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Facebook Tops List of Sites Used for Online Grooming

June 18th, 2018

Figures show that since April 2017:

  • 32.6% of grooming cases involved the use of Facebook
  • 18.8% of grooming cases used the Facebook owned apps Instagram and WhatsApp
  • The second most-used app in grooming cases was Snapchat.1

Figures released by the Home Office on 26th April 2018 show that the total number of police-recorded grooming offences for the first 9 months of 2016/17, including both the offence of meeting a child following grooming and the new offence of sexual communication with a child, was 2,966. (NSPCC, 2018)

Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe online:

  • Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  • Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself.  Once you’ve put  a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
  • Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  • Never give out your passwords.
  • Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online.  Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do.
  • Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
  • Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
  • Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  • If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

 If you are a young person, carer or professional and need further support with keeping children and young people safe online, please contact headoffice@asphaleia.co.uk for more information or to speak with one of our SAFE project workers based in Worthing, London and Kent.

Slipping Through The Net – 16 and 17 Year Old Victims of CSE

June 18th, 2018

16 and 17 can be both exciting and anxious ages; about to become an adult but no longer a child, these teenagers are expected to make choices about what to do with their lives, and without the right support they could become vulnerable to CSE (child sexual exploitation).

The Children’s Society states on its website that:

“We know from our own specialist services that people who sexually exploit children particularly prey on the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds. They will go to great lengths to target vulnerable young people, using gifts, affection, money, alcohol, drugs – or the promise of love. Victims are commonly teenagers in the care system, with backgrounds of abuse and neglect, learning disabilities or with mental health problems.”

Children of any age can be victims of CSE, but young people aged 16 and 17 often find that even though children’s services have a duty to step in and provide support for them when they are experiencing serious difficulties in their lives, for many 16 and 17 year olds, support is too short term, does not help them prepare for adulthood and can disappear overnight when they reach 18.

16 and 17 year olds can legally consent to sex if they are within a healthy relationship, but because of this legality there is often a dangerous lack of understanding amongst professionals that these teenagers can also be groomed and exploited just as easily as younger children. Many older teens are not seen as victims, as it is assumed that they have ‘consented’ to their abuse.

The Law:

 

0 – 12   – Children this age are fully protected.  Sexual offences against any child under

13 are always crimes.

 

13 – 15 – Children aged 13 – 15 cannot legally consent to sex, they are protected, but

only if the defendant cannot reasonably believe the child was 16.  This is

thought of as the ‘grey age’.

 

16 – 17 – As this age group can legally consent to sex, they are only protected in very

limited circumstances e.g. cases of sexual abuse by a family member, person

in a position of trust, pornography or what used to be known  as ‘prostitution-

related’ offences.

16 and 17 year olds are just as likely to be referred into children’s services as younger children; clearly the level of need for older teens does not diminish as they approach adulthood.  However, the overall accepted referrals for this age group are 1 in 16.  Statistically, most of the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds may also be not in education, employment or training and potentially fall through the cracks in the services.

asphaleia’s safe project in West Sussex takes referrals for young people from the age of 10 up until 25.  We recognise and understand that just because the young person is an older teenager or even a young adult, this does not automatically make them less vulnerable to CSE and our support does not stop once they reach 18.

Do you know a young person aged 16 or 17, who needs support with a relationship, staying safe online or could be at risk of CSE?  To make a referral, or to find out more about our project and how we can help, please email kayjones@asphaleia.co.uk/ rubygarnham@asphaleia.co.uk or call us on 01903 522966.

  

National Volunteers Week 2018

June 12th, 2018

Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

At asphaleia, volunteers are an integral part of our delivery. In our training venture, they provide valuable classroom support that can make all the difference to those learners who can’t keep up with the pace of the lesson.

One service in particular could not operate at all without its 19 volunteers. That is the Independent Visiting Service. Part of our care venture, it is a service we are contracted to run for London Borough of Bromley.

It is a befriending service that matches one adult volunteer to a young person in care. The volunteer (IV) will visit that young person once a month and take them out to do activities. It is intended to be a consistent, supportive relationship that can make an immense difference in the young person’s life. Special mention goes to our longest serving IV, Jason, who has been visiting his young person for over four years.

