Second Chances: A Journey Through Foster Care

This heartfelt poem was written by an 11-year-old under the care of Progress Fostering Service. This young poet beautifully captures their journey and the transformative power of foster care.

My life was no fun

My fears would make me run.

Until out of the blue

I met you.

 

I became a foster child not once but twice

When I hurt myself you gave me ice.

You helped me learn

Everything I get I earn.

 

I am a little bit sad

Sometimes I get a little bit mad.

Me and my brothers would hit and hit

Until one day we got split.

 

We see each other often

We all need a correction.

I’ve learnt a lot of things

And my foster carer says

Teamwork makes the dream work.

 

I do much better now in foster care

I smile most days

I hope you can do a favour

And help people to become more able

And children who have lost hope

And start believing

Bring them in and give them a second chance in life.

 

As we celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, we invite individuals and families in the Midlands who are interested in fostering to join us. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children and young people in need of stability and care.

To learn more about fostering with Progress Fostering Service and how you can become a foster carer, please visit progresscare.co.uk/fostering or contact us directly at 01902 561066.

A Day in the Life of Jade: A Residential Support Worker at Progress

Jade, a dedicated residential support worker at Progress Children’s Services, brings enthusiasm and compassion to her daily routine. Jade’s commitment to nurturing young people shines through in her everyday activities. Here is what a day looks like in the life of Jade, at Progress.

Jade’s day typically begins with the important task of waking and preparing our young people for the day. This includes ensuring they are dressed, fed, and ready to start their day on a positive note. “The mornings are crucial in setting a positive tone for the day,” Jade explains. “I focus on making sure the children are ready for school with everything they need.”

Once the young people are off to school, Jade shifts her attention to various administrative tasks and housekeeping responsibilities. “During this time, I take care of paperwork, ensure everything is in order, and handle any necessary checks,” Jade elaborates. “It’s important to keep the environment organised and prepared for when the children return.”

When they return from school, Jade and her team engage with the young people to plan the evening’s activities. “We sit down with them and discuss what they would like to do for the evening,” Jade says. “It’s essential to involve them in decision-making and ensure they have activities they enjoy.”

Jade emphasises the importance of tailoring activities to each young person’s interests and needs. “We have a diverse group of children with unique preferences,” Jade explains. “Some enjoy outdoor activities like football or bike rides, while others prefer indoor pursuits such as arts and crafts or computer activities.”

Throughout the day, Jade maintains a focus on building positive relationships with the young people. “Being a good role model and fostering trust are key aspects of our interactions,” Jade emphasises. “We want our young people to feel safe, supported, and valued.”

Even when the young people are at school, Jade remains engaged with her responsibilities. “We often have one or two children who stay back at the house during school hours,” Jade notes. “This allows us to provide individualised attention and support.”

Jade’s daily routine is characterised by flexibility and adaptability. “Every day is different, and we need to be responsive to the young people’s changing needs and preferences,” Jade reflects. “It’s a dynamic environment that keeps us on our toes.”

As the day winds down, Jade and her team assist the young people with their evening routines and ensure they are ready for a restful night. “We help the children wind down, get ready for bed, and ensure they feel safe and cared for,” Jade explains. “It’s all about creating a supportive and nurturing environment.”

Reflecting on her role at Progress, Jade expresses gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact on young prople’s lives. “I find great fulfilment in nurturing these children and helping them thrive,” Jade says. “Every day presents new challenges and rewards, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Jade’s dedication and passion for her work exemplify the values of Progress Children’s Services. Through her daily efforts, Jade contributes to creating a safe, supportive, and enriching environment where children can flourish and grow.

Be Like Jade, join us


We have rewarding career opportunities for Support Workers across Progress children’s and young adults services. Interested? Visit progresscare.co.uk/jobs to find out more about our current roles, or send your up-to-date CV to recruitment@progresscare.co.uk

Celebrating Foster Care Fortnight 2024: Recognising Our Exceptional Foster Carers

As Foster Care Fortnight 2024 officially kicks off today, Progress Fostering Service, an outstanding division of Progress Children’s Services, takes immense pride in celebrating the dedication and impact of our remarkable foster carers. This significant event, running from May 13th to May 26th, is a testament to the profound role foster carers play in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and young people across and beyond the Midlands. 

