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logo August/September 2011

Welcome To Our Newsletter

Family Rights Group is the charity in England and Wales that advises parents and other family members whose children are involved with or require children’s social care services because of welfare needs or concerns.


Advice Service - excellent news

We have just signed a contract with the Department for Education to fund our advice service until April 2013. As a result of the contract:

•  We can give confidential advice on the phone to more families than ever before - 6500 families a year in 2012/13

•  We've just launched a new discussion board specifically for parents and a new look, easier to use family and friends care discussion board. Both are moderated by our expert advisers

•  A new website with easy to read as well as in depth advice and films on ‘what is a child protection conference?' will go live this Winter.

A big thank you to all of you, including families who’ve used our service, practitioners and indeed peers and MPs who lobbied so hard for the future of our service. We are truly grateful for your help.


The most extensive survey of family and friends care - ever - but we now need your help

The survey findings will influence policy and practice at local and national level including campaigning work around the Welfare Reform Bill. The more carers who fill it in, the more powerful the results.  We're well over half way towards our target of 500, so if you are a carer please fill it in and for everyone else, please promote it any way you can (email, tweet, facebook – or even word of mouth) to agencies and community groups that potentially work with family and friends carers. Any help would be fabulous. And we're giving a £20 thank you voucher to every 20th carer who completes the survey. The FRG survey is backed by
The Grandparents' Association, Mentor UK, Northern Ireland Kinship Care, Grandparents Plus and Nagalro

Click here to take the survey.

Extended Closing date: Friday 16th September 2011.

We've just heard that Gransnet, the new social networking site for grandparents, will make the survey their campaign of the week. Gransnet is a site that discusses everything from politics, health to memories of childhood games.


Come to THE family and friends care fun day

Family Rights Group is running a family and friends care picnic in the park for family and friends carers and their children on Wednesday 17th August in Peterborough. There will be games and free icecreams all round and the opportunity for children and carers to meet each other. Plus an expert FRG adviser will be on hand to provide face to face advice to carers. Ring Chris on 01733 751531 to book a place.

Cooking Class 012Jamie O step aside - grandads carers attend a cookery course in Peterborough run by the local support group


Forthcoming training

A legal and practice update for Independent Reviewing Officers and other social care practitioners responsible for looked after children

22nd September 2011, London

Three day Family Group Conference training for new co-ordinators

27th, 28th, 29th September 2011, London

10th, 11th, 12th October 2011, Manchester

An introduction to child care law for voluntary sector workers and advocates

5th October 2011, London

Family and friends care assessments: using the FRG form

12th October 2011, London

Parental advocacy in the child protection process

19th October 2011, London

Advanced child care law and practice

9th November 2011, London


Family Rights Group's 2011 Fundraising Dinner

We are delighted that our after dinner speaker is Polly Toynbee, Guardian Journalist and commentator, on the subject of "Families in need - what governments should do".

The dinner is 7pm 10th November in central London. Tickets cost £48 per person for an excellent 3 course meal, glass of wine and coffee.

For more information and how to book a place please click here.

Polly Toynbee
Polly Toynbee

Run for a great cause 

We still have spaces for the London Royal Parks half marathon on 9th October 2011. Do let us know by 17th August if you'd like to participate. Thank you to Nicola Collins and Matt Craven for running the 10K for FRG in July.

Monies raised from the dinner and runs will go towards setting up local support groups for family and friends carers and towards running family fun days for the children.

FRG 10k running teamFRG past running team



Latest news:

An accreditation framework for FGC projects

Family Rights Group is convening a development group made up of family group conference projects across the country, to develop and trial an accreditation scheme for FGC projects, to ensure high, consistent standards. The group is chaired by Dr Louise Brown. We will also be interviewing judges, local authority commissioners, young people and families as part of this work.
Click here
to read more.

Welfare Reform Bill

Cathy Ashley, CE of Family Rights Group gave a presentation on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance to interested peers on the potentially severe impact of measures in the Welfare Reform Bill on some family and friends carers, including the effect of the benefit cap. There was considerable concern from peers, who we will be working with Family Rights Group and the Kinship Care Alliance to propose amendments to the Bill.

Family Rights Group is also supporting the Children's Society led petition on opposing substantial cuts to welfare support for disabled children under the Universal Credit.  The new system, proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill will result in many of these children losing up to £1400 per year compared to the current system - by the time a disabled child reaches 16, this could cost the family £22,000. In total the Government estimates that 100,000 disabled children would lose out under this change - other estimates suggest the number could be considerably higher.  Please click here to sign the petition.

Parliamentary working group on family and friends care

We are setting up, on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance, a working group of MPs and Peers on family and friends care. Be sure to encourage your MP to join the group – they can contact to find out more.

Family and friends care policies – must be in place by 30th September

As a result of considerable lobbying by Family Rights Group, new families and friends care guidance was issued by Government, which requires local authorities to have a policy in place by 30 th September for all children being raised in family and friends care. Keep an eye on our website - we are putting links to authorities' policies as they are published and are particularly interested in those who are leading on best practice. So if you work for a local authority, please do email your policy or weblink to


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