FCC has recently presented a paper on why a ‘co-operative’ approach to fostering has led to outstanding educational results and child placement stability.
The presentation took place on 2nd September at The IFCO Conference 2016, held this year within Sheffield Hallam University. The IFCO conference is an annual international event that brings together foster carers, children in foster care, care leavers, social workers, academics and policy makers from all around the world. The purpose of the event is for individuals and organisations to share their knowledge, experiences and understanding of fostering. FCC chose to highlight their unique status as a co-operative within the fostering sector.
Anne Bard, FCC’s Director of Childcare for England, said: “The Co-operative model allows us to be creative with how we can concentrate our income on providing quality foster care and promoting positive outcomes for children. All profit is re-distributed back in to the agency. Our placement stability figure is currently 3 years plus and has been for some years and this is something we’re very proud of.
“The promotion of education and positive educational outcomes is integral in the overall care provided by FCC foster carers. This ethos is supported by the agency’s commitment to maintaining the roles of Education Advisor and Transitions Advisor to support carers.
“The FCC believes that any child or young person fostered with them should be able to contribute to, and take advantage of, the community in which they live. The Education and Transitions Advisors work with foster carers to promote the raising of aspirations within our young people so that they can aim high.”
In terms of how a co-operative operates, it doesn’t have the involvement of distant shareholders or investors. It is controlled by its members, meaning the people on the ‘shop floor’ are consulted and listened to about how the organisation is run.
This directness of approach can make an organisation more ‘transparent’ and responsive to change – particularly at a policy level. It also creates a culture of greater democracy.
If you put that into the context of childcare, you are effectively giving the people who work with children the power to make positive change within their organisation for the good of those children.
The conference, which ran from 1st-4th September, was well attended and there was ample sharing of ideas and approaches, delivered through the many talks and presentations. FCC was ably supported by social workers and managers who staffed a stall in the main reception. This gave opportunity to delegates to chat about the Co-operative’s principles and ethos.
The Foster Care Co-operative remains the only co-operative operating in the UK fostering sector.
Lynn Findlay, one of FCC’s social workers, put together this Twitter feed presentation featuring images from the event: https://storify.com/lynnfindlay/the-fcc-at-ifco-2016#publicize
Thank you to Lynn and all that contributed on the day!
And a big 'thank you' to the guys at RAL Display Marketing for supplying our fantastic display stands. They also donated a stand due to our not-for-profit status! https://www.ral-display.co.uk/
To learn more about cooperatives, visit http://www.uk.coop/