News - April 2022Foster Care Fortnight 2022 - Keep children within their communities: Urgent call for more foster carers in Knowsley
Too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities, and sibling groups are separated. This warning comes from the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, joined by Knowsley Council. This issue is highlighted during Foster Care FortnightTM which takes place 9th-22nd May, the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.
This year's theme for Foster Care FortnightTM is #FosteringCommunities. Foster care is at the heart of our communities, enabling children to stay with foster families, local to everything they are familiar with already. Foster care provides vital care to children and young people in all our communities. Foster carers also support each other and share skills and expertise.
In Knowsley there are over 300 children looked after, and the number of children coming into care keeps rising. More fostering households are needed to make sure every child that can’t live with their own family gets the care they need and are well supported within their community. The reasons children become looked after vary widely, including a parent’s illness or another problem which means they can’t be cared for by their own family. Some children may have witnessed domestic violence or drug abuse, and others may have been abused or neglected. Some foster families look after children on a short-term basis, but for many, fostering offers them a secure, permanent home. Foster carers in Knowsley provide support and care in a family setting and enable children to stay in their local community with everything that is familiar to them. This minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with other family members.
This Foster Care Fortnight, we want to celebrate the strength and resilience of fostering communities, and all they do to ensure children are cared for and supported to thrive. In Knowsley, we’ve got lots planned over the next two weeks and the team will be out and about in the borough during Foster Care Fortnight with information about how to become a foster carer, and whether it could be right for you. If you think you have the relevant skills and experience, we're calling on you to consider becoming foster carers so that you can join our community and become a part of the biggest family in the Knowsley… our fostering family.
You can come and chat to Knowsley’s Fostering Team on the following days:
Come and Meet the Fostering Team at Huyton Town Centre Monday 9th May, 10am – 2pm
Fostering Information Drop in at Stockbridge Village Library Tuesday 10th May, 2pm - 4pm
Fostering Information Drop in at Prescot Library Thursday 12th May, 10am – 12noon
Fostering Information Drop in at Huyton Library Monday 16th May, 12noon – 2pm
Fostering Information Drop in at Halewood Library Thursday 19th May, 10am-12noon
Fostering Information Drop in at Kirkby Library Saturday 21st May, 10am – 12noon
You can also find out more from the comfort of your own home and join the team at one of their Information Event Webinars on Wednesday 11th May, 6-7pm and Wednesday 18th May, 6-7pm. You can also get in touch by calling 0151 443 3959 or visit https://fostering.knowsley.gov.uk
News - March 2022Knowsley Council increase foster carer skills payments by 7.5% March 21, 2022
Knowsley Council have announced an uplift in the skills payment paid to their in-house foster carers of 7.5%. The skills payment boost will deliver increased financial support to Knowsley foster carers.
The overarching aim of the increase is to support the recruitment and retention of Knowsley foster carers during a national shortage of suitable carers. It also supports the council’s strategic aim of placing children in local fostering placements as close as possible to their home, school, and support networks.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Knowsley Council recognises and values it’s foster carers. They do a remarkable job every day ensuring some of our borough’s most vulnerable children are safe, cared for, supported, and loved. “The uplift in the skills payment acknowledges the challenging role and the commitment of these individuals and families. It also recognises the unique nature of the skills needed and acquired to foster. We also want to ensure that we are offering a competitive payment scheme that supports the recruitment and retention of in-house foster carers.”
Foster carers make a significant difference in the lives of fostered children and young people, helping them to flourish and achieve their full potential. There is an increasing need for more foster carers in Knowsley to care for children of all ages.
Fostering offers children and young people a home when they are unable to live with their own family. Sometimes children stay with a fostering family for a few days, while others can live with foster carers on a permanent basis.
Both types of fostering provide children and young people with a safe and loving home in what is a really difficult time for them. By fostering with Knowsley Council, you will receive 24 hour support 7 days a week, specialised training, and you can be sure that you’re helping children and young people in your community who need you most.
