One year on, Foster Carer Sarah tells us how she, her husband and her two children became a fostering family...
Tell us a little bit about you as a fostering family.
We started fostering just over a year ago and about a year before that we started the assessment process. We’re a family of four; myself, my husband and our two children who are currently 11 and 7 (they were10 and 6 when we started). We’ve just finished our first placement, which lasted just over a year. The child has now moved on to his forever home.
Why is fostering right for you?
We’ve always loved having kids around, and as our kids have grown bigger and started to go to school, I have missed having children at home, and young kids running around. I love having a busy home. I love having kids around. So fostering felt like the obvious option, where we could help other children who were in need, enjoy that busy home and introduce our children to how other children are living and the other needs they may have.
How did you find the assessment process?
The assessment process was quite long but it was very thorough, and we felt it covered everything it needed to. It really gave us a good insight into fostering, but also, we felt that we managed to put ourselves across and our needs as a family. It was very flexible, and it had to work around us both working, around our children, and the intention was to be able to find the best match for us in the future. We enjoyed going to the training; the three-day Skills to Foster course was really beneficial. It gave us a nice overview of fostering and it was something that we did together. At the end we felt that the fostering team understood the needs we have as a family.
What have been the best bits?
I think having completed our first placement it feels amazing; the difference we can see in the child from the day he arrived to the day he moved on. It was amazing seeing a happy, confident child moving on to his forever home, and seeing him achieving the milestones that he wasn’t achieving when he came. By the end of the placement he’d managed to get up to where he should be with his peers. It felt such a positive achievement. Seeing our own children with the other child was magic, as they really thrived in the role. And it was our concern, how our children would react to having a foster child, and if it would be anything detrimental. But we haven’t experienced that at all and the only thing that we feel is positive. They’ve accepted that other children come from different backgrounds and they’ve just opened their hearts to him and we’re so proud of seeing our children thriving as well as the foster child.
How have you found the support and training?
There’s always been loads of support. We’ve always known that there has been someone at the end of the phone. My Supervising Social Worker has been great, she’s always been at the end of a phone to call or text or e-mail for any queries, or any support, giving me reassurance, and giving me advice. We’ve managed to access some of the training which has been great. There’s loads of training that we can get on. It’s been slightly harder with a small child, but we’ve found ways around that, having help with childcare whilst we access the training. There’s so much support, from other carers. There’s the buddy system, where we’ve been buddied up with an experienced Foster Carer who has now turned into a good friend. She’s given me so much advice and support along the way. There’s always been coffee mornings, there’s always been groups that we’ve gone to, Christmas parties, and BBQs. It’s great that we can involve our own children as well as the foster children. So we really feel that the whole family is taking part in it which has been great.
What would you say to those who may be thinking of becoming Foster Carers?
Go for it. We’ve had such a great year. It takes a lot of time to think about, but by the end of the assessment process you will know if it’s right for you. At the end of our first placement, and first year, we’re ready to go again. It was a great experience and we hope we can help another child in the same way soon.
Due to Coronavirus, our team our working remotly, but we are continuing to welcome fostering enquiries and applications because there remains a priority need for children to have safe and loving foster families. We are conducting information sessions, initial enquiries and home visits via WhatsApp, Skype and Microsoft Teams and we are working closly with new applicants to progress their applications.
Please e-mail email@example.com for details of our next virtual information session.