social worker.

    Prospective parents also need to balance their own ages compared to the child.  Can you realistically provide the physical support your child will need until they reach independence? Will you have sufficient emotional energy and stamina to guide them through puberty?

    With older children many issues will be identified as they grow up.  Most developmental delays will be known, any pregnancy, allergy and illnesses should have been identified too. However, older children may struggle to quickly develop a shared language and understanding of family norms as they are likely to have experienced a number of households with different routines.

    Sadly most looked after children experience trauma or neglect with their birth parents. This will instinctively guide many of their interactions with you in the early days. For example, they may struggle to express themselves verbally and lash out or seem to overreact to the slightest stimulation. Whether you adopt or foster a younger or older child the early days of your placement are key to developing trust and a healthy attachment with the child. Regardless of age, the child’s behaviour may be an effort by them to move your parenting to an environment they recognise and derive comfort from – even if it’s not a healthy situation for them.

    Ultimately your social worker will help you identify the best age range you should consider as a potential adopter or foster carer. In some instances their opinion and your hopes will match. In other cases your particular experiences may be better suited to a child or sibling group you’ve not considered. The more you’re able to be flexible in your approach and open to feedback the more likely you’ll identify a successful match.

    Snapshot research with LGBT+ adopters shows that they are more likely to consider adopting children often viewed as ‘harder to place’; such as those who are older, or who are in a sibling group or who have additional needs. The more pragmatic about the needs you and your family can meet – and those you can’t – the easier locating a suitable match becomes.

    Takeaway:
    • Most adopters and foster carers consider children in age ranges rather than having a fixed age they want to parent
    • Balance your age to that of a child. Will you have the stamina and emotional energy to support them through puberty?
    • Medical and developmental issues are more likely to be known if you parent an older child
    • The more you're open to consider ‘harder-to-place’ children, the more you increase your likelihood of finding a match more quickly


  • 17 Mar 2020 14:52 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Foster carers play a vital role in supporting looked-after children, but they can be overlooked with the focus often on adoption services. However, with some 78,150 children being looked-after in England alone there’s desperate need for more people to consider fostering.

    New Family Social is working hard to encourage more LGBT+ people to explore this parenting route. The charity now counts many foster care agencies among its organisational members, most recently including the National Fostering Group –a close knit collection of 14 independent fostering agencies.

    As part of New Family Social’s drive to improve the number of LGBT+ foster carers the charity’s also calling on foster member agencies to make sure that all of their existing foster carers can access the charity’s services for free. While new recruits may be aware of this offer, long-standing foster carers may not be.

    Unfortunately as there’s no national data collection of the sexual orientation or gender identity of existing foster carers there’s no evidence base to encourage more LGBT+ to explore fostering. New Family Social strongly recommends that member agencies collate this information for themselves, to bolster their recruitment efforts.


    Takeaway

    • Fostering agencies increasingly join New Family Social to provide dedicated support for their LGBT+ carers.
    • Long-standing LGBT+ carers and new recruits should be made aware of the services that they can access free of charge through their agency’s membership of New Family Social.
    • It’s strongly recommended that fostering agencies capture sexual orientation and gender identity information anonymously from their foster carers. It can be used as a benchmark to help in recruitment efforts and to track the efficacy of campaigns.


  • 9 Jan 2020 15:29 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grey skies, rain and a bit more rain. Spring is here, so let's brighten things up.


    So now is the time to get all of the colouring pens / crayons / pencils out of the box or drawers and set the kids a challenge.

    We are starting a regular art competition, open to all of our member's kids. 

    As it's been a bit grey, the theme, by popular demand (well at least around the coffee machine) is  COLOUR.

    We want to see the most amazing drawings or paintings using as much colour as possible.  

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    1. By entering the competition, parents and guardians confirm that they have read and understood, and agree to be bound by, the following competition rules

    2. The competition is open to all children (placed, adopted, fostered) of registered members of New Family Social.

    3. Entries must be delivered via email.

    4.The winner(s) will be announced on our website, but we will be sensitive to how the name of the winner is announced.  For example, you can state that you prefer just initials and the town or county.

    5. Entry to the competition is free, however, all materials for the creation and submission of artwork must be provided by the school or individual. 6.All artwork must be the original idea of the entrant and not infringe on anyone else’s copyright.

    7. Entries must be received no later than 4.00pm on Friday 22nd June 2020

    8. The children must have fun producing the artwork. 9. Individual entries –please ensure your child's name, age, address and contact telephone number are marked clearly in the email. We are only able to accept one submission per child

    11.The winners of the competition shall be decided by the staff of New Family Social

    12. By entering the competition, children and their parents/guardians give their consent to New Family Social to use their work, free of charge, in any publicity and/or promotional activities.