All of our visitor’s offer up their time for free, whilst working full or part-time and having families or other commitments. In a recent feedback survey sent to our young people, all of them stated that having a visitor was ‘Good/Excellent’. When asked what their visitor has helped them with, some responses were:

‘I can talk to her about things.’

‘Making new friends.’

‘I managed to travel to Croydon and back by myself.’

asphaleia’s Managing Director, Laura Thorpe, says;

Significant and unique support volunteers give to our organisation in helping young people to believe in themselves and reach their potential. Volunteers are sacrificial and selfless in giving of their time,  care and effort. Generally they have busy lives and they still give more wanting to make a difference. We appreciate them and we are so glad we can support volunteers’ week to recognise and celebrate who they are. 

On behalf of all at asphaleia, we want to say a huge…

… To ALL our volunteers for the fantastic work you do with our young people.

To enquire about becoming a volunteer with us, please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk. 

What Can I Expect Once I am a Foster Carer?

May 24th, 2018

When you join asphaleia, you join a team of people highly motivated to work with children and young people. You are included in staff events, training and participate in our successful Personal Development programme.

Whether you join us as an experienced foster carer or are considering fostering for the first time, we provide the environment to help you grow as a unique individual and professional carer. We offer support tailored to your unique fostering situation that will facilitate your success.

We will provide you with training to ensure that you have the knowledge base needed to carry out the fostering task. Training will include safe caring practices, behaviour management, first aid etc, so that you know what is expected of you. In addition, you will have a Supervising Social Worker who is responsible for assessing and addressing your ongoing needs as a carer. You will also have regular supervision sessions.

If you want to make an enquiry, please call us on 01903 522966.

        

How Do I Become a Foster Carer?

May 22nd, 2018

Once you have decided to be an asphaleia foster carer and made the call to us we will arrange to visit you. Your assessment process can take up to six months. Our supervising social worker will tell you more about the assessment process at your home visit, as it can look different for each new carer.

Don’t forget, you can contact the office at anytime on 01903 522966. 

We know there is a lot of information to consider when deciding whether you would like to become a foster carer. We want to make the process as smooth for you and your family as possible.

A home visit is an informal meeting between our supervising social worker and you in your home. They last up to one hour and are booked at a time suitable to you, whether it be during the day or in the evening. Home visits provide us with an opportunity to get to know each other better, without the formal setting of an office. We will ask you questions such as why are you interested in fostering, what age group you would prefer to foster, how do your own children feel about your fostering etc. You can also ask us any questions that you have.

It is the ideal time for us to discuss with you whether application is right for you or other steps you can take to help you consider the commitment fully. Any member of your household who will be applying to be a carer (husband, child over age of 21, other relative etc) must be present at this meeting.

Whilst it is an informal meeting, your home visit is an opportunity for us to assess you. If we do not feel you are ready to proceed with an application at this point, we will tell you following this visit.

After your home visit, if you feel you would like to apply to join our agency, you will be able to do so. We will be unable to accept your application until you have had this initial home visit.

    

Who Can Be a Foster Carer?

May 17th, 2018

The requirements for becoming a foster carer are quite simple. At asphaleia, we are looking for energetic people with a passion for children and young people, as well as an interest in learning and developing their skills, being flexible, patient and an ongoing commitment to training is essential. If you think you fit what we are looking for, you could be joining our team very soon!

To be a foster carer you must:

  • Be over 21
  • Have a spare room

You can foster if:

  • You are single
  • You work
  • You rent your home
  • You have one or more spare bedrooms
  • You are in a same-sex relationship
  • You are retired
  • You have no experience of working with children
  • You have your own family
  • You are divorced
  • You would prefer to only foster babies
  • You do not have any qualifications

Please call us on 01903 522966 to find out more about being a foster carer.

    

Foster Carers Fortnight – Who Needs Foster Care?