At Progress Fostering Service, fostering isn’t just a service; it’s our passion and commitment to providing safe, nurturing homes where children can thrive. We are honoured to recognise the outstanding contributions of our foster carers who embody compassion, resilience, and unwavering support for the children in their care. 

Phil O’Brien, Registered Manager of the Fostering Service at Progress Children’s Services, emphasised the significance of Foster Care Fortnight: “This fortnight is a special occasion to shine a light on the incredible work of our foster carers. They truly are unsung heroes, offering stability and love to children who need it the most.” 

Tina Bhardwaj, Head of Children’s Services at Progress, added, “Foster Care Fortnight allows us to showcase the critical importance of fostering and the positive impact it has on vulnerable young people. Our foster carers exemplify the values we hold dearly at Progress: care, trust, respect and progress, and the belief that every child deserves a nurturing home.” 

Bal Dhanoa, CEO of Progress, echoed these sentiments, stating, “We are immensely proud of our Ofsted-rated outstanding fostering service. This recognition reflects our unwavering commitment to providing the highest standards of care and support to both our foster carers and the children entrusted to us.” 

As we celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, we invite individuals and families in the Midlands who are interested in fostering to join us. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children and young people in need of stability and care.

To learn more about fostering with Progress Fostering Service and how you can become a foster carer, please visit progresscare.co.uk/fostering or contact us directly at 01902 561066.

Let us continue to champion the extraordinary efforts of our foster carers and advocate for the transformative power of fostering in our communities.

Unlocking Learning Power: Progress celebrates Learning at Work Week

At Progress, we believe that learning is not just an event but a continuous journey, an ongoing exploration of knowledge and skills that empowers individuals and enriches our collective capabilities. As we kick off Learning at Work Week, we’re excited to delve into this year’s theme: Learning Power. 

This year’s theme, “Learning Power,” resonates deeply with our commitment to fostering a culture of continual learning and development. Learning is more than just acquiring information; it’s about embracing the power to change, grow, and achieve our goals, both personally and professionally. 

At Progress, we’re proud to champion learning at work, providing our employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to thrive. From on-the-job training to professional qualifications, we’re dedicated to helping our team members reach their full potential and pursue their aspirations. 

As part of Learning at Work Week, we’re thrilled to announce a series of bite-sized modules designed to enhance skills and promote well-being. These modules, along with our ongoing commitment to learning and development, underscore our belief in unlocking our workforce’s full potential and supporting our team members to continually deliver industry-leading service quality. 

Learning isn’t just an individual endeavour; it’s a collective experience that brings us together, fosters innovation, and builds stronger connections. Through collaborative learning initiatives and knowledge-sharing sessions, Progress has grown to become a community where everyone can grow and learn from each other. 

As we embark on this week-long celebration of learning, we recommit ourselves to embracing the power of education to inspire, motivate, and empower. Together, we’ll continue to unlock new possibilities, fuelling our growth and driving progress in all that we do. 

Echoes of Excellence: Celebrating Progress’ Exceptionalism

A heartfelt shoutout to the incredible team at Wellcroft House. During my recent visit, the warmth of the house matched the beautiful sunny weather outside. Despite the distractingly delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, I was delighted to hear that the team members read my emails.

Beyond the culinary delights, I witnessed a team committed to excellence, with a passion for quality, an eye for detail, and a clear vision. Their genuine joy in their work and embodiment of Progress values were evident.

Wellcroft House is not alone in their dedication.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a team meeting at Portland House, led by Dani and Cosmos. Despite acknowledging the unique challenges they face, Dani spoke passionately about their ethos. “We don’t shy away from difficult cases,” she explained. “We embrace the challenges and remain dedicated to each child’s journey.”

A similar sentiment echoed during my visit to Stourbridge House, where Amanda and her team go above and beyond to support the young people. Their focus goes beyond ticking boxes; they creatively tailor their approach to each individual’s interests, fostering progress and growth.

And when I shared the recent visit of Animal Encounters, Derbyshire to Nightingale House on social media, the pet zoo’s publicly shared feedback was resoundingly positive, further affirming the wonderful work being done by Jacqueline and her team.

As we commemorate International Workers’ Day today, it is obvious that your dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to our shared values are the driving force behind our success.

Together, you and your team members have faced challenges head-on, embraced change, and continue to strive for excellence. Your contributions, big and small, make a difference every single day.

Your dedication truly inspires us all. Bal and Claire regularly say that they are honoured to have you as part of the Progress family.