If you would like to find out more about Fostering for Knowsley, please visit the Foster for Knowsley website, or call 0151 443 3958.
News - March 2022Foster with your local authority in the Liverpool City Region
The hunt is on for more foster carers to look after children in the Liverpool City Region as part of a region-wide recruitment campaign.
Knowsley, Liverpool, St.Helensand Sefton Councils have joined forces to raise awareness about fostering with your local authority.They will be holding a joint virtual recruitment event on Tuesday 1st March at 6pm via zoom which means you can find out more about fostering without evenleaving your home.
The Fostering Network identified a need for at least 7,300 new foster families in England this year.Applications to foster children and young people has declined significantly throughout the region since the start of the pandemic, yet there are nearly 3000 children looked after across the four authorities, which is why the need to find safe and loving homes for some of the most vulnerable children in our regionis more important than ever before.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Right across the Liverpool City Region, foster carers are needed to help look after children at the time when they need it most. Our foster carers tell us again and again what an incredibly rewarding role it is. It’s also incredibly flexible – there are lots of different types of carers. So, if fostering is something you’ve been thinking about for a while, now might be the right time to go ahead. And when you foster for your local authority, you know you’ll get the right support and the training you need.”
Fostering is so flexible and there are lots of different roles available to suit you and your family. You don’t need any special skills or qualifications, fostercarers don’t need superpowers, they just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.If you are interested in fostering,then your Local Authority is the best place to find out moreas you will benefit from thesupport and training they provide. Securing a stable home environment for foster children is vital if they are to have the best chances in life and realise their ambitions.”
The event on Tuesday 1st March will be anopportunity to learn about the process, benefits, support and training available when fostering with your Local Authority.
There will also be the opportunity to listen and chat to anexperienced foster carer who will share their experiences of what fostering is like on a day-to-day basis and reveal why they are so passionate about caring for local children as part of a local authority team.
For more information about the event please visit https://fostering.knowsley.gov.uk/Home/Event_Zoom_20220301 or call 0151 443 3958
News - February 2022E-Scooters and the Law
You can view information about E-Scooters and the Law by clicking here
News - March 2021A step-by-step guide to the fostering process
On average, it takes 3 – 6 months from your enquiry to becoming a foster carer. This can be different for everyone but it generally follows the steps below and starts in the same way – with you getting in touch so we know you’re interested! This way we can answer any questions you have and advise you on how to get started.
7 steps to becoming a foster carer
- Submit your enquiry online or over the phone. In the next few days, we will call you back to answer your questions about fostering and find out a bit more about you.
- If you’re ready to get started, we’ll ask you to fill out an application form.
- One of our experienced fostering social workers will visit you in your home. They’ll be able to offer advice on the types of fostering placements that would work for you. They’ll also ask you some questions, check your home to make sure there’s nothing that would be a danger to a child and answer any questions you have.
- You’ll join us on the Skills to Foster training course. Usually, the course is delivered face-to-face but at the moment we’re holding it virtually. Skills to Foster gives you an idea of some of the scenarios you may come across as a foster carer and how to respond to them. It’s a great introduction to foster care.
- You’ll now be ready to start the assessment to become a foster carer! This is called a Form F assessment and is the longest stage in the process. One of our social workers will work with you to gather different references and build up a portfolio to show you’ll make a great foster carer! This includes background checks, character references and weekly meetings with your social worker to talk about things like your experience of caring for children and why you’d like to foster.
- When you’ve got everything together, you’ll be able to go to the fostering panel, who will make the decision as to whether you’re ready to become a foster carer, or advise on anything else you need to do first (but our social workers will make sure you’re ready to be approved before you go to the panel!)
- Welcome to the team! Once you’re approved, you’ll have your own social worker to support you as well as someone to contact 24/7, so you’ll never be on your own. You’ll have lots of training to choose from so you can carry out your new role as foster carer with confidence and will receive a financial reward for fostering to help you commit to your new role.
