Replenish Culture, Championing the needs of black & mixed heritage children.
Who is Replenish Culture
“Replenish Culture” is a co-production between a foster carer and a social worker. Sarah Livingstone is a foster carer with over 10 years’ experience. James is a social worker with 9 years experience and was the newly appointed fostering team manager at Camden Council when George Floyd was tragically murdered (2020). Co-production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives.
After several discussions on the complex and specific needs of black children in foster care, Sarah and James decided to act. The first action did not have the desired outcome. Foster carers were provided additional funds in order to go out and purchase products for black children in their care. However, issues remained as many carers did not know where to access these products, which products to use and how exactly to use them. Sarah then put forward the idea of a gift box with products inside. The impact has been profound!
The “Replenish” logo was designed by a group of looked after children from Camden. They worked with a graphic designer to a design that is visually eye catching.
Replenish culture represents an inclusive approach to problem solving whereby there is no expert. Foster carers, young people and social workers all give their thoughts and opinions hold equal weight. This approach is empowering and supports sustainable change with buy in from all.
Replenish Culture’s Vision
- Black and mixed heritage children feel beautiful, confident and understood.
- Professionals understand the nuance of working with black and mixed heritage children.
- Foster carers, adoptive parents, Residential settings and secure settings have the tools and knowledge to meet the needs of black and mixed heritage children in their care.
What is Replenish Culture offering
- The “Replenish Culture” gift box – containing.
- Workshops & training courses for professionals, young people and foster carers.
- Consultation service on inclusion, race equality and Anti racist corporate parenting.
Black Children are overrepresented in the care system. There are some great Foster Carers out there ready to welcome them in with open arms. However, they need some help. Hair care and skin care are essential aspects of black identity. The impact of these needs not being met has been detrimental for many care experienced young people for far too long.
Foster Carers continue to do amazing work under difficult circumstances. However, the support they receive is dated. We feel there is a need for more dynamic support to enable foster carers to meet the complex and changing needs of the children in their care.
Foster Carers, Adopters, residential settings, and secure settings may need help to understand and support the needs of black children in their care. The “Replenish” boxes are an innovative way to boost the cultural competence of those involved in Corporate Parenting; ensuring that the hair and skin care needs of children in care are tended to appropriately.
Race can be uncomfortable to talk about even for Social Workers. The “Replenish” boxes are a way to begin the discussion by proactively discussing the different needs of black and mixed heritage children.
Foster Carers were feeling vulnerable and unsupported around looking after children who identify as black. We realised that there are some gaps in the available support re looking after children from diverse backgrounds.
Children develop their sense of identity from the environment in which they live and the role models and relationships that are significant in their lives.
The development of a positive racial identity is extremely important to the overall wellbeing of a child or young person, and a positive identity is unlikely to be acquired without positive support and reinforcement.
Care experienced children often face a number of challenges with identity as they have been separated from their birth families. Black and mixed heritage children face the added challenges linked to racism and discrimination in society. The intersection of these two positions creates a set of needs that unless proactively addressed may lead to overwhelm for young people.
The Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 reinforce the development of identity and self esteem as fundamental to the fostering task.
STANDARD 2 – Promoting a positive identity, potential and valuing diversity through individualised care.
Article 20 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “Children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language”.
Who is eligible?
The principal beneficiaries of these boxes are children in care, foster carers and adopters. However, they are amazing!! So we want anyone and everyone to enjoy them.
Why is it only for Black and mixed-heritage children?
Black and mixed-heritage children are overrepresented in the care system. There is a need for services to better serve this group. Identity and culture are tremendously important for black and mixed heritage children.
Do you offer the workshops to the public?
Yes, we do. The boxes are a great prompt to consider and champion the needs of black and mixed heritage children. However, there is more depth to this conversation. Our workshops and training events aim to improve the cultural competence of services and settings that work with young people.
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