Today, let’s celebrate our achievements, honour our contributions, and look ahead to a future filled with endless possibilities.

Happy International Workers’ Day!

Warm regards,

Paul

Content and Communications Executive, Progress

Celebrating Outstanding Achievements: Heartwarming Updates and Recognitions

We are delighted to share the remarkable acknowledgements recently received by two of our residential homes, Regis House and Portland House, in recognition of the exceptional efforts of our team members.

During a recent visit, Martina, a family links worker with the Birmingham Children’s Trust, expressed her admiration for Regis House, describing it as a welcoming family environment that surpasses typical expectations of a children’s home. Annette, our Registered Manager, extended her gratitude to Martina and highlighted the home’s commitment to embodying a family-like atmosphere.

Martina commended the calm and welcoming atmosphere she experienced, underscoring the positive impact Regis House has on its residents. Notably, one of our young individuals at Regis House has achieved significant personal growth by independently managing tasks such as ordering and paying for meals and tickets. We applaud their achievements and ongoing progress.

Similarly, the team at Portland House has received high praise for their dedication and impact on the lives of the young individuals in their care. Feedback specifically highlighted Dani’s (Registered Manager) extraordinary commitment and compassion towards the young people, underscoring the profound positive influence she and her team have on their well-being.

“I did cry, and I’ve not stopped after my visit to Portland House. The passion of Dani, and the way she cares for her young people, was incredibly inspiring. In a world where so many people turn their backs on challenging young persons, people like Dani are saving them, loving them and showing whole hearted commitment to improving their lives. WOW. She really did make an impact on me and I hope my praises can be passed on to her.”

Such testimonials reaffirm our collective dedication to improving lives and making a lasting difference.

New Additions to Progress

This week, four amazing persons officially joined Progress. Libby has joined the fostering team as an administrator, Nsan joined our Adult Services as a Residential Support Worker while Tadie, a Residential Support Worker, has joined Progress Children’s Services.

We also have a new addition to our Corporate and Commercial Team. Susan is the Digital Learning Designer. In a statement, Angeline Freer, Progress’ Head of Corporate and Commercial Services, said Susan brings a wealth of experience of developing e-learning.

“I am really excited to see how Susan’s career progresses and have no doubt her contributions will help the organisation to continue improving lives,” Angeline said.

Welcome to Progress.

Empowering and Amplifying Children’s Voices at Progress

Supporting the young people under the care of Progress extends far beyond mere rhetoric; it’s a fundamental ethos deeply embedded within our values. Every day, we actively seek innovative ways to empower each individual and provide platforms for expression, ensuring their voices resonate throughout Progress. 

This week, we are thrilled to showcase two pioneering initiatives aimed at fostering communication and nurturing essential life skills among the young people we have the privilege to support: the introduction of a small post box and the re-launch of the Voices of Progress initiative. 

Angeline Freer, Head of Corporate and Commercial Services at Progress recently donated a vibrant red post box, to facilitate an exciting avenue for interactive expression. Angeline purchased the post box as she recognised its potential to spark young people’s imaginations and build skills for everyday life. Being small in stature, the small post box delivers inclusivity for wheelchair users and those who’s height does not enable them to reach a normal post box. 

Angeline envisions the post box facilitating a wide range of activities, offering young people the opportunity to deposit letters, cards, and feedback. Cultural festivals and birthdays etc. prompt the children to convey messages to their families, caregivers, or support network, fostering a sense of independence and agency, along with feedback on our services during Voices of Progress events. Located at our Resources Centre, the box is accessible to young people across Progress’ diverse services. 

Beyond its practical function, the post box serves as a vital tool for skill development. Simple tasks like mailing a letter can pose challenges for some children and adolescents. Engaging in this activity not only cultivates communication skills but also provides insight into the workings of the postal system, fostering a deeper connection to the community through meaningful participation. 

The post box’s arrival has sparked curiosity and enthusiasm, reinforcing Progress’ unwavering commitment to nurturing young people’s growth. This innovative addition provides a unique platform for children to share their perspectives, thereby bolstering their confidence in articulating their thoughts. 

Voices of Progress 

During a recent event hosted by Progress’ outstanding fostering service, children were invited to express their thoughts about their foster carers. This week, we are privileged to share the heartfelt messages of four children, accompanied by poignant reflections from the fostering service highlighting each child’s individuality. 

