This month’s blog is all about the launch of the first FCC ‘Your Child’s Digital World’ fostering conference.
Earlier this year I attended the Safeguarding Children in the Digital World Conference in London, hosted by Children and Young People Now. Current practice and issues with regards to children’s welfare, safety and development in the digital world were presented, at both a strategic and government level – and issues ‘on the ground’ for practitioners.
As I listened to the presentations and seminars, I made notes on how this learning could be applied to fostering, to support our looked after children – where parental responsibility may be shared by a ‘corporate parent’ in a local authority, but when foster carers are implementing day to day care. These additional legal and logistical considerations are not always considered proactively with a child’s digital world when they live with a foster family. Foster families are also very diverse to meet the needs of the children, with varying levels of interaction with a child’s digital world both in the home and at school.
So this is how the idea for a conference, initially mooted by FCC operational manager Angela Tobin, focusing on fostering issues, online safety and digital parenting, came about. I was delighted to be able to run with organising this opportunity and after a few months of shaping ideas, welcoming guest speakers and arranging a venue, here we are with the event launched and tickets on sale.
It only seemed natural that the event is titled ‘Your Child’s Digital World’. A digital world is much more than online safety and ‘Your Child’ enables us to reach out to foster carers, social workers and managers with corporate parenting responsibilities to share what is best for ‘our children’. The event is organised within the ethos of the cooperative, sharing ideas and good practice, on a not-for-profit basis. Our ticket sales cover our costs of venue hire, refreshments and expenses.
We are delighted to welcome Cath Knibbs, the UK’s leading cybertrauma therapist and researcher, as our keynote speaker, and David Sankey from Guardian Saints, an organisation leading the field in online safety and GDPR with fostering agencies and government, to present on the day.
However, no event is complete without the child and young person’s voice being heard and shared. We have reserved a slot in the afternoon for any young people currently in foster care (over the age of 16, as the event is on a school day) or care experienced young people aged over 18, to share their experiences of foster care in a digital world. If you are interested in taking part, (or know someone who is with permission to share their details) or finding out more, please drop me an email.
I would also like to have a display of young people’s drawings, writing or quotes about online life, and if this is something your young person would be interested in contributing to, again please email me for more information.
The Conference is taking place on Tuesday 5th February 2019, to coincide with Safer Internet Day, at The Carlton Park Hotel, Rotherham and tickets are now on sale via Eventbrite here, with an early bird price until 1st October.