In this penultimate episode of our blog series, our foster parent Katrina highlights the vital role that support from AFA plays in her fostering journey and how the consistent presence of her social worker, Jag, is central to this.

She recounted her experience in a recent survey, saying, “I said consistency because we’ve had Jag… and we’ve had Jag all the way for all of our children.” Jag, she explains, knows not just their foster children but also their entire family setup. Katrina affectionately refers to Jag as a “family friend” due to the deep connection they’ve developed over the years.

From Struggle to Support: The Formation of a Family Bond

However, this relationship didn’t start smoothly. “At the beginning, I did find it intrusive, and because Chantelle was such hard work, there were times when me and Jag were at loggerheads together,” she admitted. Over time, this relationship matured into a dependable support network. Katrina praises Jag’s availability and commitment, stating that “she’s always got my back, she’s always there for me.”

A brief period of Jag’s absence highlighted her importance in Katrina’s role. Katrina found it difficult to communicate her concerns directly with the higher-ups at AFA. “I wasn’t really ringing into the bosses,” she confessed. The return of Jag was a relief for Katrina, as it meant the restoration of a familiar and understanding ear to her challenges.

Katrina emphasises how Jag’s understanding and responsiveness make her feel valued and heard. She recounted a recent incident when a relative of a foster child undermined their efforts to improve his nutrition. When Katrina raised her concern with the local authority social worker, she was dismissed, but she knew Jag would have handled it differently. “If I’d gone to Jag, she would have taken that seriously… she will just listen to what I’ve got to say and then act on it, even without telling me she’s acting on it,” Katrina stated.

In Katrina’s experience, the support from her fostering social worker Jag is exceptional and she describes it as “second to none.” Jag has been there through personal trials and triumphs, from the death of Katrina’s parents to keeping an interest in Chantelle even after her adoption. “She’s interested in Chantelle, and since we adopted her, she still asks about her all the time,” Katrina shared. This connection transcends professional boundaries, becoming more like a family relationship, a characteristic Katrina deeply appreciates.

She also acknowledges the training and support she’s received from the larger team at AFA. However, the growing size of the organisation was initially challenging for Katrina. She was not familiar with many people at the head office. This changed when she had an incident where a father was threatening to remove his child from her home. During this situation, Nikki from AFA stepped in to provide additional support, calling Katrina every few hours throughout the weekend to ensure everything was okay. “She was just lovely. She also attended some meetings alongside me during that time as well,” Katrina said.

Even during a period of inactivity, when they took a break from fostering after a trip to Australia and were waiting for their DBS checks to come in, the AFA team was regularly checking in on them. Katrina was moved by this demonstration of care for them, not just as foster parents, but as individuals. “So, it meant that they cared about us as well, which was lovely,” she reflected.

A Caring Community: The Larger AFA Family

Katrina’s experiences clearly illustrate the importance of support and consistent communication in fostering relationships. The dedication of her fostering social worker, Jag, and the whole AFA team have not only provided her with valuable guidance but also a sense of being part of a larger family 🩷🩷🩷

Stay tuned for the LAST inspiring story of Katrina’s fostering journey with AFA Fostering, coming next Tuesday!

Did this story resonate with you? Imagine the fulfilling journey you could embark on by transforming the life of a child or young person. If you live in East Anglia or the East Midlands, and can offer a spare bedroom for fostering in a caring, secure home, you already have some of the groundwork for becoming a foster parent.

With us, you’ll never be alone on this journey. We provide comprehensive training and 24/7 support to our foster parents to ensure you are fully equipped to provide the best care. Alongside the emotional rewards, a competitive allowance is also in place to help you in providing for your foster child.

Curious to learn more? Begin your fostering journey today. Simply reach out to our warm and welcoming team at 0333 358 3217 or fill out our online form. Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated and be part of inspiring conversations. So, give us a ring today and start the process that could change both your life and a child’s, for the better.