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Become a foster carer in 2021 – have the challenges of the pandemic given you a new sense of empathy for children in foster care?

2020 has been a life changing year for everyone. Whether it be through contracting COVID-19, losing a loved one to the virus, facing financial struggles, battling loneliness, missing family and friends or balancing working from home with home-schooling – the pandemic has forced us all to adapt and face some of our greatest challenges. Yet here we are, the end of 2020 is here and you are still here reading this. You’ve made it through one of the toughest years in recent history. It’s important to reflect on everything that has happened but then it will be time to look ahead to 2021 and the things you can do to make a positive difference in the new year.

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Fostering at Christmas time – an interview with a Focus foster carer.

Life as a foster family is full of ups and downs, there are happy times and challenging periods too. However, Christmas and the festive season can be a particularly difficult time for children in foster care. When it was announced last week that Christmas bubbles could only be for Christmas Day and several areas of the UK were placed into tier 4, families were left disappointed that they couldn’t be together for the holidays. Thousands of children feel this sadness every year when they are unable to spend Christmas with their families, for various reasons. This is why foster carers are so important, they provide children with a safe and loving home and can help them experience a happy family Christmas that many of us have previously taken for granted. If you are thinking of fostering in the new year and are curious what fostering at Christmas must be like, our foster carer N* has shared her experience of her first Christmas period as a foster carer. N joined the Focus Foster Care family in July, she has two daughters who live at home and is currently a foster carer for one child.

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Anti-bullying week 2020 – United against bullying.

This week is Anti-bullying week, an event organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance. Anti-bullying week aims to address the issue of bullying and provide support, information and guidance for schools, parents, cares and children.

The theme this year is United Against Bullying and the week began with Odd Socks Day, an opportunity for children to celebrate their differences and individualism.

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What to expect from an initial visit with a social worker to discuss becoming a foster carer.

The first step to becoming a foster carer with our independent fostering agency is getting in contact with our team. You can either phone Focus Foster Care on 0800 524 4797 or email admin@focusfostercare.com . Following a conversation with a member of our team, if you continue to be interested in fostering, the next step would be for an initial visit at your home to take place. If you would like to be prepared for what is to come during this very early yet important stage of your fostering journey, we have answered some frequently asked questions about the first visit with a social worker in this post. Big life changes and decisions are often accompanied with some anxiety, we hope this post puts your mind at rest and helps you to feel prepared to confidently take your first step into life as a foster carer.

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Half term at home – 10 children’s activities to do at home during the holidays

It is half term and with many of the usual holiday activities now being off limits in several areas due to coronavirus restrictions, we wanted to share some ideas for ways you can have fun at home as a family. You may not be able to do all the things you had planned, or go to the places you wanted to go with the children this week, but there are still lots of fun activities that will keep the whole family busy this half term. Here are ten ideas to get you started…

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Celebrating children in foster care

The school half term is here and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing achievements our children in care and foster carers have made since September. This academic year the return to school has been an anxious time, the children have had lots of new rules and guidelines to follow and parents and carers have also had to adjust to the new ways of school life. It has not been easy for anyone, but this pandemic has been especially difficult for vulnerable children and families. It is truly inspiring to see the children achieving and learning so much and demonstrating just how resilient they can be.

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Coronavirus update – what is happening at Focus Foster Care

With new restrictions now in place and many local cities and counties being placed into lockdown, we felt now was an appropriate time to update everyone on what is happening at Focus Foster Care. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all, however, vulnerable families and children have been significantly affected. The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the national lockdown has resulted in the fostering sector becoming very busy as the year has progressed.

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Fostering a child with Focus Foster Care – an interview with our foster carer, W

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer there is a wealth of information about fostering available online. You can find information from fostering organisations like Barnado’s and The Fostering Network and also talk to your Local Authority or the team at an independent fostering agency near you. Social workers and fostering organisations and charities can provide you with lots of information on fostering but the best way to get an insight into what life as a foster carer is really like is to talk to a foster carer. Each child is different and no fostering experience is the same, but speaking to someone who is currently fostering children or has done in the past will help you form a more realistic picture of what a career in fostering is like. One of our foster carers, W, has been fostering for six and a half years and has shared her experiences and advice for new foster carers in this post. If you are considering a career in fostering, we hope this interview is useful and informative.

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Meet the team – Honey the dog

Welcome back to a very special edition of our Meet the Team blog feature. The Meet the Team blog posts are here to give people a chance to get to know the Focus Foster Care team a bit better and to learn more about what everyone’s jobs here and what makes our independent fostering agency special. Our latest addition to the team is probably not who you are expecting…

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Hundreds of children are still waiting for their ‘new normal. to begin – how to help vulnerable children in your local area

This week children across the country will be returning to school to start the new academic year. The return to school this September will be unlike any new school year teachers, students, parents and carers have ever experienced before. Getting back to the classroom in the midst of a pandemic is understandingly going to be an anxious time for everyone. It is going to take children and adults a little while to adjust to all the Covid guidelines and teachers and students alike are at the base of a steep learning curve. Over the following weeks and months, hopefully everyone will begin to grow in confidence and will adapt to this new normal. Whilst families and school staff begin their new school life in these unprecedented circumstances, there are hundreds of children waiting for their ‘new normal’ to begin. It is important that children currently in the care system or living in ‘at risk’ family settings are not forgotten about as the rest of the population try to get some resemblance of routine back. As we all march head on into our new normal, ready to do all we can to keep Coronavirus at bay, there are children all over the country waiting for their new normal to begin.

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