Foster Carers needed for refugees and asylum seekers, David Roth
Waltham Forest urgently needs foster carers who can care for children who are refugees or asylum seekers. My name is David Roth, and I have just taken up a post in the council’s fostering team, to try and find more foster carers for these children and young people.
Children can leave their homeland to seek refuge or asylum for many reasons. They may be fleeing war or famine. Civil society may have broken down, or they could have been persecuted for their ethnicity or religion. Their journey to the UK can be very hazardous. However, when they reach the UK, then if they don’t know anyone to go to, they will come into local authority care.
Child refugees and asylum seekers have the same basic needs as any child – a loving home where they can be nurtured, encouraged to fulfil their potential, and have their identity respected. They may also have their own particular needs, e.g. support in manging what has probably been distressing situations in their home country or in reaching the UK, to learn or improve their English, or to keep appointments with lawyers who are helping their asylum claim. While they probably won’t have direct contact with their parents, they might be able to speak to them on the phone, or using Skype.
The number of asylum seeking children who are ‘looked after’ by Waltham Forest is increasing steadily. In 2013 there were 15, by March 2017 there were 51, and the number is probably still increasing.
If you think you’d be interested in fostering a child refugee or asylum seeker, please make a fostering enquiry using this website, and make this known on the form or when the Fostering Team contacts you.
The views expressed in this blog are Marie’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. All names have been changed to protect identities.
A Day In The Life of a Specialist Foster Carer
Tuesday 27 March 2018
Hi, my name is Marie. My husband Arthur and I are Waltham Forest specialist foster carers. We have cared for Brian for three years and Dennis for 14 months. Both young lads have complex needs. In our bi-monthly blog we will share our lives with you. The rewards of fostering for us are seeing our foster sons overcome challenges and grow.
It's Thursday 8 March, Brian has left for college, Dennis lies ill in bed, for approximately an hour by which time he has made a miraculous recovery and is eating his way through anything he can find in the fridge, freezer and cupboards- crash bang wallop, “are you alright,” I cry and receive a muffled “yeah,” in response. Dennis returns to his bedroom where he rests up until later. Hubby A returns to bed as he has been up until 3/4 am with Dennis who struggles to sleep due to autism and ADHD. I tidy up as much as I can whilst they sleep. At 2pm I go for a nap as I have a long drive to Blackpool for respite tomorrow (as specialist foster carers we have short breaks from our usual duties). Been in bed five minutes and the phone rings, it's the hospital I press ignore and settle down just dropping off to sleep when hubby, house phone to ear, says, “Monday OK for Dennis's op?” I ask him to check notice board downstairs then hear him go back down and make the appointment. Arthur’s alarm goes off for 3:30pm. I turn the alarm off I've got another hour before Brian gets home - no nap for me!
Dennis who was ‘dying’ at 5am cough, cough cough, decides to play Xbox with a friend from school, he is hollering and swearing. I knock on his door and shout “language” and go downstairs not feeling at all refreshed. Brian comes home he is in a foul mood that gets worse as the evening wears on. Arthur rings Brian dad to arrange contact on his birthday next week. Brian speaks briefly to his dad. Brian is told about our respite and Dennis's operation on Monday and that we will all have to be up early to take Dennis for his op at 7am. He begins to moan and groan, we explain that none of our back up carers are able to sit with him this time so he has to come,.. we will take him to College. He is not a happy bunny and sits talking to himself and his imaginary friend Thomas. To break the ranting Arthur asks, “what is Thomas like?” the customary “why?” bounces back, knowing Brian is not in the mood Arthur cheerily replies, “just wondering, you’ve been taking to Thomas a lot lately, Marie and I notice you do this when you're not feeling well or stressed!” Brian grumpily responds, “what do mean, you and Marie notice? Why are you watching me?” This simple interaction later leads to Brian accusing Arthur and Marie of laughing and shouting at him which is not true. This incident escalates and lasts about 15 minutes. Brian eventually runs out of steam and cries on the sofa. After a few minutes Arthur checks on Dennis. Dennis shares he didn't hear anything. Arthur and I check Brian for any injuries and talk calmly to him. Brian is reassured that Arthur and I are disappointed with his behaviour but still care for him. We know from previous experience that once Brian has had his melt down he is usually fine and he shared himself that he was ‘sorry,’ and ‘felt a lot better now he had got it out of his system.’ We send an incident report to the social team/school.
