Grant for training for foster parents

Radley Trust makes a grant to Friends House Moscow

The Radley Trust, a Quaker body in Cambridge, has agreed to make a three-year grant to Friends House Moscow to fund two projects. The first is an innovative proposal for a Foster Carers’ School in Dzerzhinsk that would offer twenty-four hours of training to foster parents; this could become a transferable model. The second is work with conscientious objectors in Kazan in the form of funding a booklet to help people to take up the alternative service option.

The Trustees have a policy of taking an ongoing interest in the projects they fund: they have met with FHM representatives and will receive feedback on the progress of the projects. They also have a shrewd understanding of the issues facing small charitable organisations and have permitted some flexibility over the use of the funding if circumstances change.

Relationships are central to the history of the Trust and the way it does its business. Tim Brown, one of the Trustees, tells the story of the background of the trust:

The Deed of Settlement setting up the Trust is dated 30 November 1951, when Philip Radley was Headmaster of Ackworth School. At that time my father was teaching Geography at Ackworth, and my parents and Philip and Myrtle Radley became good friends; I remember being taken to their house as a child. In 1940 Myrtle Radley (then Myrtle Wright) had been in Norway when it was invaded. She was unable to leave, and spent the next five years in Norway, working with Norwegian Friends on non-violent forms of resistance to the occupation. In 1944 she had to cross over into Sweden, a journey which she had helped many Norwegian Jews to make during the war. Her Norwegian Diary was published in 1974 by Friends Peace and International Relations Committee. Philip and Myrtle married in 1951, and [...] they went to work as wardens of an international student club in London, before going to look after the Quaker Centre in Cape Town, South Africa for several years, during which time they visited other parts of Africa. As Myrtle’s family home was in Cambridge, Philip and Myrtle decided to settle there when they retired. My wife and I visited them in their flat, not far from where we live, and used to see them regularly in Meeting for Worship in Jesus Lane. They ended their days in Figtrees, a Quaker Retirement Home in Cambridge.

The Radley Trust tries to fulfil the ideals of its founders, supporting projects for peace and social justice, both internationally and locally, and Quaker projects in these areas.

Daphne Sanders, Co-clerk to the Board of FHM

July 2010

Training for Foster Parents: the Project

Working in partnership with the Local Authority Fostering Department, this new project will create a 50-hour training programme for foster parents and guardians in Dzerzhinsk, where around 200 children are placed with foster families every year.

Many foster parents take on the challenging responsibility of fostering out of necessity rather than choice. Children may have been abused in their birth families or neglected, and this can result in aggressive behaviour or distrust of adults, which can be hard for the foster parents, often grandparents or aunts and uncles, to cope with. There may be misunderstandings within the family and the child is often reluctant to co-operate with teachers at school.

The basic aim is to help prospective foster parents to understand how a child develops at various ages, to give them the skills to cope with the problems that arise, and to help them to relate to the child with patience and acceptance.

The project will be run by a team of psychologists. There will be support groups and a generous amount of individual counselling. The training will include workshops and lectures, eg the section on the Foster Child in the Family covers:

  • The consequences of neglect and abuse
  • The child’s need for biological parents
  • The child’s grief at the loss of affection
  • Adaptation to the new family: difficulties, rewards, punishments, what is acceptable, what works.