Dawn & Jack’s story

Dawn & Jack have been fostering with Jay for 6 years, although Dawn’s career in fostering began much earlier with a different agency.

Before she met Jack, Dawn was a host family for students and asylum seekers and she feels that it was a ‘natural progression’ for her to move into a fostering role. As a couple, they felt that they ‘had a lot of love and care to give to children’ and Dawn suggested to Jack that they consider fostering as a couple.

Dawn had no reservations at this point as she had had previous experience but it was a ‘whole new entity’ to Jack and the couple spent several months discussing all the aspects of the fostering task before Jack felt he was ‘100% sure’ that they should apply.

They each bring their own personal qualities to fostering but we asked Dawn to name some of them for us. She said, ‘organisational and administration skills, problem solving techniques, empathy and the ability to teach children and young people the life skills that they will need to move forward with their lives. It is important for them to have boundaries and guidelines in order to know right from wrong. It also helps that we both have a good sense of humour, etiquette, decorum and diplomacy skills.’

The couple really enjoy making a difference to the lives of the children and young people in their care but it is not always an easy task. It can be difficult to get the children to open up about their lives before coming into care, to enable them to get the help they need. It is also hard to get across the ‘dangers of the misuse of the internet’ and ‘helping them to understand why boundaries and guidelines are put into place’ when they may not have had them before.

‘But the support we receive from Jay is excellent. We have a fantastic Supervising Social Worker, who gives great advice and really listens to us. We have access to excellent training and we know other Jay foster carers who are always available for a chat when we need it.

We asked Dawn & Jack if they would recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else? ‘Yes! It is wonderful to look back and see how the young people in our care have blossomed and how their self-confidence has improved over time. It really is wonderful to make a difference!’

‘We love working with Jay Fostering. They are a great agency. They listen and help and always give sound advice.’

Thank you, Dawn & Jack. We love working with you too! Long may that continue, as your commitment to the fostering task is admirable – Jay Fostering.

Cheryl & Emma’s story

For the last 5 years, Cheryl & Emma have been fostering with Jay. We are always interested in how our carers came to foster. Here is their story:

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

“It is something that we had discussed in passing many times. Then we met a foster family who had a static caravan in close proximity to ours and once we got talking it became very clear that the previous passing conversations were now going to be life changing conversations. After speaking with carers and the children they had in placement it soon was clear that fostering was what we wanted to do.”

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

“Emma had periodically thought about fostering since her daughter had been born 12 years ago; Cheryl since marrying Emma in 2010.”

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

“Yes lots, mainly around the unknown of the process to become a foster carer. Who to speak to, where to go for the information to help decide if it was right for our family. Would we have to finish working? How would we manage financially if left without a placement for a length of time.? How it would impact on our birth children and our relationship, if at all. What support would be available during the application process and after?”

What did you do before you fostered?

“Emma was an Activities Co-ordinator and Holistic Therapist at a specialist care home. Cheryl was a Registered Home Manager of a specialist care home but left in 2016 to become full time foster carer along with Emma.”

What skills do you feel that you bring to the role of a foster carer?

“Life experience, an understanding of emotions and the impact of trauma. We are able to nurture personalities to help young people understand what being part of a family is like. This helps the young people we look after grow and move in to independent living. We also have lots of clinical knowledge.”

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

“Helping the young person overcome their daily challenges and the smile on their face when they do.”

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

“Frustration plays a big part when waiting for decisions or appointments for the young people especially if there are a lot of professionals involved.”

What support do you receive from Jay?

“Excellent support all round, there is always someone on the end of the phone 24/7. Everyone is supportive especially our Supervising Social Worker; it feels like an extended family around us. Training is informative and purposeful and in particular the Nottingham support group and network is amazing.”

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

“Yes, we would and we often promote being foster carers with Jay within our family and friend circle. The good times and rewards definitely outweigh the difficult times; you know you are making a difference no matter how big or small to the young person who is living with you and you are giving them something that they have never had or may have never experienced.”

Cheryl & Emma added:

“People should not be put off fostering with Jay, by the location of their head office as support groups and training venues are all local within your area. You are made to feel part of a bigger family.”

