LEICESTERSHIRE COUNTY Council has announced its intention to pull out of the government’s national transfer scheme which was designed to share the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking children throughout the country. Currently two thirds of these children are being cared for by local authorities in the south east – with one in five under the care of Kent County Council. But at its cabinet meeting last week Leicestershire councillors voted to “disengage” from the voluntary scheme “until such time as the Government meets the full costs of placements and service provision; makes adjustments to the operation of the scheme to make it practical to deliver; or makes participation in the scheme mandatory”. It will continue to care for those unaccompanied refugee children already placed within the council.
FOLLOWING LAST month’s discussions about rights for foster carers parts of Twitter came alive with a debate about respite care. Some foster carers said that it was essential for their fostered children to spend time elsewhere so they could have a break and recharge and cement their ability to care for challenging young people, while others said that respite was bad for children and was a message of rejection – particularly when carers went on holiday without their fostered children. Adopter and former foster carer Al Coates helpfully takes a more measured approach in his blog post on the subject.
AS THE Fostering Network continued the celebration of the sons and daughters of foster carers this month, the Rees Centre reminded us of some important advice for fostering families including that children of foster carers must always be involved in the decision to foster. Provide ways for children to access information about fostering – negative as well as positive, it suggested, and reduce feelings of exclusion by protecting time for the children of foster carers to spend with their parents.
SCOTLAND’S FIRST minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a “root and branch review” of the care system in her closing speech at the SNP conference citing a list of statistics on the poorer life chances of looked after children. “Worst of all – and this breaks my heart – a young person who has been in care is twenty times, twenty times, more likely to be dead by the time they are 25 than a young person who hasn’t,” she told the conference.
MEANWHILE THE Huffington Post suggested children who experienced parental absence before the age of seven were more than twice as likely to take up smoking, while 46% were more likely to start drinking before the age of 11. Parental absence was defined as the loss of a biological parent as a result of death or a relationship breakdown. The study, which used data from a cohort of 19,000 children appeared in the medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. The Huffington Post reported the researchers as saying that the findings were still clear even after taking into account influential factors such as parents’ education, parents’ ethnicity, mother’s age at parenthood and smoking during pregnancy.
AND FINALLY I wanted to share with you this superb blog entry from B3longBlog about managing a trauma rage in one of your children. Children display the scariest behaviour when they are most scared, it suggests. “To calm the rage we must let their brains know that we are not a threat to them. We must reduce the fear.”