Fostering Community Champions in Scotland is an exciting four-year project, which started in 2014, that aims to improve the outcomes of children in care by reducing the isolation experienced by many foster carers and helping young people to use their experience of foster care in a positive and meaningful way.
During the project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, we are training and supporting 48 volunteers which will include 36 foster carers and 12 young people.
Fostering Community Champions is one of a number of innovative programmes that The Fostering Network runs to improve foster care and outcomes for fostered young people.
For more information about Fostering Community Champions email Sarah McEnhill
For media enquiries email The Fostering Network’s media team or phone 020 7620 6425.
Foster carer champions
This exciting project offers a unique service to foster carers in Scotland.
Foster carer champions are experienced foster carers with an excellent ability to listen to and support carers who may be experiencing problems or just need some one to talk to. Champions have expertise in a wide variety of areas, such as:
- responding to challenging behaviour
- facing allegations
- caring for a children born with complex needs
- managing transitions
- addressing tension between carers and professionals.
Foster carer champions have received training and ongoing support from The Fostering Network to assist them in their role and embrace ongoing opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills. These champions support foster carers throughout Scotland via phone or email.
Foster carer champions have also been involved with focus groups and research projects to help improve fostering as a whole, as well as supporting the development of training on positive contact which we will be rolling out shortly.
Foster carers often feel isolated and cannot always talk to someone about the struggles they are going through, the champions project bridges this gap, matching carers to give them the opportunity to talk through issues they are facing. Supporting carers in this way will reduce stress faced by carers and improve services, therefore benefitting children and young people. The support delivered by foster carer champions to newly approved foster carers has meant that new carers have had an improved initial experience of foster care.
If you want to know more about foster carer champions or need support please call us on 0141 204 1400.
Young champions are young people aged between 15 and 22 who have lived in a fostering household. Our young champions have taken part in a range of activities to support young people across Scotland, including:
- Writing and delivering training for foster carers.
- Presenting and facilitating conferences and national events.
- Working alongside partner agencies such as CELCIS, the Children’s Commissioner Scotland and the Independent Care Review.
- Producing short films, writing blogs and articles for national publications.
- Appearing on national radio interviews.
The young champions have been trained in public speaking, media training and have completed online courses to enhance their skills, confidence and future opportunities.
Towards the end of 2016, the young champions made a film 'Give Me a Chance' to highlight the challenges children and young people can face in everyday life when placed into care. The film was launched at the Scottish Parliament and has since been viewed across the UK and as far afield as Australia!
The Fostering Community Champions project is coming to an end after four years. Throughout this time our young champions have been sharing their personal experiences and advice throughout Scotland, on how to improve foster care for children and young people and addressing the stigma often faced by those growing up in foster families. The young champions feel the opportunities they have had to speak with key decision makers have made a significant difference to the fostering landscape and they are passionate that other young people should have similar platforms. Young people are the experts in their experiences and they should be actively involved in the decisions affecting them.
There are several ways you can get involved in our Fostering Community Champions project.
Foster carers and young people
- Receive support from one of the champions.
Become a champion yourself.
- Refer a foster carer, young person or foster family for support.
- Encourage suitable foster families in your area to become champions.
Invite a young champion to speak at your event.
For more information email Sarah McEnhill.