This initiative underscores Progress’ steadfast dedication to amplifying the voices of every child and young person under our care, ensuring that their experiences are heard, valued, and prioritised.

World Autism Awareness Day: Progress’ autism-aware approach

Tuesday 2 April 2024 is World Autism Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.

Autism is mainly characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.

The stigmatisation and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policymakers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.

700,000

There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

30%

Just 30% of autistic adults in the UK are in any form of paid employment. This is amongst the lowest rates of employment for people with additional needs or disabilities.

3x

Autism is 3 times more prevalent in boys than girls. Signs of autism in girls can present themselves differently and as a result can be misdiagnosed or missed leading to more boys getting a diagnosis.

Progress’ autism-aware approach to interior design

“Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.” 

At the core of Progress’ approach to interior design is the concept of sensory design. We utilise principles such as space, colour, texture, form, and light to create spaces that meet the unique sensory requirements of the children they care for. These principles are not just about aesthetics; they are fundamental in addressing the sensory needs of the children.

Preet Anand, founder of Mood Interiors, has been instrumental in redefining the role of interior design at Progress’ homes. Preet and her team approach each Progress project by understanding the specific needs of the children. She described it as a comprehensive process that takes into account the individual requirements of each child.

In sensory design, colour plays a pivotal role. Preet says, “Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.”

University of Wolverhampton Acknowledges Enduring Partnership with Progress

The University of Wolverhampton’s Social Work Department has proudly acknowledged its enduring partnership with Progress, marking four years of collaboration since 2020, and eight years specifically with the Progress Fostering Service. This partnership has become integral to the university’s social work education programme, providing students with invaluable real-world experience and mentorship.

At the heart of this collaboration is the mutual commitment to nurturing the next generation of social workers. Progress has consistently provided exemplary support, allowing students to develop their knowledge, skills, values, and overall capabilities. This partnership ensures that students receive comprehensive training to engage positively with both children and adults, a fundamental aspect of social work practice.

The social work process, from making referrals to carrying out assessments and interventions, mirrors the operations within social care providers like Progress. Through hands-on experience, students learn essential skills in working with children, young adults, vulnerable individuals and families, including risk management and support planning.

One of the key strengths of this partnership lies in its emphasis on practical learning. Progress facilitates opportunities for students to liaise with various agencies, honing their ability to collaborate and share information effectively. Additionally, students benefit from structured supervision and monitoring, ensuring they receive the support necessary for their growth and development.

Deborah Sharman, Practice Placement Development Worker at the University of Wolverhampton, expressed gratitude for Progress’ unwavering dedication to social work education.

“The contribution of Progress to the quality of social work education is invaluable. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone at Progress for their ongoing support and commitment to shaping the future of our profession,” Deborah said.

Phil Mcdonald, Head of Adult Services at Progress expressed Progress’ joy in supporting social work students, especially in the area of gaining experience.

“We are more than happy to support students in gaining invaluable frontline experience, mentoring them specifically around the importance of relationships and how they can navigate challenges that can present themselves in working in social care and specifically social work.  Our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton has been consistent and vital to supporting the next generation of social workers,” Phil said.

Progress’ dedication to nurturing talent and fostering excellence in social work education is commendable. As the University of Wolverhampton continues to prioritise practical, hands-on learning experiences for its students, collaborations like this one will remain essential in preparing the next generation of social workers to make a positive impact in their communities.

What makes Progress Fostering Service truly special

Hi, my name is Bethany and as a recruiting and assessing social worker at Progress Fostering Service, I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently, and reflecting on the conversation, I’m reminded of what makes our agency truly special.

When asked what sets Progress apart, I found myself emphasising the family-like atmosphere we’ve cultivated. Our small team allows us to know each foster carer personally, meeting regularly to discuss any concerns or updates. This closeness fosters a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and understood.

As for what attracted me to social work and what continues to motivate me, it’s simple: I want to make a difference. I believe in the power of advocacy and the importance of being a consistent presence in a child’s life. Every child deserves to have their voice heard, and I strive to be that advocate for them.

The familial atmosphere, coupled with the unwavering support from management and colleagues, makes it a truly special place to work. Knowing each foster carer personally allows us to provide tailored support, ensuring that every child receives the best possible care.

As I reflect on the interview, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for fostering and social work. It’s a privilege to be part of a service that prioritises the well-being of children and families above all else.

Find out more about our outstanding fostering service today. Visit: progresscare.co.uk/fostering