Our dedicated social worker and the fostering training officer are always really supportive offering key advice and training to help us carry out our roles. I complete log books for the day, it’s now after midnight and Dennis is beginning his routine of weight lifting, bath and mooching around to see what was edible. ..... A day in the life of a specialist foster carer yawn!
Arthur and I later reflected on how much Brian had grown by apologising for his behaviour. We recognised that having firm and consistent boundaries helped him understand that his behaviour was unacceptable. Brian also knew that we would still care for him and did not take his actions personally.
We have a poem on our front door written by Hubby A for us all;
When I leave each day or when I leave for longer -
In this place I have people that care for me
In this place I have people that will look after me
In this place I have people that want me
In this place I have people who work hard for me
In this place I have people who share their families
In this place there are rules that I may break
In this place I may get sad, lonely or angry
In this place I may not always enjoy living here, and wish I was somewhere else, or miss people I love.
In this place whatever I feel, whatever I do, whatever I am, I will be cared for and accepted.
In Arthur and Marie's thoughts I will be and will be cared for as long as they can, this is their home shared with ME.
In this PLACE I can be ME.
It's LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week
Monday 5 March 2018
We are proud to support LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week and are members of New Family Social. We would be happy to hear from LGBT potential foster carers this and every week.
Did you see our '12 Myths of Fostering' competition on social media?
Wednesday 3 January 2017
Our '12 Myths of Fostering,' competition featured on the London Borough of Waltham Forest's facebook and twitter at the end of December. We asked viewers to let us know which one of our 12 Myths Father Christmas appeared in. It is now too late to enter but you can view the 12 myths below and spot which one Father Christmas appears in just for fun. Congratulations to our competition winner Clive Stubley.
We felt so lucky to foster a young refugee. Don’t let Parsons Green tarnish a proud tradition.
Wednesday 3 January 2017
Please read this great Guardian article about a couple's positive experience around fostering a young refugee and why recent events should not discourage foster carers coming forward for these vulnerable young people; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/20/foster-young-refugee-parsons-green-syria?CMP=ema-1696&CMP=
Tuesday 6 June 2017
Waltham Forest fostering are members of New Family Social - the UK network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) foster and adoptive families. This means that when you begin your fostering journey with us you can join NFS for free. As a member you will receive peer support, invitations to get togethers, the NFS newsletters and magazines, access to the private NFS forums and once you are an approved foster carer you will receive crisis support, invitations to summer camps and other organised children's activities. Please read this great Guardian article, 'I thought I'd never be a dad until I saw an ad for LGBT carers,' where a foster carers shares that social workers, teachers and healthcare professionals have always been accepting and supportive.
Foster Walk London
Saturday 13 May 2017
The Fostering Team and foster carers took part in Foster Walk London on Saturday 13 May 2017. Foster Walk London is a sponsored 5K walk across London celebrating foster care and raising money to help transform fostered children’s lives.
Foster Care Fortnight, Dave Fry, Assistant Director of Corporate Parenting
Monday 8 May 2017
As we begin Fostering Fortnight I am reflecting on the difference that good foster care makes to children’s lives. As a manager who is responsible for fostering services amd as a foster carer myself, I know that it can be massively rewarding but equally tiring, I am both #ProudtoFoster and #ProudtoSupportFostering.
The relationships that I have with children we care for make all the difference. When we are able to make a positive relationship with a child, it allows them to trust us. When they trust us we are able to influence and guide them. In turn that may relax the child, helping them to feel safer and engage in their education, other relationships and begin a virtuous spiral.
This is why we are developing the Mockingbird Family Model in Waltham Forest. To ensure that our foster carers are supported through improved relationships.
This year I am supporting the Fostering Network campaign – 'Fostering Transforms Lives.' But I am also focusing on the knowledge that #relationshipsmakingthedifference is what we all need to remember.
Monday 8 May 2017
Please watch the Fostering Network's film, 'We are not mistakes on pages,' Solomon (www.twitter.com/solomonconcepts) and Sharmin share their thoughts on growing up in foster care and introduce us to the people who loved and cared for them during their childhood. This short film addresses some of the myths around fostering teenagers.