We are really excited to be training with Mary-Anne Hodd this month!
We will be doing her session ‘Let’s talk about words’.
She can be found at https://www.maryannehodd.co.uk/ which will tell you more about Mary-Anne’s work around language, hearing the voice of the child and making positive changes.
We have already been thinking a lot about the language we use surrounding foster care and are wanting to make sure that children living with our families feel at home, rather than having to hear some of the words which professionals have traditionally used, such as ‘placement’, which feels like it depicts the system rather than a home.
I look forward to telling you how our training with Mary-Anne goes and about some more of the changes we all decide to make……
June started with our family day, in the same week as the Queen’s Jubilee. Of course, our bake-off, which took place in a real professional kitchen, was appropriately themed, using red, white and blue icing!
After lunch, children and some of the adults had a go at a martial arts/self-defence taster class and foster carers were treated to a relaxation session.
All in all, a great day!
Asa has been planning other family fun days for the summer holidays and everyone is pleased that there will be a BBQ and picnic on at least one of these days.
Soundly’s families are growing. Our panel met on the 20th of June, with the joyful task of recommending approval for new foster carers.
They were welcomed by everyone when we met recently and given advice and support, just in time for the children who are about to come and live with them.
Having attended our panel, seven fostering families have joined us this month.
We are so excited and have been planning for them already.
Our first support group, with our new families, will take place this week. We will be asking them what would feel supportive and how they would like future groups to run. Foster carer Peter, has already suggested that we start to invite people who are interested in fostering, to join part of our support groups and meet other carers. We think that’s a great idea!
Gemma and Asa, joined our staff team at the beginning of this month. They are both excited to be working as part of a small and personalised fostering Agency.
Asa has been busy planning our first family activity day for June and speaking to all of our families.
Gemma has been writing the newsletter for all of the children who have joined Soundly Fostering and will ask them about what they would like to hear about in future issues. She is also visiting and getting to know our new families.
When speaking to foster carer Sarah recently, she said: ‘fostering is all about relationships’. This made us think about the fact that so much has been virtual and online during the pandemic and how we meet with people.
We thought it would be great to make ourselves available to speak and connect with people personally, in all of the areas we cover.
We are starting in our office location in Norfolk, by having coffee/tea and chat mornings in the Engine Room Café, situated in the Charles Burrell Centre, on the first Tuesday of every month.
Please feel free to join us for the first of these mornings on Tuesday 5th April, between 9:30-11:30am.
It’s been a busy month!
Our first preparation to foster training took place in March, facilitated by Jenna, an experienced fostering referrals coordinator and social worker.
Some of the topics included were: heritage and identity, the role of the foster carer and fostering agency and how the team around the child works.
Two of the families who attended, are now well underway with their assessments and we hope that they will be approved to foster by June.
Foster carers transferring to us, have also been meeting with us and reflecting on life as a fostering family.
It has been great to look back on their journey, and an opportunity for us to learn exactly how we can support them, once they have joined Soundly. Reports have been prepared and the families are ready to attend our panel.
In preparation of our first panel in April, all of our Panel members attended training. They were able to meet each other and find out more about their different professions and the knowledge their backgrounds can bring to the process.
They tell us they are excited to meet the first families coming to Soundly Fostering.
This month has seen a big shout out to recruiting carers across Essex and Norfolk. We have been meeting with lovely people, new to fostering and wanting to make a difference, as well as carers wanting to transfer to us from larger agencies.
We are delighted to have several families in assessment.
They tell us that they have chosen us because:
• we are small and offer a personalised service which will recognise them as individuals
• the support we have already given them, feels bespoke and personal to them
• they would like to be part of an agency which is not corporate and which allows for new ideas.
• of the personal connections with our team
• our focus on the importance of everyone in the household.
Our links with the surrounding Local Authorities have been growing too. They have been asking about our families and are keen that we let them know as soon as they are ready to welcome children.
Last week, the long-awaited Ofsted registration visit happened. We were pleased to be able to demonstrate and talk through everything that is in place and ready for carers and children to join Soundly Fostering.
Ofsted have granted our Registration.
We are open!
Joy and Kat are so excited that the next part of our journey, will be made together with those of you who share our aim of providing loving homes and opportunities for children.
We have been delighted to start the New Year so positively, with lots of people engaging in our social media posts and looking at the website. Feedback has been really enthusiastic and some of you have already picked up the phone and had some conversations, expressing your interest of joining us as carers, once we are fully open.
It’s definitely not too early to pick up the phone!
This month we are preparing the last bits for our Ofsted registration visit, making sure that the final policies and documents are in place and that they meet with the Inspector’s approval. We will let you know as soon as we are officially open.
Some of our panel members will be attending training together this month and getting to know each other. Meanwhile, Joy and Kat are continuing to have varied and positive conversations with people and services that could help support the Agency and work together cooperatively.
We attended a conference on developmental trauma and neurodevelopmental disorders and completed some more interviews for panel members and Independent social workers. We are excited that our team is growing.
Kat and Joy then met with a wonderful play therapist, who explained the use of sand in her sessions, saying that sand is always special and has the effect of allowing children to tell their story and feel safe.
Yesterday, Ofsted let us know that they will visit in January, so it has been a full and exciting week!
We are currently looking for people with a background in health or police, to join our fostering panel.