News - February 2021Fostering as a same-sex couple.
We know that there are still myths held around whether you can foster as a same-sex couple. The fact is, yes you can! This month, we chat to Jackie and Karolina, who have been fostering with us for almost a year now, about their fostering experience.
Hi Jackie and Karolina! Thanks for joining us today. What was it that made you decide you wanted to be foster carers?
We decided to foster for a number of reasons. We’re a same-sex couple as so it’s not as easy to have our own children. We also faced our own challenges when we were growing up and wanted to help children that may have had a similar upbringing.
What was the process to becoming a foster carer like?
The process is lengthy and thorough but it’s worth it. When we first thought about fostering, we were worried that it may not be easy for us, being a same-sex couple. However this wasn’t the case at all – it really didn’t make a difference – what was most important was that we could offer a safe, secure and loving home.
That is the most important thing! How have you found being a foster carer?
We’ve had both amazing times and very challenging times as foster carers. It’s so rewarding, when you see how far the children have come on in the time you have spent with them. We also have very supportive social workers. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of fostering?
Our advice to anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer is to make sure you understand what is required of you and be prepared for plenty of meetings when you first take a child! We have found it very rewarding and wouldn’t change what we do.
Thanks Jackie and Karolina! If you’d like to find out more about fostering, click here to contact us.
News - January 2021What’s it like to be a foster carer during a pandemic?
Happy New Year - we’re glad to finally be able to look back at 2020 and hope 2021 will be much more positive. Last year really threw some challenges at all of us – no less foster carers. We caught up with Rita, one of our foster carers, to hear about the challenges she faced being a foster carer during the pandemic.
Hi Rita! Thanks so much for joining us today. So, what do you feel was the biggest challenge you faced being a foster carer through the pandemic?
For us, the biggest challenge has been keeping the lads in a good routine – we have 3 teenaged boys who want to lie in bed all day and play on the PlayStation all night! We decided to turn the WiFi off at 10pm and we encouraged them to spend some time outside as we know it’s good for them – to go on bike rides or long walks.
What activities have you been doing during the pandemic?
Plenty of walking and bike riding. When the gym opened up the lads went every day. They also helped around the garden and washed the car.
Have you found any positives to come out of it?
My garden is nice and my car is clean!! On a serious note, if we didn’t have the boys to look after during the pandemic, we can’t imagine what we would have done during lockdown. Having them here has given us a reason to get up every day.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer?
Go for it! Your life will change for the better.
When you make the decision to foster for Knowsley, you’ll be well supported from start to finish. Once you’re approved as a foster carer, you’ll work with your own social worker who will help you with advice, guidance and training. You’ll also have someone to call day or night, 7 days a week if you need to.
If you’re interested in fostering, or just want to find out more, please click the ‘make an enquiry’ button on the top left of the screen – we’d love to hear from you!
Happy New Year from Knowsley Fostering Team!
News - April 2020Foster carers needed during the Coronavirus outbreak
It’s important that we look after ourselves, our family and friends during the Coronavirus outbreak. But have you considered how you could also help our local community?
If you want to make a difference to children and young people in Knowsley our fostering team is still available to answer any of your questions. Knowsley Council has staff and technology to help you with your application to be a foster carer, simply give us a call 0151 443 3958 if you’d like to have a chat about fostering or make an enquiry online.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services in Knowsley, said: “Our Foster Carers are amazing, all year round and in all kinds of emergency situations. With the Coronavirus outbreak making us all think about what we can do to help our communities, it’s a reminder that fostering is a way in which you can change young lives for the better and make a lasting difference to so many people. “If you are someone who thinks you can give a loving and nurturing home to a child at a time when they need it most, please consider fostering. Our team will be happy to talk to you today and answer any questions you might have.”
News - 14th May 2019Foster Care Fortnight 2019 - Change a Future
Have you ever had a moment in your life which you can look back on and see that your future changed at that time?
Perhaps it was a teacher telling you that you were really good at something that is now your career?
