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Providing brighter futures for children and young people in ... - TACT

Providing brighter futures for children and young people in ... - TACT

10 5. The services we

10 5. The services we provide: fostering and adoption Additional services we provide for both fostering and adoption: Consultancy The Adolescent and Children’s Trust has now been providing fostering services since 1992 and adoption services since 2005. We have developed considerable expertise in providing these to over 70 local authorities through, spot purchase, approved and preferred provider commissioning arrangements. As the largest charity provider of fostering and adoption services and all offices at an outstanding or good inspection ranking we believe we have a range of good practice we can share with local authorities who may be seeking to develop or improve their own fostering and adoption services. In addition, our staff and management teams have additional expertise in working with looked after children, participation, consultation and permanency planning. In 2007 we worked with a partner charity, Shaftesbury Young People, in delivering a core contract with Serco to improve looked after children services in Stoke. Our involvement was positively commented on in their Ofsted report. Our work included a detailed permanency planning and file audit, commissioning and contracting advice alongside other work streams. For more information about our consultancy services, email enquiries@tactcare.org.uk or call 020 8695 8142 Foetally Affected Children Services (FACS) With our recent joining together with Parents for Children (PfC) we are now able to offer both consultancy and training in the area of foetally alcohol affected children. This can be through a defined training module for social workers, foster carers, adoption panel etc as well as individual training to specific carers who may be looking after a child with this condition. The FACS team consists of a team of social workers, psychologist and support worker employed by TACT and supported by external experts including a consultant paediatrician, play therapist, speech therapist. They can provide a range of expert advice, consultancy, assessment and training. Many children being referred for family finding for adoption have care histories where the birth mother have used alcohol and or other drugs. This can lead to significant potential consequences for adoptive parents making decisions about future care needs of children. It also raises issues about children currently within the care system who may not be receiving appropriate services because of the lack of understanding of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD) as a potential diagnosis for their behaviour, difficulties in learning and social development. In our view anyone working with looked after children, fostering or adoption should be aware of the issues involved in maternal drug misuse and the impact of this on foetal development and consequences for future care planning. If you would like more information about FACS or would be interested in our training seminars, please contact Jacqui Le Vaillant, our FACS Project Manager, on 020 8475 7116 or j.vaillant@tactcare.org.uk.

11 6. A voice for children in care TACT - Providing brighter futures for children and young people in care “I was really scared before I was fostered. […] Then, I became a TACT foster child and I really like where I am living because they [my foster carers] help me with lots of different things and they take me on holidays when they don’t have to.” Nicola at the Abergavenny RFC Mini/Junior Rugby festival, 2-3 May 2009 TACT’s core remit is providing fostering and adoption services. However, we also campaign on behalf of children in care, carers and families. We are always keen to hear the views and opinions of our carers and the young people in their care. Their stories and experiences can help us push for change with policy makers and raise the profile of care in the media. To be able to speak authoritatively on such issues requires regular contact with carers and young people. Children and young people in care frequently find themselves the subject of negative statistics both in care and once they have left. We know that they are more likely to become unemployed, to underachieve at school, to become homeless, to receive a custodial sentence from a criminal court or have their own children taken into the care system. These children will often have had an appalling start to life. Around 70 per cent will have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. Yet, when they leave care, they will be without the family support that many of us take for granted as young adults. While these statistics can make depressing reading, there are many success stories of young people doing well after leaving care. The outcomes for young people in TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust) care are much better than for those in the care system generally. For example, 98% go to school regularly while only 8% between 16 and 18 are not at work, in training or at college. There are many reasons why TACT achieves these results. We believe that success flows from finding settled and secure foster homes or adoptive families, from recruiting foster carers with high expectations for those they look after and from working hard to prepare young people for leaving care. Parliament is responsible for creating the legislative framework in which the care system operates. The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 allowed local authorities to extend care leaving services until 21 and 24 in occasional circumstances. This would mean allowing extra provision for the often difficult years of early adulthood. While this does mean extra initial cost, the long term would see this cost dwarfed by the potential societal and financial savings.

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