The Start Talking guide is designed to support foster carers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support the children and young people they care for with relationships and sex education (RSE), contributing to improved sexual and reproductive health.
Through a partnership between The Fostering Network and the Sex Education Forum, funded by the DHSC National Reproductive Health, Sexual Health and HIV Innovation Fund, we held a series of focus groups with care-experienced people and with foster carers. The learning from these focus groups, along with a survey, have informed the development of the Start Talking guide, which aims to encourage foster carers to have confident conversations with children and young people and to access further sources of information and advice, which are signposted in the guide.
The guide covers a range of practical issues, from puberty, periods and body hair, to relationships, sex, pornography, young people with learning disabilities and LGBTQ+ and gender identities. The guide conveys a ‘can do’ message from young people, and is steeped in practical tips and advice from foster carers. It gives a clear message that openness is key and that it is possible to signal this from the first day of a foster care placement.
A series of Start Talking podcasts will be released to accompany the guide. The Start Talking guide is available to download below in PDF format.