Three hundred foster carers, Children’s Services staff and delegates from schools and health services will gather together on 30 November for a conference to discuss the impact of early trauma on children and young people.

The conference is organised by Norfolk Fostering Advisory Partnership (NFAP) with support from Norfolk County Council. The partnership sees foster carers and social workers working more closely together to create a ‘team around the child’ and to help shape the way the council supports the children and young people in its care.

Julia Spinks, Chair of NFAP, said: “The conference is a wonderful opportunity for people involved in the ‘team around the child’ to come together to share ideas about good practice and hear our expert speaker, Dr Margot Sunderland discuss the impact of early trauma on the emotional health of children and young people. Dr Sunderland is a Child Psychotherapist and author of over twenty books and we are delighted to welcome her to Norfolk. Dr Sunderland is Director of Education and Training at the Centre for Child Mental Health London, Honorary Visiting Fellow at London Metropolitan University, and Associate Member of the Royal College of Medicine. She is a Child Psychotherapist with over thirty years’ experience of working with children and families and is the author of over twenty books in the field of child mental health. Her internationally acclaimed book, “What Every Parent Needs to Know”, is the result of ten years research on the long-term effects of adult-child interaction on the developing brain.

Anne is an NFAP foster carer representative and will be attending the conference. She has been a foster carer for over 30 years and has seen dramatic changes since she first started fostering in the 1980s.

“One of the main things that’s changed in fostering over the years is that foster carers are respected and listened to. The partnership is a very positive move forward and gives foster carers quick and easy access to people at management level. It shows we are now really regarded as an integral part of the team around the child.”

Anne is also impressed with the training which she feels is much better than it was when she first started out. “There are so many opportunities to get involved and keep up to date with current practice. We also have local network group meetings which are a combination of training and socialising. We organise a speaker, have discussions and address any concerns or worries members may have. As foster caring can be quite isolating, the meetings are also a time for catching up with other carers and sharing ideas.”

Cllr Roger Smith, Chairman of the Children’s Services Committee said: “Norfolk County Council is committed to supporting and training its foster carers and promoting good practice. This conference is another example of the excellent work being undertaken by the partnership.

By bringing foster carers, social workers and Children’s Services managers involved in the ‘team around the child’, the partnership creates a unique opportunity for carers’ voices to be heard by other professionals who may not necessarily be aware of what daily life is like for the people who look after the council’s cared for children”.
Norfolk Fostering Advisory Partnership (NFAP) is made up of six employees of Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services, ten foster carer representatives and an advice and mediation worker.It aims to maximise the welfare of children in NCC care through the promotion of good practice and partnership working; create opportunities for children and young people to grow and develop through activity and learning. There are 1050 looked after children in the care of Norfolk County Council. Of these, just over 800 are placed with foster carers.

Find out more about fostering and becoming a foster carer