Or a relationship which led you to move?
Or a trip overseas which gave you a different outlook on life?
What was your moment?
We believe that foster care changes futures – the futures of fostered children and young people and the futures of the foster families who care for them. This Foster Care Fortnight we are asking people to think about the change foster care can make to a child’s future.
Knowsley’s Fostering Service has launched a new film to promote foster care across the borough and encourage new carers to come forward. The moving film focuses on the true life story of 10 year old ‘Elliot’ whose life was changed the day he met “the nice people” – his foster carers who shaped his life for the better. The film also highlights a key issue facing Knowsley’s Fostering Service; the need for more foster carers who would consider caring for older children. The film uses actors to tell the real life experiences of a formerly looked after child and we have worked closely with young people to deliver this unique film to raise awareness about fostering.
‘Elliot’s Story’ conveys that with love and guidance the lives of some of Knowsley’s most vulnerable children can be changed for the better. The film also highlights the positive impact of foster care and how equally rewarding it can be for the foster carer’s.
If you think you have the relevant skills and experience, we're calling on you to consider becoming foster carers so that you can also change a future.
In Knowsley, we’ve got lots planned over the next two weeks and the team will be out and about in the borough during Foster Care Fortnight with information about how to become a foster carer, and whether it could be right for you.
You will find them on the following days:
- Tuesday 13th May, 10am – 12.30pm @ Huyton Library
- Wednesday 14th May, 10am - 6pm @ Tesco, Prescot
- Saturday 18th May, 10am - 12noon @ Costa Coffee Kirkby
- Tuesday 21st May, 10am – 6pm @ Tesco Prescot
- Friday 24th May 2pm – 4.30pm @ Halewood Library
You can also get in touch with Knowsleys Fostering Service by calling 0151 443 3959 or visit https://fostering.knowsley.gov.uk
2nd April 2019Knowsley’s Fostering Service Launch Powerful Fostering Film
Knowsley’s Fostering Service has launched a new film to promote foster care across the borough and encourage new carers to come forward. The moving film focuses on the true life story of 10-year-old ‘Elliot’ whose life was changed the day he met “the nice people” – his foster carers who shaped his life for the better. The film also highlights a key issue facing Knowsley’s Fostering Service; the need for more foster carers who would consider caring for older children.
The film uses actors to tell the real life experiences of a formerly looked after child and Knowsley’s Fostering Service have worked closely with young people to deliver this unique film to raise awareness about fostering and in particular the need to find foster carers for older children. ‘Elliot’s Story’ conveys that with love and guidance the lives of some of Knowsley’s most vulnerable children can be changed for the better. The film also highlights the positive impact of foster care and how equally rewarding it can be for the foster carer/s.How can I find out more about fostering?
Many people who enquire about fostering often don’t think they will be suitable, but the truth is if you care, have a spare bedroom and time, then you may be just what Knowsley is looking for.
If you are interested in fostering, Knowsley’s Fostering Service will help you with advice and information at every stage and you will receive training to assist you in your new role. You will also receive a generous financial allowance and 24-hour support. For more information about the film or fostering in Knowsley call 0151443 3958 or enquire online now
1st November 2018Knowsley Fostering Families Celebrate Sons and Daughters Month
October marked the annual Sons and Daughters month with Knowsley’s fostering families enjoying the celebrations with an ice skating party in Widnes. The event was attended by the sons and daughters of Knowsley foster carers and was an opportunity for the service to thank the children and young people for the essential role they play in welcoming fostered children into their families and ensuring successful fostering placements.
When considering fostering, many people say that the potential impact on their birth children is one of the major barriers to becoming a foster carer. The reality is that many children benefit from being part of a fostering family. Knowsley have 290 looked after children, who need loving, stable family homes and seeing life from another’s perspective can be an enriching experience and can help the children of foster carers learn and develop as an individuals.
