Fourth fostering conference praised as best so far

Published: 15th October 2019

A group of five young people stand in front of a glass panel.
Care experienced young people attending the 2019 Fostering conference

This year’s foster care conference, held to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of foster carers from across the region, has been heralded by attendees as being the best so far.

The overall theme was Change a Future, with a focus on continuing care and supporting young people into adulthood.

  • Foster carers with between five and twenty five years’ service were presented with a certificate in recognition of their dedication and support toward the children and young people of the region.
  • Attendees were given the chance to take part in a series of workshops, some covering more serious topics related to the overall theme of the day, while others were a reminder to carers of the importance of looking after their own health and wellbeing, and finding ways to enjoy their experience of being a carer as often as they can.
  • Keynote speaker was Gordon Main from CELCIS who has over 25 years’ experience of statutory social work practice, leadership and improvement work with children and their families.

Care experienced young people planned the event

A group of our care experienced young people played a significant role in planning the event. As well as delivering workshops and performing music and poetry, a selection of their artwork, stories and other achievements were on display. There was also the chance to see an animation developed by one of the group, Billy Brogan on recent changes to legislation which now allows young people to remain in continuing care until they are 21.

Billy Brogan, animation creator

“I think it was really important that we were given the chance to help organise the day to share our experience of being in care, and also to showcase just some of our achievements and the talents we have amongst us.

“I created my particular contribution as I wanted to express just how important the new legislation is to care experienced people like us and how it can feel if someone has to leave care at 16 and not have anyone there to help and support us at such a critical time in our lives. The change means that we now have the chance to maintain the relationships and bonds that we have already built up with the carers and families who we have learned to rely on and trust to be there for us, and the positive impact this will have on our futures.”

Councillor Tom Weatherston, Executive Member for Children and Families Social Work

“The contribution made by our talented group of care experienced young people towards the event’s success cannot be underestimated and they are to be commended for all the hard work and enthusiasm they brought to the occasion.

“I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our committed team of foster carers toward some of our most vulnerable children and young people in communities right across the Borders. They deserve thanks and appreciation from all of us for the significant work they do and this annual event is an opportunity to do just that.”

Roddy Murray, fostercarer

“We find the conference a great annual opportunity for foster carers in the Borders to come together and share their experiences and practical advice, while hearing from a range of inspiring speakers and trainers.

"One of the highlights and most useful aspects of the conference in recent years has been the contribution from youngsters who are currently in or have recently left care. We found their input particularly useful at this year's conference, with the overall theme of Change a Future, as we look after a teenager who is about to transition through continuing care. A well organised and really useful event which we look forward to each year.”

Could you foster and change a life?

Councillor Tom Weatherston, Executive Member for Children and Families Social Work

“As always, we are keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in joining our much valued team of foster carers which Roddy and his family are an integral part of. We would encourage anyone who thinks they could join them, and our other carers, to contact us to find out more.

“Remember, foster carers come from all walks of life and are provided with full training. What you do need is to have an understanding of looking after or working with children and be able to provide positive parenting with compassion and understanding. Being patient and having the ability to listen to and communicate with young people are also important qualities. If you think you’ve got what it takes to change a future, get in touch.”

More information

  • To find out more, contact the Family Placement Team on 01896 662799. Information is also available online or @ScottishBordersFosteringandAdoption
  • Images from the conference are available to download on our Flickr page.
  • The legislation referred to is The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Part 11, Continuing Care; the Continuing Care (Scotland) Order 2015.