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How to help a child suffering with anxiety

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in growing levels of anxiety and poor mental wellbeing amongst the population. With news reports available for consumption 24 hours a day and phrases like ‘death toll’ and ‘global crisis’ and ‘infections rates’ appearing frequently in article headlines, it Is no wonder anxiety levels in adults are beginning to soar. However, as adults we are able to have an understanding of what is happening in the world and why our daily lives have had to change so drastically over the last few months. For children, the pandemic has turned their whole lives upside down and they may be finding it difficult to understand and deal with all the changes. Several changes have been made to our daily lives that can trigger anxiety in children and young people: wearing masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing, the constant stream of bad news. Whilst as adults we might understand these measures and restrictions have been put in place to keep us safe, children may find this new way of life a bit scary and hard to adjust to. Pandemic aside, looked after children in foster care can face mental health issues and anxiety, triggered by factors like emotional trauma and living situations changing frequently and unexpectedly. Anxiety can make daily life feel challenging and overwhelming, it is important that parents and carers help children to learn how to cope with and overcome their anxieties. In this blog post we are sharing 5 useful things carers and parents can do to help their children who may be suffering with anxiety.

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More foster carers are urgently needed post lockdown

Children’s charity Baranado’s recently revealed that the number of children being referred for foster care increased by 44% during the coronavirus lockdown. The Fostering Network had previously stated that over seven thousand more foster carers were needed in 2020 to meet the growing demand for foster homes in the UK, this was before the pandemic even began. Barando’s also found that the number of people applying to foster during the pandemic dropped dramatically, by approximately 40%. At a time when more children were needing a safe and supportive foster family, less people were enquiring into fostering.  As a result of the surge in children needing a foster home and the already desperate need for more people to foster, the fostering sector is now in a state of emergency. Vulnerable children across the UK coming into the care system need a supportive and loving foster carer now more than ever. We need more people with a genuine passion to help children through difficult periods in their lives to seriously consider fostering as a career choice. More foster carers are urgently needed post lockdown, could you help a child in need?

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Welcoming LGBT+ people to join our fostering agency

Focus Foster Care is a supportive and nurturing independent fostering agency. Our registered office is based at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire but we look after children from across the West and East Midlands and surrounding regions, with foster carers who live across these areas. We are excited about the opportunity to expand our existing team of dedicated foster carers who are committed to changing the lives of the children and young people they look after. Could this be you? To celebrate Pride month, we want to make members of the LGBT+ community aware that they are welcome to make an enquiry into joining out team of foster carers.

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Introducing our superhero drawing competition winners.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world and here in the UK lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased, as a country we are more grateful than ever for our everyday heroes. The weekly applause may have stopped but key workers and NHS staff are still greatly appreciated and we all remain thankful for all the hard work they do. Foster Carers have been heroes during this pandemic and are during more normal times too. Foster carers help children get through some of the most difficult and traumatic times of their lives and help to give them the opportunity of a happier and brighter future. Foster carers can help biological families stay together in the long term and help children by providing a safe and loving environment.

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Advice from an experienced foster carer for people new to fostering

At Focus Foster Care we have an inspirational couple who have been fostering for over 40 years, R&J. They have fostered for local authorities as well as independent agencies and have been working for Focus Foster Care since our 1agency was first established in 2017. When it comes to sharing advice and giving an insight into what life as a foster carer is really like, R&J were the perfect people to ask to share their wisdom. Whilst all children are different and no placement will be the same as the last, there is a lot to be learnt from people who have been fostering for several years. R&J have cared for over 100 children, including two of their own biological children, and have supported children and young people from many different backgrounds and family circumstances. R has shared seven pieces of important advice for new foster carers and for people thinking about pursuing a career in fostering. We hope this insight into life as a foster carer helps people thinking about fostering to understand more what it is really like….

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The lessons lockdown is teaching children and young people – not all learning takes place at a desk

It has been over a month since schools across the UK closed and parents and carers were given the task of educating their children at home. Whilst many parents may be thriving in their new role as teacher and their children responding well to the change from classroom to kitchen table, other families may be struggling.

The pandemic has changed so many aspects of daily life in such a short space of time and people looking after children are now being asked to do more than ever before. Parents must now juggle working from home alongside caring for and educating their children, all whilst dealing with the anxiety and stress that comes with living through a global crisis. The pressure and expectation to ‘do it all’ can be overwhelming and many carers and parents may feel as though they are not doing enough to educate their children at home. It is important for everyone to remember that children will find it difficult to learn in a stressful environment and anxious and overwhelmed parents do not make for the best of teachers. It is equally vital that parents do not put added pressure on themselves during this time and only do as much home schooling as they can without negatively impacting their own and their children’s mental health. Home should be a safe and happy space and the last thing children and their care givers need right now is to be arguing over school work

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The fostering sector, Coronavirus and lockdown.

Coronavirus has changed the lives of millions of people across the world. Be it through contracting the infection, unemployment or the loss of normality and freedom through lockdown, people everywhere are being affected in many ways because of the pandemic. In the fostering sector, we are managing changes in the way we deliver our services due to the strict restrictions and guidelines put in place by the government to keep the population safe. For children in care and those living with foster families, the pandemic has caused many different challenges. At Focus Foster Care, our team, our carers and the children’s services we work alongside have all had to adapt so children are still being given the best care, their mental wellbeing continues to be protected, their learning promoted and everyone is being kept as safe as possible from Covid-19.

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Why choose Focus Foster Care – benefits of fostering with our independent fostering agency

There are many things to consider when enquiring into fostering but one of the most important decisions is choosing who to foster for. Local Authorities (LA) assess and approve foster carers through the council to look after children needing homes in that specific local area. Independent fostering agencies (IFA), like Focus Foster Care, recruit, assess and approve people from various areas and work closely with several local children’s services to find the best placements for children. Focus Foster Care is an independent fostering agency helping children from many different villages, towns and cities in the West and East Midlands and surrounding areas. However, we are not the only Independent Fostering Agency in this area, so why should you choose to join our family of foster carers and not foster with a different agency? This blog post highlights the reasons to choose Focus Foster Care if you are considering a career in fostering

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Meet the team – Ilfa Duale, family support worker

It is time for the latest edition of ‘Meet the team’. This is a regular blog feature where you have the opportunity to get to know a member of our team a little better. Focus Foster Care is one big family and we want you to feel comfortable and at ease when contacting us for the first time. We hope our ‘Meet the team’ posts will help you to get to know everyone at Focus Foster Care on a more personal level and encourage you to find out how you can join our family too. So far our registered manager, social worker, office administrator and supervising social worker have all been under the spotlight. Today it is Ilfa’s turn to introduce herself. Take it away Ilfa..

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Coronavirus and the wellbeing of looked after children – advice for foster families

Life as a child being looked after away from home can be full of anxiety and uncertainty. A child may feel like what happens with their lives is out of their control and moving away from their birth families (even if just temporarily) can be a really scary time. With the current Coronavirus pandemic taking over our lives, I am sure many of us feel similar to these children right now: scared, anxious and overwhelmed. We wanted to write a short post today to update you on what is happening at Focus Foster Care during the Coronavirus outbreak and to share important information on how this crisis will likely impact on looked after children. We hope everyone is keeping safe and would like to remind our foster carers we are still available on the phone any time you need us.

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