Kinship care: the abuse of grandparents?…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Stu99

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Stu99

One day, Rose received a phone call from social services.

They asked her a question. Could she look after her grandchildren as their mother was unsafe?

“Yes,” she said, “of course!” Which grandparent wouldn’t?

She became a “kinship carer.” Years later, she’s still a kinship carer…

Great for the kids, but what about Rose?…

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Looked After children – safe on social media?…

Thumbs up image

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/alessandroiryna

“He’s writing horrible things about me on Facebook…”

Sound familiar? I’ve spoken to two people recently who’ve had problems with children they look after being exposed to problems on Facebook.

Like any platform for communicating and sharing, Facebook is brilliant, but it has its perils.

This can be particularly acute when relationships are already a problem and where contact is limited. Like when children are in the care system or being looked after by kinship carers.

We are pretty hot on keeping our kids safe on the roads, from strangers, etc. But how about online?

Social media: keep the good, avoid the bad…

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Kinship carers: unsung heroes of child care…

Grandparent carer...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/lammeyer

In our last post on foster care, we lifted the lid on those who open their lives to other people’s children.

We also explored the nature of the sacrifice required from carers.

Many of the comments after the piece were from kinship carers – essentially those who foster children from their own extended family.

This got me thinking about the differences between foster care and kinship care. So I did some digging around. The results of this enquiry had me shocked…

Why kinship carers are heroes!…

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In praise of foster carers…

Why foster carers rock!

Foster family portait

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/omgimages

My career has been punctuated by encounters with people.

That’s the nature of social work, I guess.

Apart from some amazing teenagers, the group who’ve impacted me the most has been foster carers.

They never cease to astound me!

Why foster carers rock!…

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Putting attachment theory to work…

Book review...

Clarks book

Photo courtesy of ©Pavilion Publishing

Great for working with TEENAGERS

Attachment-Based Practice with Adults: Understanding Strategies and Promoting Positive Change, Pavilion Publishing, Brighton, UK. ISBN-13: 978-1908066176

In recent years I’ve come to really appreciate what attachment theory has to offer. And I find it fascinating!

But theories by themselves don’t offer much. Particularly to those of us involved in direct work with troubled people.

We know that these folks have a messed up development. And we know that attachment is a huge part of it.

But one nagging question just won’t go away:

How do I practice in an attachment-based way?

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Why licking frogs is good for you…

This is one of my all time favourite photos – I love it!

Girl licks frog - porject wild thing

Photo courtesy ©Project Wild Thing


Project Wild Thing…

I came across it online at the Project Wild Thing (PWT) website. PWT is a film in the making. It will examine the fact that children and nature are growing apart.

The array of instant gratification gadgets and easy entertainments available to kids these days means they go outside less often. The project aims to halt this trend by encouraging children, young people and adults alike into the great outdoors.

Troubled kids & tired workers…

We all know that working with troubled young people is hard graft. It can be disheartening, draining and difficult. Keeping going can be a real challenge.

Many of the young people we work with have never had someone to properly explore and thrill in the great outdoors with them. May be it’s time to do some of this together. To break free of the interview room, the therapy suite, the YOS or social services office and venture outside…

Licking frogs?…

This is obviously euphemistic. I haven’t actually licked a frog – yet! But here’s what comes to mind for me:

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5 Self-care tips for carers…

Looking After No.1...

Those of us who work to help others, often neglect ourselves.

Psychologists call the impact of our work, “vicarious traumatisation” (VT). In other words, dealing with the struggles of troubled young people can have a similar impact on us.

Tired - Sandoclr - iStock_000000053566XSmall

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/sandoclr

We empathise with them, we engage closely with them – this has an impact. The helper is affected.

Caring is hard. Keeping going is sometimes really hard. I discovered this the hard way…

What happened to me…

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40 is too old to adopt…?

20121105-153450.jpgA 48 year old adopter begs to differ!

A report conducted on behalf of BAAF, questioned 2100 people about various aspects of adoption & fostering.

Among the misunderstandings reported by the subjects, were beliefs that amongst the factors that would act as a barrier to adoption, were things such as:

  • Having a criminal record;
  • Being single:
  • Being gay or lesbian;
  • Being from a low income family, and
  • Being over 40.
  • Also, a third of those questioned believed it would take around 3 years on average, start to finish, to adopt a child.

I was privileged to spend a number of years sitting on an adoption and fostering panel. Along with colleagues and lay members, I helped in the approval process for prospective adopters and foster carers. During that time, I witnessed applicants from each of the above groups apply successfully to foster and/or adopt children.

Looking back, in fact, it wasn’t these kinds of issues that marked people out; it was the overwhelming desire to be parents and the refreshing and well-informed willingness to embrace the additional challenges presented by adoption. Whilst panels have to give due consideration to applicants, the priority is always to ensure the welfare of children and adopters. I never once saw even a hint of prejudicial practice that would exclude anyone on the kinds of mythical grounds assumed by those questioned in this study; nor would the guidance or the Courts allow it.

I have another qualification to speak on this subject – my two adopted children! So I can speak as one who has sat on the other side of the table at a panel hearing. As it happens, during my second journey through this process, I was 41 years old. Whilst I had quite a clear subjective sense of being an ever so slightly “older parent,” at no time was this reinforced, or even mentioned, by the professionals involved. It just wasn’t an issue.

Indeed, in more than a dozen years of involvement as an adopter, I have had a universally positive experience of the whole thing. There have been all the usual challenges of bringing up kids – the kinds of things that have tested parents since time immemorial – but like all parents, adoptive or otherwise, that’s what I signed up for.

But I was 41 and that wasn’t a problem; and in both cases the process took less than 18 months from initial phone call through to having the child move in!

Personally, I think everyone involved in adoption should work not only to bust open the myths, but to celebrate the delights!

Ask not for a good reason why you should adopt; ask yourself why not

What do you think?

  • Will you be celebrating National Adoption Week? If so, how?
  • What experiences of adoption have you had?

Please contribute to this by adding your own thoughts and experiences. You can  leave a comment by scrolling down, or just click here.

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© Jonny Matthew 2012