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fAMILY And friends care spEcial

maY 2012

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Family Rights Group website - what's new?


Read your local family and friends care policy and who is the manager responsible for the policy. All English local authorities were required to have a published policy and designated manager by October 2011. Find out about your own local authority.


Is there a support group for family and friends carers near you? Check our national map, which has details of who to contact to join your local support group.


Managing contact report. Family Rights Group's research findings on managing contact with parents and relatives for children living in family and friends care arrangements has been published on the FRG website.It contains important practice guidelines for carers, parents and practitioners.


New research published by Family Rights Group. Family Rights Group remains at the forefront of research into family and friends care, by publishing four important new studies. Available soon for purchase, these four studies, and summaries of their information, can be downloaded here.


Many thanks to all the carers who contributed to the research, and to The Big Lottery Fund, Family Justice Council, Noel Buxton Foundation, Trust for London and Tudor Trust for helping fund these studies.


fandfc publications


Children's drawing competition


We have launched a drawing competition for children in family and friends care - we would love to receive pictures that they have drawn of their family. The winning pictures will be published as the front cover of our new written survey for carers. There are plenty of prizes including £20 vouchers for children in different age categories. Deadline is the 28th May 2012.


Send the drawing to FRG chief executive Cathy Ashley. You can email scanned drawings to or post the drawings to Cathy at Family Rights Group, The Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL. Please include details of the child's name, age and contact details.


Online survey of family and friends carers in London

Big Ben

We are carrying out research into the needs and circumstances of children raised in family and friends care in London, and their carers. We will use the findings in our campaigning to secure a better deal for family and friends carers. This short questionnaire will take you about 10 minutes to complete and the information you provide to us will be kept confidential and not shared with any third parties.


If you are a family and friends carer living in London, please complete the on-line survey. As a thank you, a £20 voucher will be sent out to every twentieth carer living in London who completes the questionnaire.


Family and friends care news and updates


a) Family and friends carers' discussion forum – We would like the views of carers on how we could improve the new-look forum. We have started a discussion about this on the forum. If you'd like to contribute to this or on any other issues related to being a family and friends carer, you can find the discussions here.You are welcome to register if you're not already a member.


b) Update on legal aid – Family Rights Group, on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance, lobbied hard right until the end to try and secure concessions to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, to prevent family and friends carers being unable to access legal aid to secure a legal order for a child at risk. At the 11 th hour we managed to get a concession extending from 1 to 2 years the timescale within which relatives could be eligible to apply for legal aid if a child has been abused. We will continue to work hard to try and influence the detail in regulations.


c) Many thanks to Withers LLP – Withers LLP generously hosted a training event that Family Rights Group ran for lawyers on family and friends care. We received lovely feedback. “The course was excellent” “really relevant and enjoyable.” “I will ‘cascade' the training to my firm”.

Withers conference

d) A great way to get fit and raise monies for our work to set up family and friends care support groups – We have places for the British 10k London run in July and the Run to the Beat half marathon in London in October. Find out how to particpate here.

Run to the beat

e) Are you a lawyer or social worker – would you be willing to be interviewed?

Joan Hunt, University of Oxford and Family Rights Group are now carrying out the second stage of our research on family and friends care, in terms of the link between legal status, need and support for children. If you are a social worker, social work manager, lawyer or judge, and would be willing to be interviewed by Joan Hunt, please contact .


Family and friends care - forthcoming training


Assessments of family and friends carers: 30th May 2012: London. This is a one day course for professionals and practitioners who carry out assessments of family and friends carers, and their managers. It will consider identifying the strengths of potential carers; and their support needs; and identifying and managing risk. The course will draw on messages from research, and consider the legal framework for these assessments. The training will include a model for family and friends assessments that has been developed by Family Rights Group.


Safeguarding children: advanced law and practice: 4th July 2012: London. This one day course is for solicitors, social workers and advocates. It will update practitioners on recent changes to the childcare law and practice framework, focusing upon local authority decision making pre care proceedings.


Looked after children - Advanced law and practice: 19th September 2012, London. This one day advanced course for solicitors, social workers and advocates combines detailed legal and practice information under the new care planning framework for looked after children with an opportunity for reflection on the impact of these changes on professional practice.


For other Family Rights Group training courses please visit here.


Story from a support group


On July 11th we went from being a family of four overnight to a family of seven! Children's services asked if we would take three grandchildren whom we had not had any contact with since they were babies. Around 7.30 that evening three girls aged 10, 11, and 13 stood on our doorstep with just the clothes on their backs. We had a ten year old son and a nineteen year old son still at home, you can imagine the upheaval! A quick trip to Tesco ensured everyone had some pyjamas and a clean pair of knickers for the morning!


The next week was a bit of a blur as you can imagine, and we had to do some very basic training on how to wash, clean teeth, wipe bottoms etc, a whole new experience to them all. Six months down the line we are now legal guardians of them. The girls all have very individual needs, and these are gradually being addressed.


We know we have years of hard work ahead of us, but we are making very steady progress. The one good thing was that we found the support group early in our journey, so we have good support from people who know what it's really like!


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Family Rights Group, The Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL
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HELPLINE: 0808 801 0366


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Family Rights Group
The Print House
18 Ashwin Street
London, England E83DL

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