    15. No cash alternative to any prize is available and the prizes shall be non-transferable.

    16. The Trust is not responsible for late, lost or delayed entries.

    17.The decision of the judging panel is final and binding on all entrants and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • 7 Jan 2020 13:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March is soon upon is and our LGBT+ adoption and fostering week is being planed.  Here's what we are doing for 2020 and why. LGBT+ adopters and foster carers are making real differences to children's lives. We here about some wonderful stories. Let us share the latest one with you.



  • 3 Jan 2020 15:04 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jump to:

    Help for LGBT+ adopters & foster carers

    Help for adoption & foster care agencies



    Help for LGBT+ adopters & foster carers

    Benefits of joining New Family Social

    New Family Social is the UK’s peer support network for adopters and foster carers who are LGBT+. Our secure online forums are a great way to seek support and advice from others in the same situation as you. And with our members spread across the UK, there’s a wealth of events held across the country – some for all the family and some where the adults can blow off steam together. You can post anonymously, share stories or just vent to others who understand!

    Our memberships for LGBT+ people are structured in three levels. Our Bronze members can access free-of-charge our tools for finding information sessions and agencies that welcome and support LGBT+ applicants. Silver members can participate in our member forums, attend members events open to that level of membership and view exclusive web content. Gold members can use our forums, attend all events and reach out to other members through our members' directory. There's also a family-finding service open to Gold members if they reach that part of the journey.

    Find out more about joining New Family Social as an LGBT+ member.


    Help for adoption & fostering agencies

    Benefits of joining New Family Social

    An agency membership means that all of your confirmed LGBT+ adopters and foster carers are entitled to free individual memberships of New Family Social, for as long as your agency maintains its agency subscription. There’s no maximum cap on the number of LGBT+ adopters/foster carers this applies to. And your existing LGBT+ adopters and foster carers can join for free as well.

    An agency membership also includes:

    • Access to our free family-finding service. Agencies can circulate profiles of children they are family-finding for, direct to LGBT+ adopters who’ve been approved for family-finding.
    • Free promotion of your recruitment events through New Family Social’s social media channels.
    • Ability to list sessions on New Family Social’s recruitment events calendar.
    • Inclusion on New Family Social’s agency finder, the listing of LGBT+-friendly agencies across the UK.
    • Access to New Family Social’s training courses.
    • Priority access to New Family Social’s campaigns.
    • You can submit articles for publication on the NFS website.
    • There’s assistance with filling panel vacancies in your area.

    Complete this form to find out more about joining New Family Social as a member agency.




  • 3 Jan 2020 11:12 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jump to:

    Family finding: information for our LGBT+ members

    Family finding: information for staff in our adoption/fostering member agencies

    Information for our LGBT+ members

    If you’re one of our LGBT+ adopter members – and you’ve reached the family-finding stage – then this service may be the one that helps you find your forever family. The service lists children’s profiles submitted to New Family Social by our member agencies that are keen to reach as many potential parents for a possible match for each child. These profiles are accompanied with contact details for the child’s social worker so our members can approach them directly for consideration.

    How do I access the service?

    To be eligible to access the service you need to

    • Be a New Family Social LGBT+ adopter member at Gold Level
    • Be at the family-finding stage of your adoption journey (confirmed by your social worker).

    If you meet both of these criteria then please contact us using this form.

    What will New Family Social do?

    For child protection reasons we will contact your social worker to verify that you are currently family-finding. Once confirmed we will give you access to the family-finding service, with children’s profiles appearing among the most recent postings in your forum list. You can refine the list by selecting the ‘Family Finding’ thread.



    Information for staff in our adoption/fostering member agencies

    Our agency members can directly promote the profiles of children they’re family-finding for to LGBT+ approved adopters and foster carers. Only our LGBT+ members who’ve been confirmed as family-finding have access to submitted profiles.

    To submit profiles to the service, login to our site with your Orange Professional login, go to the "My Agency" page, and the scroll down until you reach the Family Finding service and follow the instructions.

    You can select whether you want us to reach out to other agencies or our LGBT+ approved members.  


  • 2 Jan 2020 11:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Equality legislation in the UK means that it's now illegal for adoption and fostering agencies to refuse to work with you because of your sexual orientation. Similarly, your gender identity should not be used as a reason to accept you as a potential adopter or foster carer.

    Because there's an ongoing shortage of both potential adopters and foster carers it's highly unusual for LGBT+ people to share with us stories of discrimination they've experienced when applying to adopt or foster.

