Foster Care Fortnight 13-26 May
Futures for Children a Foster Company built by Foster Carers celebrates 20 years helping young people have a better future.
Futures for Children is part of the Futures Group of companies and was established in 1999 by Nick Barnsby and Harry Bettice. At the time of setting up the organisation, Nick was a Foster Carer, social worker and father to 5 children, near Canterbury, Kent.
This gives Nick first-hand experience of caring for children within his own family and a deep understanding of the challenges both the young people and foster carers face. Nick still remembers the reasons for founding Futures For Children; “I set up the company because I was frustrated being told that provisions did not exist for certain children, so I left the local authority to create those provisions. Particularly for children with complex histories and backgrounds.”
The organisation has grown considerably since 1999 and on average Futures for Children has helped to change the lives of more than 200 children and young people each year. The Head Office remains in Maidstone, where the organisation was founded and continues to be a family run with offices across the UK.
Nick’s daughter Scarlett works as a Supervising Social Worker for at Futures For Children; “I became a social worker because I wanted to make a positive contribution to the lives of young people. Having been raised in a fostering family, I saw the difference that can be made and wanted to help create environments where children can thrive and reach their full potential. I enjoy being a social worker because every day is different in reflection of the individual and unique people and circumstances I work to support. I find reward in the achievements and happiness of the young people I work with, from attaining good grades at school to experiencing a family day out to the beach for the first time.”
As Futures for Children grows in age, they too have grown in size and like many fostering organisations, face a shortage of foster carers. Foster Care Fortnight is a fantastic awareness campaign with the primary aim to recruit more foster carers. It also raises the awareness ABOUT foster carers and the commitment and dedication they give in helping transform the lives of young people, who for whatever reason find themselves in care.
Looked after children represent the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community. In the UK there is still much work to be done to redress the disadvantages these children have experienced and there often is so little time to do this before they become independent young adults.
Futures for Children go the extra mile in supporting the young people in their care to help them become valued members of tomorrow’s society. This support often continues after they have left the care system and become adults, or, have returned to their birth families.
As a passion project Futures For Children currently facilitate their own Marketing Officer- Alice Turbine to provide her time to a local children’s charity; Unit 1 Skatepark in Rochester, Kent. A Charity that works to provide a safe environment for Young People in the Medway area, especially those young people who are currently or previously looked-after. Alice commented “Supporting Looked-after-children doesn’t begin and end at the doorstep, but extends into the work charities do within the local community, Futures for Children are keen to develop links with local charities that improve and enhance the life chances of young people”.
FFC continues to focus on positive outcomes for children and young people. Among their team are foster carers, social workers, and parents, with one of their founding directors even growing up in care. It is this rich and varied lived experience that gives them a unique understanding of foster families and how to provide children and young people with the futures they deserve.