There is an increasing number of children and young people in Brighton & Hove who need support, care and a loving family home. As numbers grow, so does the need for excellent foster carers, and Brighton & Hove City Council believe Police Officers have what it takes.
PC Roger Pearson has worked as a Police Officer for 18 years. He spent five years neighbourhood policing in London before moving to Sussex where he now works in the Gatwick Response Team.
PC Pearson and his wife Karen have been fostering for 4 years. Karen is the principal carer but Roger likes to get fully involved. “We try to integrate the kids into our family and treat them as our own.”
As a police officer, he has developed the skills needed to support the children and teenagers in his care. He says “I’ve dealt with many children as an officer. I was a community officer in London, and a large part of my work was dealing with young offenders and their families so I’ve had a good insight into how some children live and the problems they experience.”
He is candid and honest about the challenges he’s faced as a foster carer, admitting “it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done and it really is one of the most challenging things you can do.”
However he speaks fondly of the children he and his wife have had in their care, saying “the siblings we have at the moment are great. They bring energy and love ino the house.”
Brighton & Hove City Council believe people with careers in the Emergency Services possess the skills required to become great foster carers and Roger agrees. “You need resilience. You also need to have a way of talking because you can’t foster without being a good communicator. As a police officer you can get your head around where children have come from and get a grip of why they behave in certain ways.”
He’s had training in how to handle difficult circumstances and says “being a police officer has given me the skills and grounding to help the children we foster and an understanding of the difference a stable home can make.”
Maintaining your current career as a police officer and applying to become a foster carer at the same time is entirely possible. If you foster as a couple, only one of you need be at home as the principal carer, meaning the other can work full time. Alternatively you may both work part time and fit the needs of the child around your combined working hours. If you are able to work on a part-time basis during school hours, you may apply as a single carer of school age children. Perhaps you are nearing retirement and will soon have the time, skills, experience and energy to dedicate to a second career as a foster carer. Brighton & Hove City Council encourage getting in touch to discuss your individual circumstances.
Roger’s advice is to “talk to other foster carers, avoid agencies and go directly to your local authority because they are not-for-profit and you’ll get more support and more regular placements.”
If you'd like to find out more about fostering with us, please join us at our next Information Evening on 10th October. Meet the team, find out about what fostering involves, learn who we're looking for and how to apply. You will be able to hear first-hand from some of our experienced foster carers and ask them questions.