May 15th, 2018

There are many reasons why children come into care and need to live with foster carers. All children who need foster carers will have experienced disruption and separation from their families. The time a child may stay with a foster carer will vary from a few days to a couple of months. It could be as long as a year or even longer. At asphaleia we need carers who can care for:

Teenagers

Teenagers need carers who are able to listen to them and help them make sense of the world and their role within it. Patience and understanding are crucial qualities for foster carers of this age group as is the ability to lay down clear and fair boundaries. At asphaleia we work with many nationalities of teenagers.

Sibling groups

At asphaleia we believe that where possible siblings should be kept together. At times of separation from their parents or under a severe sense of loss siblings take comfort from the stability they get from each other. Taking more than one foster child into your home may seem daunting but you will receive all the support you need.

Parent and Baby

Becoming a parent can be an overwhelming task. Sometimes parents need that extra guidance and support to help keep their baby safe.

Special needs

Some children have special needs which can be physical, behavioural or educational. Children with special needs require specialist care and attention.

To find out more or to make an enquiry, please click here to visit our website.

Cooking in Kent with asphaleia Care

May 11th, 2018

This week in Kent Outreach sessions we have taken a culinary journey to India with a curry cooking session. The young person in the session was very surprised at how simple cooking can be as well as how tasty home cooked meals are. Especially one he made! He enthusiastically prepared, cooked and dished up his curry ready to share with his housemate who eagerly waited for a taste. Since cooking sessions began with this young person, he has been independently recreating the meals we made together during sessions and teaching his friends how to cook them. He even scored himself 7/10 for his first solo attempt at a Spaghetti Bolognaise. Perhaps we have a future chef in the making!

     

During cooking sessions each young person also learns about food storage, food hygiene and how to read simple recipes. This is invaluable knowledge when it comes to cooking and helps to increase independent living skills which is the aim of outreach support. Referrals are being taken for Outreach support, for enquiries please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk. This service provides one to one support for young Asylum Seekers and Refugees, teaching them independent living and self care skills. The topics covered vary depending on the areas that the young person requires support with, thereby creating a package of outreach support that is tailored to meet individual targets and goals.

Meet Our Young Ambassadors

April 23rd, 2018

This year we launched our Young Ambassador scheme offering young people the chance to develop their skills, gain confidence and have their voice heard within asphaleia. We were inundated with applications and appointed Young Ambassadors in Worthing and Uxbridge.

Meet Rysia  

Rysia was excited to be offered this position.  Rysia showed amazing determination and self motivation during her interview. So far in her role as Young Ambassador, Rysia has been getting involved in meeting new learners and helping them with transition to class. In the next few months Rysia will be getting more involved in social media.

Meet Lauren

Lauren was appointed this month. She is very keen to show people round in the Uxbridge Open Day on the 19th April and wants to help with fundraising for the Kabor project in Sierra Leone. Lauren hopes that by being in the role of Young Ambassador her confidence will improve even more and she will get to interact with more professionals.

We wish our Ambassadors the best of luck in their new roles and look forward to updating you on what they get up to!

Big Spring Clean in asphaleia Care

April 16th, 2018

Spring is finally on its way and outreach workers in our care venture at asphaleia have been supporting our young people in semi-independent accommodation with a big spring clean!!

The young people have been putting on their rubber gloves, turning the music up, and actively scrubbing baths, hoovering, dusting, deep cleaning kitchen areas and de-cluttering their personal space.

The care team at asphaleia has also had their dusters out actively doing, showing and teaching the young people how to clean and why it is important to live in a clean house.

Here are some of the reasons why we think it important to teach our young people the skill of cleaning and also some interesting facts:

  • Cleaning is an important life skill for when the young people move onto independence and rent their own properties.
  • It is good exercise and good for your heart (did you know 30 minutes of hoovering can help you burn around 119 calories and makes a big dent in your daily step count of 10,000 steps).
  • Cleaning can boost your mental health.
  • It prevents allergies and can even boost your immune system.
  • Scientific evidence has shown cleaning and de-cluttering your surroundings regularly can be an outlet for energy and negative emotions.
  • Have you ever heard of clean house- clean mind or tidy house-tidy mind? Evidence has shown that removing dirt from our environment provides you with a more comfortable atmosphere so you naturally feel happier and relaxed.

So get your comfy clothing on, rubber gloves, turn the music up and get motivated to join us in the big spring clean!!