    Living with HIV, or prior experience of mental health issues don't prevent you from adopting or fostering either. You will need to show that you'll have the energy and health to parent a child, but neither of these instances automatically prevent you from applying to adopt or foster. Similarly there's no upper age limit to either process, just the need to show that you can provide the parenting and care to see your child into adulthood, or for as long as it's anticipated you need to foster them for.

    For more information on the requirements to adopt read this summary by First4Adoption.

    For more information on the requirements to foster read this information by the Fostering Network.


  • 2 Jan 2020 09:11 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Whether you provide respite care or a long-term placement all foster carers need support. The level of support a fostering agency will provide to you will vary by agency, so we strongly recommend that you explore your options with both your local authority service, independent agencies and those run by the voluntary sector. This will help you identify the agency best suited to you, the type of fostering you want to provide and the level of support you're likely to need.

    Fostering in the UK is a devolved matter, so check out the links below for your specific country.

    If you're fostering in England you can also read  Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards published by the Department for Education. Skip to page 44 for the support foster carers should expect.

    In Scotland there's a wealth of legislation and guidance you can turn to, which is handily listed online by the Fostering Network.

    For legislation and guidance in Wales, check out this list compiled by the Fostering Network.

    In Northern Ireland you can read this information compiled by the Department of Health.


  • 1 Jan 2020 15:32 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Skip to:

    Regional collaboratives

    Education support

    Housing support


    Regional collaboratives & local authorities

    In Wales the local authority adoption services work together in ‘regional collaboratives’. Some of these will be your first point of contact for adoption support. They will undertake an assessment of your adoption support needs.

    In other regions it will be local authority teams that undertake this assessment.

    If you adopted through a voluntary adoption agency you could also approach that agency to discuss the post adoption support services they may be able to offer.

    You can find out more on the National Adoption Service website.



    Education support

    If you feel your child needs extra support as a result of their adoption, you have the right to have an assessment of adoption support needs. If you think your child might have special educational needs you can ask your local authority to assess these needs too.

    Schools are asked to give all children adopted from care priority access. This means that your adopted child should be able to attend the school you think best meets their needs. Find out more about school admissions online.

    There is also funding within the local education consortia to help your child’s school understand and meet any additional needs of your child. This is through the Pupil Deprivation Grant. 



    Housing support for adopters in Wales

    Adopters may have priority for council housing. If you live in council housing and claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit while waiting for a child to move in you can also apply for funding (Discretionary Housing Payments) so that you are not penalized financially while you have an empty spare room. Find out more on the gov.uk website.

    Find out more about the support available generally to adopters in Wales from the National Adoption Service.


  • 1 Jan 2020 15:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Skip to:

    Education support

    Source legislation


    Education support for adopters in Scotland

    Looked after children have the same rights to extra support in school as other children. All children who are looked after are automatically assumed to have additional support needs – unless they’re assessed and it’s decided they don’t have additional support needs at that time.

    However, they may still need extra support later to cope with disruptions or upset caused by leaving a foster family, moving home or changing school. The child’s local authority must consider whether a looked after child needs a coordinated support plan.

    Education, social work and staff from other agencies should work together to assess and plan the support a looked after child needs. Local authorities should have detailed policies in place on the education of looked after children to makes sure this happens. The child should be involved in planning their support and have a say in decisions about what they will learn at school and the support they need.

    If a child is looked after, their home authority has responsibility for their education even if they are:

    • placed in accommodation in another local authority and attending a school in that authority
    • placed in a school in another local authority, for example, because school provision that meets their needs is available there.

    For more information visit Enquire – the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning.

    Read More: Additional support for learning: A guide for parents or carers of looked after children, Enquire

    Support for two year old children

    Some two-year-olds – including those who are looked after –are entitled to 600 hours a year of early learning and childcare.

    Looked after children up to the age of three

    Your local authority should also provide additional support for two-year-old looked after children receiving their funded hours of early learning and childcare

    School-age children

    Your local authority must identify whether your child has additional support needs and give them the appropriate support if they:

    • attend or are registered with a school run by your authority
    • receive education in another local authority school under arrangements made by your own authority
    • have been placed at an independent special school or grant-aided school by your authority.

    Your local authority must provide your child with ‘adequate and efficient’ additional support so that they can benefit fully from their education. The term ‘adequate and efficient’ is taken from the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. The Act focuses on individual provision directed at every child.

    Find out more – The parents’ guide to additional support for learning, Enquire


    Source legislation on adoption support

    The Adoption Support Services and Allowances (Scotland) Regulations 2009

    The Adoption Support Services and Allowances (Scotland) Regulations 2009: Circumstances in which adoption allowances may be paid



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