Walking Tall

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The Fostering Network was awarded funding by the Big Lottery Fund, to support Walking Tall, a two-year project which aims to provide opportunities for primary school aged children in foster care and the children of foster carers that make their voices heard and enable them to reach their full potential - to help them 'walk tall'.

Walking Tall is one of a number of innovative programmes that The Fostering Network runs to improve foster care and outcomes for fostered children and young people. 

For more information about Walking Tall email Sarah McEnhill.

For media enquiries email The Fostering Network’s media team or ring 020 7620 6441.

About Walking Tall

The Fostering Network in Scotland received funding from the Big Lottery Fund for a two-year project named Walking Tall. The aim was to consult primary school-aged children on their thoughts about living in foster care. This included both children in foster care as well as the sons and daughters of foster carers. A children’s participation worker was appointed to co-ordinate the workshops and to work alongside a steering group of volunteers to create an activity book. A disability inclusion co-ordinator was also appointed for six months to make sure that children and young people with disabilities also have the opportunity to have their views heard especially in relation to their care, and that if anything is preventing them from taking part in decisions about their care that this is known.

The Fostering Network is passionate about including children and young people and creating opportunities for them to have their say. Through this project we tried hard to hear the voices of children who know first-hand what it is like to live in a fostering household and who have views on how this experience might be better. We then worked with our steering group to make sure these views were used to create an activity book. The youngest member of the group was aged five and the group met every few months to help ensure that the project was staying on track. One of the children told us, ‘It’s the only thing I will miss gymnastics for!’. We all agreed that we wanted to create something that would help support foster carers, and most importantly would help improve opportunities for children living in fostering households. We also wanted to provide some guidance for fostering services from a child’s point of view. 

To gather the voices of children we held eight workshops across central Scotland for primary-school aged children. The workshops included movement, play, arts and drama and we used different activities to make sure that everybody who took part was able to be asked their views and experiences in a fun and safe way. 

Our disability inclusion co-ordinator went out and about across the country, meeting up with foster carers and children to hear from them what some of the day to day challenges and are, and how they have come up with ways of working through some of these challenges.

The final part of the project involved making reports and sharing the information that was gathered through the workshops. We made: 

  • An activity and discussion book for children and foster carers to talk about fostering and what it means to children (see below). 
  • A poster for children highlighting some of the key messages from the project (see below).
  • A training course for staff working in fostering services as well as for foster carers about how they can also run workshops using the activities we used at the Walking Tall workshops (see below).
  • A report, summarising the workshops and containing recommendations identified by the children.
  • A report for adults about the challenges shared by foster carers and children with complex disabilities.
     
You can also listen to this podcast about Walking Tall which includes some of the steering group members talking about why the project was so important to them. 
 

Walking Tall resources for children

Walking Tall training workshop

Our Walking Tall training workshop aims to enable foster carers and social workers to more effectively consult with children and young people. Using interactive activities, the session will encourage participants to think through how they can adopt a more participative approach when working with children and young people and will highlight the importance of co-production – working side by side with young people – to empower children to share their views and be heard.

Contact joy.crawford@fostering.net for more information.

 

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