Foster Carer Stories
Hearing from foster carers first-hand can make a big difference when it comes to people’s pereption of fostering.
Some people think they can’t foster, or think they need qualifications. Some think they don’t have enough time or they can’t afford it. Fostering is a vocation that pays career level earnings and requires no qualifications. Providing you have a spare bedroom and time to care for a child, you could become a foster carer.
Naomi and Dave
My husband and I initially began thinking about fostering after having our two children; at the time they were 2 and 3 years old.
It had long been a dream of mine to offer a child the security of a loving home and I was very lucky that my husband also shared my view.
We chose to foster with Family Care because of its friendly close-knit feel. The assessment process took some time but it was thorough and it was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it might be. We had support and guidance from a wonderful social worker, who was open, honest and always available to us during the process. The ongoing training that Family Care deliver has helped immensely with understanding and supporting the young people that have come into our care.
Once we were approved it didn’t take long for us to have a child matched to us.
Our first placement was a 13 year old girl who stayed with us for 12 months. My children loved having a big sister around. We’re now 10 years on and we are still in contact with her!
Our second placement was a 9 year old boy. Over the 9 years he has lived with us he has grown and matured into a wonderful young man. With our support he has managed to succeed in everything he has put his mind to. He is currently undertaking training with the RAF, an achievement by anyone’s standards.
Fostering is challenging; it’s hard work mentally and emotionally but there are rewards in bucket loads if you can stick with it – it’s changed our lives.
As foster carers we feel we have made a real difference to two children’s lives. We have given them safety, security, love and understanding when they have needed it most and for that they have made the massive step of accepting us into their hearts.
Jen and Damian
Before fostering we worked full time. I worked for a global company and Damian worked as a manager for a truck parts company. In addition, we also ran a children’s club for 9 years at a local church we attended near a local council estate.
Before deciding to apply to be foster carers we had always volunteered with groups that worked with children. We found we especially enjoyed working with children who may not have always had an easy start in life.
For 8 consecutive years, we spent our summers in Romania working with street children or taking part in summer camps up in Taut, with children from deprived areas and with troubled backgrounds. We also spent time living in their communities building up relationships with their families too.
Our motivation to foster was simple…could we proving a safe, secure loving home? Yes we could.
Our son had left home for university, we had a spare room and it was always something we had been interested in. Ultimately our goal was to be the last family a child in care would have; only leaving us to go on to independent living or to an adoptive family.
We found the assessment process, interesting, challenging and rewarding. Family Care were brilliant and supported us every step of the way. The insight into our own lives and life experiences provided by the assessment really helped to prepare us for our journey into fostering.
Being foster carers make us feel blessed and very honored to be able to encourage, develop, support and love a young person.
It’s a challenging job but the reward in seeing your young person grow and thrive is priceless.
Lynn and Steven
We had thought about becoming foster carers for over ten years. Some of the things that made us hesitate were concerns of what people would make of our past experiences, our doubts as to whether we would have the skills to be successful, our worries about the practicalities of becoming foster carers and the inevitable negative stories of fostering that we came across when researching.
The main things that motivated us to become foster carers were our own childhood experiences, reassurance from friends and family initially and then positive reassurances from the team at Family Care. We researched many fostering agencies and quickly made our mind up that Family Care would suit us best, due to the ratio of personal support and they would give to us in comparison to other agencies and Local Authorities.
The whole assessment process and training was carried out professionally and thoroughly yet we were able to have a number of laughs along the way. None of our questions were treated as silly or irrelevant, the quality of the training was good and when we asked to take a break during the process, Family Care supported us and never put pressure on us at any time.
Being foster carers has changed our lives and has provided us with many happy family memories, has given us opportunities to experience new things and build on our skills. Fostering is 24/7, demanding, hard-work but the benefits you can bring to young people’s lives and futures by far out way any problems you encounter along the way. Remember, you will always have a professional team behind you, every step of the way.
So what are you waiting for? Apply now and become part of this professional team.
Nicky and Richard
We always said fostering was on our bucket list of things we wanted to do.
I was a teaching & learning support assistant in a school supporting a looked after child one-to-one. The positive feedback for the work I did really got me thinking about what it would be like having a foster child as part of our family.
I saw Family Care advertised on Facebook and messaged them straight away. We had a few concerns about my husband’s health which we were upfront about, and this was dealt with very professionally.
Dave arranged to visit us and explained all about the application. It was very clear and concise and we decided straight away that we wanted to proceed. We didn’t consider any other agency as we liked what we saw and Family Care had such a family, nurturing feel.
Dave suggested that if the health side was what we were most worried about then the medical checks could be done first, and we passed the medicals with flying colours!
Rob completed our assessment and we clicked right from the start. We were aware that the assessment would be very in depth and honesty was a must, which goes without saying.
Although the assessment at times felt intrusive, we could understand the reasons why. We would be looking after a very vulnerable young person and it would be crucial to examine our suitability for this vital role.
When we were approved it was one of the best moments of my life. We felt supported all the way through and were so excited to get started. Since then we have supported 3 young people. We started with a short breaks placement upon Family Care’s recommendation, and have gone from strength to strength.
We were told from the word go that our supervising social worker (SSW) should always be our first port of call to keep them in the picture. Any concerns we had, however big or small, our SSW would be available for us.
At Family Care there is an extended team of support – not just our SSW, but the family support worker Jess as well as the therapist Jennie who supports with TACs (Team Around the Child meetings).
Fostering like any job has its highs and lows. I would be wrong to say it’s all rosy, but the good days far out weight the not so good. I love the fact that I am living my dream and making a difference to the life of a young person. I would highly recommend it.
Amanda and Stephen
From our initial enquiry with Family Care I cannot praise them enough. I had looked into fostering the year before but I couldn’t find a company that had the same morals as we did, I wanted to feel safe and part of a family-run service and then I spoke to Matt on the phone as a general enquiry and every box was ticked for us.
They have a very friendly professional team but with so much more, they had everything covered from the expertise and resources to the training we needed to help us help the children we would be looking after, not many can offer that and trust me I had looked into it.
My other half wanted to foster although he was not looking forward to The Skills to Foster™ training, but we had already met the trainers and I knew it would be fine. As always, I was correct – his words not mine!
We both learnt so much even after all the research we had done. I never felt like anything went too fast, it was all explained in such a way that was true to life. After the training was done, the assessment sessions were next. Every stage was explained and every i dotted and t crossed, the whole process was made so very transparent and clear.
As we passed each stage my perspective totally changed as to how I thought about fostering. I thought I could just love them all better and although unconditional affection is a massive part of it, we learnt that their needs would become our first priority, not ours. Sometimes that is the hardest part.
Then we got to panel day. Never have I been so stressed as I had never wanted anything more! But the panel were so lovely and when we passed I wanted to kiss them all (I didn’t). I don’t even remember the drive home the relief we felt was overwhelming and it took a few days to sink in that we had finally done it.
After being approved the placements team did their job and found perfect matches for us. We were sent 2 referrals but they didn’t come to us, then after accepting our 3rd referral the local authority selected us and the children arrived the next morning. All this just 3 weeks after passing panel.
We now have a 2-year-old boy and his 3-year-old sister and how my life has changed. The first night my hubby said, “I’m nearly 50 and we have nappies again in our front room”!!
Life is good, my fosterlings are really coming on! 3 months in and smiles all round!!