What is being a foster carer like?
We love talking about fostering! But to understand what being a foster carer is really like, we’ve handed over the reins to those who know best – our fabulous foster carers and their families.
Here are some of the thoughts and comments they’ve shared with us:
What Do You Enjoy About Fostering?
There are so many benefits of being a Foster Carer. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our lovely carers had to say when we asked them what they enjoyed the most about their job:
‘Giving children stability, love and a chance to be the best they can be’
‘Giving a child a stable, safe, secure upbringing and environment to develop’
‘Being there for children through the good and the bad times, to support them and help them to develop’
‘Watching them change and grow. Seeing them achieve things that they did not think they would be able to.’
What Has Fostering Done for You and Your Family?
It’s important not to forget there is usually a whole family behind the carer. Here are some of the benefits families have felt from fostering:
‘Made us stronger’
‘Given us a sense of achievement’
‘Widened our horizons’
‘Given everybody insight into children’
‘Made us more understanding’
‘[Fostering has] brought us closer together with everyone willing and wanting to be involved in some way’.
What Has Fostering Taught You?
Each fostering journey is different. You will constantly learn and develop when taking a child into your lives. Some of the biggest lessons our carers have learned are:
‘That being in a loving family can change a child’s life’
‘To expect the unexpected’
‘To be vigilant, safeguarding yourself and the child’
‘That I can help many different people through many different situations’
‘How important empathy and inclusion are’
How Have You Made A Difference?
Being a foster carer is such a rewarding job. We asked our carers to tell us about something they have done which has made a difference to a child they have looked after.
Some of their answers were:
‘Help them pass their driving test’
‘Given a child a smile and total security’
‘Gone to court to speak up for them’
‘Took the child to a judo club, seeing how much they enjoyed it and how much they look forward to going each week’
What Our Carers Say About Us
The support network behind a foster family is so important. It can be the difference between a successful match and a child having to move on. Here at AFA Fostering, we pride ourselves on being an independent agency who carefully match the children and our carers.
We would like to share with you some of the reasons our carers love what AFA do:
‘[They] approve and retain quality care givers and (provide) support from qualified, experienced, empathetic staff’
‘Independent fostering agencies work closely with local authorities to meet the heavy demands placed on care services, which could become overwhelming without this support. They (AFA) are also there to meet the needs of foster carers and help them to develop as professionals.’
‘To act as support to their carers, listen and support changes when needed’
‘[They offer] Training, support and guidance’
‘[They are] Professional and caring, inspirational and supportive’
‘Having the support available for me to access has been really helpful as I have had some challenging times this last year. Knowing (the Placement Manager) is at the end of the phone if I need her is very comforting.’
If you would like more information about fostering with AFA, please visit our Become a Foster Carer page.
What We Do Well
We also asked our amazing carers what it is that AFA Fostering does well:
‘Good choice of training programmes ‘
‘Communication and support are second to none … hard to comment as they do a first class’ job as far as we are concerned!’
‘Communication has always been very good.’
‘We and our children are supported well’
‘As a service, I think everything is done well and the service is of a high standard, I haven’t anything that I feel could be done better that is not already being done.’
‘Great support and communication.’
‘I feel that we are always striving to be better and feel that AFA are doing the same.’
‘Consultation with all children is great, giving them a voice in the agency.’
‘You sort the children really well, always make sure they are well look(ed) after and happy.’
What Young People Say About Our Carers
With the right guidance and support our foster families become the best carers they can be. We asked the young people who we have helped match to a family what they thought of their carers, and this is what they had to say:
‘They are really nice down to earth people, not judgemental at all, which is nice because I feel I ‘ve been judged for my past for a long time now.’
‘I feel comfortable, as though I am part of the family.’
‘Where I live is caring, fantastic and superb’
‘Where I live is fun and comfortable. It’s the best!’
What Professionals Say About Our Carers
There are many people involved in making sure a foster child is happy and safe in their new homes. It’s therefore important that professionals within the industry are involved and supportive of what we do. Here are some comments made by Professionals working with our young people about our carers. These comments are a testament to our carers and we would like to celebrate them with you:
‘I feel the carers have excellent skills in managing some very difficult behaviours, these have decreased. Excellent communication.’ – Quote from child’s social worker.
‘He now feels that he is a lucky boy, doing things that a lot of other students don’t get to do. His life with (his foster carer) has given him access to all those things. This is positive as he used to dwell on the very negative side of life.’ – Quote from a young person’s teacher
‘… it has been a pleasure to see these children smile, laugh and build attachments they (have) never had with an adult.’ – Quote from the children’s Social Worker
‘I will now close N to our service due to him presenting as happy, settled and confident.’ – Quote from a child’s therapist
Our Carers’ Pledge
Finally, we would like to share the pledge that our carers have written:
Children are at the centre of our world. We will always place the child at the centre of the fostering process and aim to act in their best interests at all times.
Holistic approach. We aim to take a holistic approach to caring for our children which includes taking account of their religious, linguistic and cultural needs. We support their heritage, health, interests and education.
Integrity. We will always keep our focus on the child, doing everything we can to overcome challenges that could throw us off course.
Listening. We aim to listen with all of our senses. We understand that children cannot always articulate how they are feeling, so we need to help them get across their feelings and opinions. We aim to support our children to feel they can contribute to the discussions and decision making that affects their lives.
Development and Training. We are committed to our own personal development as Foster Carers through training and reflection during our supervision. We are open to challenge to ensure that we improve our skills and practice as Foster Carers.
Respect. We respect everyone who we come into contact with as Foster Carers, including children, birth families and professionals. We keep an open mind and welcome advice and support which enhances the care that we give to our children. We respect ourselves and our own health and well-being and are aware of when we need to ask for support in order to help us to care for our children.
Education. We will encourage and support our children to reach their full potential. We will help them to develop independence skills to make life easier for them as they grow older.
Nurture. We will provide nurturing, consistent and child-centred care of the highest quality that we can.