Thank you for sharing your story with us Cheryl & Emma. Your commitment to the young people in your care is exemplary – Jay Fostering.

Maria & Israel’s story

Maria & Israel have been fostering with Jay for the last 6 years. They have previously been awarded Carer of the Month with us so we asked, “how did you get into fostering?”

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

“Before fostering, we always looked after 16-18 year olds in supported accommodation. After seeing the trauma and the devastation some of the children were left with, we wanted to make a difference earlier.”

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

“Probably around 5 years.”

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

“Yes absolutely. It’s quite daunting having strangers come into your home, even if they are children, as you don’t always get to meet them first.”

What did you do before you fostered?

“We have had experience with working with 16-18 year olds who were leaving care.”

What skills do you feel that you bring to the role of a foster carer?

“We like to think that our time in the leaving care sector prepared us for most things within fostering. We have an in-depth knowledge and empathy with these children, which can help them to know that somebody does get them, even when they are sometimes unsure themselves. We have encountered self harm, ADHD, Autism and attachment.”

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

“Seeing the children change, we love taking them and doing new things with them and seeing the light come on and their faces shine.”

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

“No time off, you are always on the job.”

What support do you receive from Jay?

“Our social worker Claire is always on hand through difficult times. She needs social worker of the month too!!”

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

“Absolutely there is no better job than raising our children to become strong adults. And the smiles make it all worth it!”

Thank you Maria & Israel for all of your hard work and commitment to the children in your care – Jay Fostering.

Jennie & Michael’s story

Congratulations to Jennie & Michael for being awarded Jay Foster Carer of the Month for September 2018. They have been fostering with Jay for the last year, so when we presented Jennie with the couple’s award, we took the time to chat to her about how they had come into fostering.

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

“As a couple, we have had different life experiences that we felt would be great to bring to the role as Foster Carers. We have two spare bedrooms, love children and love being busy. When we found out more about becoming Foster Carers, we wanted that feeling you get from doing something rewarding and making a difference in somebody else’s life. Nobody asks to be brought into this world and everybody should feel safe a secure with the best opportunities in life, to make their lives what they want them to be. We felt we could make that happen and have so much more love to give.”

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

“Sadly, about two years and wish we had done it sooner!”

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

“The only reservation we had was how our own two children would adjust to it.”

What did you do before you fostered?

“I worked in a call centre & Michael was in the public sector.”

What skills do you feel that you bring to the role of a foster carer?

  • Having children of our own, we have experience of looking after children
  • Multitasking!
  • Empathy
  • Financial knowledge (setting them up for independence)
  • Domestic skills
  • Resilience
  • Unconditional love
  • And we have gained additional skills from the training courses Jay Fostering provides!

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

“Seeing the progress being made by the child/young person and the feeling that gives us. We spend a lot more time together as a family than we ever did before, which is something you can’t put a price on.”

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

“Fostering can be a little bit like a rollercoaster at times. Reaching the point when the child/Young person is ready to move on can be a proud moment, as well as an upsetting one when you have to say goodbye to them.”

What support do you receive from Jay?

“Where do I start?! The training offered to us by Jay is excellent. We have learnt so much and there are lots more courses in the diary yet! It sounds a little cliché, but Jay feels like an extension to our family. Everybody is supportive and friendly. They will listen to you moan when you need to, because let’s face it, who doesn’t need to sometimes? They will cry with you and laugh with you. That goes for our Supporting Social Worker as well as fellow Foster Carers. Nobody has ever made us feel anything other than important to them.”

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

“Definitely, in a heartbeat. It hasn’t just opened up our hearts that bit more but it has opened up our minds too. Although it is not a requirement, I decided to become a full-time carer and give up working whilst my husband still works. I am there for our own children and those who become part of our family, during all of the school holidays and that is time we can’t get back. We were apprehensive about the potential impact it would have on our own children, which we need not have been. It has been nothing but positive for our children and they look forward to “making more special friends” as they say. It has to be said that it is largely down to the amazing matching Jay do, for which they are well known.”

Thank you for fostering with us Jennie & Michael! You really deserve the Carer of the Month award.