TWiF feature: seven people you should be following

16 August 2016

We take a break from the usual news round-up this week to share with you seven of our current favourite writers, bloggers and opinion formers in fostering. This is the first in an occasional series that we hope to develop following feedback and suggestions from readers and is not a “best of” or top seven but rather in no particular order some people that we read, like and get us thinking.

First up is Louise Tickle (@louisetickle) a journalist who has specialised for many years in education and social care issues including for the Guardian and the journal Family Law. She is also part of the Transparency Project campaigning for greater openness and understanding of the family courts (TWiF June 28) and challenges many aspects of the care system. She reported on the case of Annie who was eventually reunited with her baby – after it was taken into care – and whose own story is retold in the surviving safeguarding blog.

Lisa Cherry (@_LisaCherry) is a writer and trainer specialising in attachment theory who works with schools, social workers and foster carers on trauma, resilience and recovery. Her relentlessly upbeat approach and desire to share scientifically grounded approaches to helping looked after children recover from trauma is given extra poignancy by the fact that she experienced the care system herself. One demonstration of her desire to share information as she learns it and achieve real change was the day by day account of her experiences of the 2016 child trauma conference hosted in Melbourne by the Australian Childhood Foundation.

Next up is writer and foster carer Martin Barrow (@MartinBarrow) who contributes a regular column to advocate for fostering in the Huffington Post. Unsurprisingly for a former Times journalist his articles provide carefully crafted and genuine advocacy for fostering and those involved and who could be involved without descending into trite advertorial for the foster care sector.

Andy Elvin, head of fostering charity TACT is another regular contributor to online media including Community Care and the Guardian on all matters fostering including the fate of care leavers, the government policy debate over fostering versus adoption, the profits made by some fostering agencies and the role of children’s charities in running children’s services. On Twitter TACT (@TACTcare) has over 23,000 followers.

Another Martin – this time former chief executive of Barnardo’s Sir Martin Narey (@martinnarey). His report into residential children’s care dipped more than a toe into the discussions about reform of foster care and prompted a government response that promised action even before the report officially saw the light of day. Subsequently dubbed the Narey report the eponymous label hints at a long lasting influence that could shape government policy on children in care for years to come.

Suddenly Mummy (@suddenly_mummy) – a single adopter and foster carer whose posts range from the humourous to the heartbreaking. Familiar to many carers will be the sentiments in Letter to a prospective foster carer and the desperately sad Our new fostering placement will leave you reeling. Oh and there is some stuff about cakes.

On a more down to earth note the monthly e-safety blog by Foster Care Co-op social worker Lynn Findlay (@FosterCareLynn) explores, explains and examines the implications of social media and all issues of on-line safety. The blog is a little hidden among other news articles but worth seeking out for anyone involved in safeguarding children.

That makes our seven but we also want to mention Al Coates – his blog is about predominately about adoption but rich in detail and experience and one of the first blogs we discovered that related to children in care. Also Jack Brookes, residential care worker, foster care trainer and care leaver whose social media writings have gone a little quiet – perhaps unsurprisingly given the difficult subject matter of his last post An insecure base. But we still want to read more.

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