News - 15th May 2018Knowsley and Sefton Council’s Fostering Teams Join Forces in their bid to Recruit More Foster Carers for Brothers and Sisters with #StayTogether Event
Knowsley and Sefton Council have joined forces once again in their search for new Foster Carers. There are over 750 looked after children in Knowsley and Sefton and the need to recruit new Foster Carers to provide a loving home to children remains a priority. Both authorities are urging anyone who has ever thought about fostering and would like to know more, to come along to their #StayTogether event.
The event will take place on board the fostering bus, a specially converted double decker bus. Both Knowsley and Sefton’s fostering teams will be there to answer any questions and will be chatting to people about the support they can expect from Knowsley and Sefton’s Fostering Services. There will also be an opportunity to meet Foster Carers who will share their experiences and answer any questions.
The event will be held over two days :-
- Thursday 17th May at Tesco, Prescot Cables Retail Park, Steley Way, Prescot, L34 5NQ, 9am-6pm
- Friday 18th May at Aintree Retail Park, Ormskirk Road, Liverpool, L9 5AN, 9am-6pm
Colette Dutton Executive Director (Children), Knowsley Council said “We are delighted to be working once again with Sefton Council on the #StayTogether fostering information event. We are always looking for new Foster Carers with our greatest need being for Foster Carers who could provide a safe and loving home for sibling groups, older children, and children with additional needs. We hope by holding this event during Foster Care Fortnight that people come along and chat to some of our fostering families who come from a wide range of backgrounds but all have one thing in common – their desire to provide a loving home and a brighter future for some of our boroughs most vulnerable children. Of course we understand that fostering is a really big decision for people to make, but we offer excellent support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer financial allowances in recognition of the loving homes foster carers provide for the children in our care. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a Foster Carer to come along and have a chat with our friendly teams without feeling obligated or pressured in any way.”
Cllr. John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding said “Fostering really can change a child’s life. Foster carers offer supportive, caring and firm foundations to our vulnerable children and young people; it’s a hugely rewarding role. I would encourage anyone who’s been thinking about fostering to come along to the event to find out more”.Why #StayTogether?
A sibling relationship is life’s longest lasting relationship and this is no different for looked after children. Most siblings benefit hugely from staying together; and the council does all it can to make sure it finds carers who can care for them together in order for them to maintain a strong bond and make some happy memories together.
If you would like to find out more about fostering or if you are an existing Foster Carer who is thinking about transferring, then get in touch with Knowsley’s Fostering Service who would be delighted to speak to you about it. Call 0151 443 3959 or enquire online.
News - December 2017Inspirational Night at Knowsley Childrens Social Care Celebration of Achievement
A truly inspirational night was had by all at Knowsley’s Children’s Social Care Annual Celebration of Achievement Awards held at The Venue on Thursday. The event shone a spotlight on the successes of Knowsley’s looked after children and included awards in education, personal achievement, sports and leisure. Along with an achievement award for three young people who have each achieved a first class hons degree this year.
There was also special recognition given to the young people who have worked with the Ariel Trust to raise awareness about mental health issues and encouraged other young people to make the most of their lives.
The Mayor of Knowsley Cllr Frank Walsh opened the event, which was supported by, Cllr Lilly Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Director of Children’s Services Paul Boyce.
Along with a delicious chocolate fountain and comical photo booth, children (and adults) were also entertained throughout the awards ceremony with both musical and dance performances. Cllr Lilly Cabinet Member of Children Services said ““It is unquestionably the highlight of our calendar and a truly inspirational night. It is evenings such as this that we are reminded to stop for a moment and congratulate the children and young people on their achievements, whether that is for success in school, in leisure activities or for making a difference to the lives of others. The musical and dance performances by some of the children were phenomenal, and it was evident on the evening that our looked after children have the aspirations and confidence to achieve their full potential.”
Congratulations to all the children and young people who were nominated
News - November 2017Frank Cottrell-Boyce Joins Judging Panel For New Writing Competition That Encourages Fostered Children and Young Adults to Tell Their Story.
