Fostering as a BME carer
This is Stella…
Stella: We were approved in July and we’ve had our first child since September. She is coming up to two, she’ll be two next month. Love having children around, that was a big thing, that’s why we decided we wanted to do it – having lots of children around.
What do you need to become a foster carer?
Stella: I think child care experience – the more experience you have obviously the better. Part of it is being calm – it sounds silly but you need to be calm. You need to want to do it is another major thing.
Why did you choose Brighton & Hove City Council?
Stella: I looked at other agencies as well, and Brighton & Hove, I felt, needs to be accountable to other people and they are accountable to other people – to the council, government etc. – so they seemed quite safe.
What was the assessment process like?
Stella: Much easier than I thought it was going to be – much, much easier. I thought, they’re going to ask me every question under the sun – I thought it was going to be sort of kind of like interrogation, but it wasn’t. I’ve been Type 1 Diabetic for 20 years and I was concerned that would be off-putting, but actually it wasn’t – and I did ask for the diabetes to be checked very early on in the process, and they did and it was done and that was all fine and that was really, really great.
How is the training and support?
Stella: The training - I am shocked at how good it is, I am genuinely shocked at how good it is. And the support from other foster carers – it’s just immense, it’s amazing. And people will give you their phone number when you’ve met them once and you can phone them up about anything – about how you’re coping with something, about what you need to know in terms of the foster child or their experience.
Stella: It’s that seeing the difference we have made. She’s also happy and feels safe and that you can see and that’s a big positive and feels lovely.
What would you say to any Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic people thinking of fostering?
Stella: Do it – I think the children need it. I think this is an area where it often sells itself as being very diverse and culturally mixed and everything but actually there are very, very few of us, and I think these children need our input and they need our expertise on everything from experience of race issues, of racism. They need information and experience of simple things like skin care and hair care and I’ve met different religions, different races, different experiences, a whole range - but I think we need more.
How have your children adjusted to fostering?
Stella: It has done our children the power of good and they have loved having another child a lot more than we thought they would actually! Our 18 year old son who is quite shy, it has boosted his confidence and my daughter has become my almost-live in nanny because she wants to with her the whole time. They’ve loved it, they’ve really, really loved it.
Will you carry on fostering?
Stella: Yeah yeah, absolutely definitely, definitely. Yeah – I’m here now, you’re stuck with me! (laughs)