So now we can go to Primark! Ok it’s not the destination of choice for some, but it is an important development as a society, learning how we are to behave in the new normal; with social distancing being tested in the wider context in our high streets, and people encouraged to, and in turn being accepting of, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). We at Affinity have been continuing to review the government’s guidance, advice and actions, and we will now be offering all our foster carers face to face supervisions with your Affinity Supervising Social Workers from next week – more information on this is below. This is an important stepping-stone in our progress towards restoring our service to its’ full capacity.
We will continue other aspects of our service, which include larger numbers of us coming together, such as support groups and training, via virtual means to ensure we keep you all as a group, our young people and Affinity generally, safe from any large break out of the virus. These measures will remain in place for some months to come until we can safely come together again, whilst abiding by future government advice. I am looking forward to that day, in the knowledge that the measures now slowly being introduced, brings those days one step ever closer.
Andy Robins, Assistant Director.
We are pleased to announce that our Supervising Social Workers will begin to conduct face to face supervisions again from Monday the 22nd June. We have prepared for this by following government guidelines and have issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all our Supervising Social Workers to help continue to keep them, and you all safe. This does not mean you have to now have face to face supervisions – this will be a conversation between you and your Supervising Social Worker in the first instance to assess your preference and risks, and continuing to have virtual supervisions are entirely acceptable at this time. If you would like face to face supervision, our Supervising Social Workers have access to nitrile gloves, face masks, as well as sanitiser and wipes to reduce risks where considered and necessary, along with ensuring social distancing measures are consistently adhered to. I know many of you will be looking forward to seeing your supervising social worker, and we are very happy we can now provide this to you.
The referrals team have had one of our busiest weeks last week, the number of referrals coming through now are exceptionally high, with lots of sibling groups and parent and child placements in particular. We continue to make placements, with a sibling group of three currently settling in with our new carers. We as an agency continue to be particularly full at present; with all placements now being considered as placing alongside the matching process has to be diligently considered. We are still making placements and continue to work closely with our local authority partners to ensure the best matches are made.
We are also extremely happy to report another week with no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus either in the staff team, foster carers or young people. Social distancing and hygiene continue to be prioritised by us all, and hopefully this will continue to keep us all safe.
As highlighted above, we are extremely busy at the moment with referrals and young people desperately needing a foster home. Most of our foster carers are full, and we desperately need more foster carers. Over the last few months, we have some new carers join us, but also some leave to retire. If you know anyone who is interested in fostering, please do point them in our direction. Please do continue to support us and keep new carers coming through.
Our virtual Mental Health Training begins this week, with our first session being conducted this morning. Feedback is already starting to come in which is really positive, so please ensure you do attend on your session and feedback what you thought about the training, especially in the virtual format.
Black Lives Matter protests are consistently in the news recently, whether in the US, UK or other parts of the world, and these global sentiments are certainly applicable in the UK’s social care and fostering sector too, where research has shown that black and minority ethnic children are overrepresented in the care system.
Helping a black child to understand and feel positive about their cultural identity is crucial in enabling them to develop into an emotionally healthy adult.
Identity is important for all children but is particularly crucial for black and minority ethnic children placed in foster care. Black or mixed heritage children may be placed with black or white foster carers and so foster carers need to think about what they can put in place to help the child with their identity as soon as possible.
Fosterline has put together an incredibly useful pack for foster carers, called “Caring for Black and Mixed Heritage Children”. The link for this is here and the pack is attached to this newsletter, here. This includes aspects for foster carers to understand how to support the child and has a range of useful links and further resources.
The Huffpost (an online magazine) also has a useful article, entitled “How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race”. This age by age guide aimed towards white parents with white children, helps to address how to broach the sensitive issues that have been brought to the forefront of society in recent events and covers such as addressing racism and privilege with their children.
Huffpost also have a list of 10 children’s books about racism and activism which can be used to help further educate young people. It is a hard topic to raise with children, but the article suggests that colour blindness and silence do not work, and so although difficult, some of the books suggested can help guide the conversation and help answer inevitable questions your young people may have. Click this link below to find out more.
Some fabulous content you may have missed over the last week include a live feed from the Wildwood Trust, the latest FosterTalk newsletter and PADI colouring pages on our facebook page and links from Remus Horse Sanctuary and FosterTalk on our Twitter feed. So don’t miss out, give us a follow or a like.