An inspirational new creative writing competition - developed by the award-winning You Can Foster campaign - will encourage children and young people in foster care and fostering families from all over the North of England to tell their stories and so encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers.
An inspirational new creative writing competition - developed by the award-winning You Can Foster campaign - will encourage children and young people in foster care and fostering families from all over the North of England to tell their stories and so encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers.
The Inspiring Stories competition, aims to explore the ambitions of the thousands of children and young people who are in foster care across Merseyside, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire
It is hoped that the stories will reveal the real sense of value and motivation that foster carers can instill in the young and the profound way in which they can help shape young lives for the better.
Children’s author Frank Cottrell-Boyce says, “Stories are how we make sense of our lives. The only way we can hope to understand another person is by listening to their story. The only way we can hope to understand ourselves is by finding someone who will listen to our story. When we hear other people’s stories we discover we are not alone in our troubles. And we learn that there are solutions to our problems.
Poet Tony Walsh says, “As a poet, a writer, an artist of any kind, ultimately it's all about storytelling, isn't it; the creation of something that connects with another human being and touches them or shapes them in some way. As someone from a very ordinary, working-class background myself and having worked with a huge variety of people, organisations and communities; celebrating and encouraging the extraordinary stories of ordinary people is a big part of what I try and do.
“I'm a firm believer that becoming involved in the arts can be not only life enhancing, not just life changing, it can actually be life saving on occasions too. It strikes me therefore that as artists and as foster carers, in some ways we're in the same business: that of reaching out and touching people. Enhancing lives, changing lives, saving them, even. There are some amazing stories from the many quietly inspirational children and young people in foster care out there and we'd love to read them. Find a pen. Write down yours. Share it with pride. Storytelling: it's what we do.”
Author Livi Michael says, “Inspiring Stories is a great opportunity for young people to see their work in print. Everyone who enters has a chance to launch themselves on a literary career! We aim to encourage talent, of course - but even the ones who don't win can put on their writing CV that they have been brave, inspired and determined enough to enter a creative writing competition.”
Stories submitted can be a personal account of A fostering experience or an inspirational tale that needs to be told. Entries can be fiction, non-fiction, written or even drawn so that all ages can engage with the competition.
Children and young people can visit http://www.youcanfoster.org/competition to find out more and submit their stories which should be no longer than 800 words. The deadline for entries is 5.00pm, Friday November 17th 2017.
Peter Murphy Assistant Executive Director (Children’s Social Care), representing You Can Foster says, "The ‘Inspiring Stories’ competition is about celebrating the creative and ambitious people who are, or have been, in foster care, by giving them the opportunity to tell their story. Not only do we want to hear their voices but we want to share their stories across the region by publishing them online. We hope that this will inspire other young people who are also in foster care. You Can Foster is focused on recruiting foster carers across the North West and Yorkshire to provide local children, teenagers and young adults with a supportive home where they can achieve their dreams and ambitions. We have a real need for more foster carers and we urge anyone who is interested to get in touch with their local authority.”
News - October 2017YouGov survey reveals an 11% shortfall between people interested in fostering and actually becoming full-time carers.
A recent YouGov poll commissioned by You Can Foster reveals that just 1% of the adult population in Great Britain currently foster a child / children. Yet 12% of adults in Great Britain have never fostered a child but have considered it and may do so in the future.
By having potential carers meet experienced carers, You Can Foster aims to help bridge this startling 11% divide between thought and action and in doing so fill a gap that could help hundreds children receive the love and attention given by Foster Carers.
Fostering is looking after a child or young person who can’t live with their own family. There are a number of reasons they might not be able to live with their family and it can be a very difficult time for the child so they’ll needs lots of support and care. There are around 8255 households across the North of England who foster for their local authority.
Across Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside there are around 11,525 children living in foster care. Local Authorities particularly need to recruit foster carers for certain groups of children including:
- Brothers and sisters
- Older children and young people
- Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
- Children that will be in foster care long term
- Children who need more specialist care