Kay & Rick’s story

Kay & Rick have been fostering with Jay for over 5 years and we were delighted to present them with our Carer of the Month award for April before they went off on holiday. We asked Kay to share the couple’s story about becoming foster carers:

“What made you and Rick decide to become foster carers?”

“From a child, I had always had the opinion that there were so many children in the world that needed people to open their homes and hearts to them; making them realise that they could fulfil their dreams and were worth loving.”

“How long did you think about fostering before you applied?”

“We initially looked at fostering when our daughter was 14 years old – that was back in 2003. At that time, our daughter did not feel she would be ready to accept another child into the home. As a family we had always agreed that we would relook at fostering when the time was right. We started back on the journey 10 years later in 2013.”

“Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?”

“I don’t think we did as much as our family and friends did, as they all had heard horror stories of what the experience would be like for us. We attended the Skills to Foster training and got an insight as to what the world of fostering could look like. It was frank and a no-frills perspective and it gave us plenty of food for thought, but knew we could make a difference.”

“What did you do before you fostered?”

“Prior to fostering both of us had spent our whole working careers within Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. Rick was a Station Manager at Hastings Road Fire Station and I headed the Emergency Fire Control. We both loved our jobs but with Rick retiring we decided it was the right time for us to embark on a new adventure. Our daughter was still at home and now worked as a nurse in the accident and emergency department.”

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

“We both had huge amounts of life skills; we had come from a structured environment, with crisis management on a daily basis and had a wealth of compassion for others. We respected different cultures and the differing values of others and had learnt to be non-judgemental. As people we both have a lot of patience, caring and understanding and a whole lot of love to give even on the toughest of days.”

“What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?”

“I suppose it is always the little things; the look when our girls need that encouragement and reassurance. The school concerts when they beam with smiles and stand on stage waving wildly to us. Hearing the giggles as Rick performs his shadow kick boxing when they are worried about the dark. Listening to their rubbish jokes and pretending they are hilarious. How we have earned the trust and love of our two little girls that have had a troubled start in life. When they thank us for loving them and seeing them start to believe they are worth loving. Having just gone on holiday and for the first time in 5 and a half years have our daughters show no anxiety, enjoy every moment they spent with us and having fun simply priceless and gave us that realisation of how far we have come.”

“What has been the most difficult part of fostering?”

“For us we have had so many difficulties and frustrations. We have had to fight every step of the way to ensure our girls get the best of everything and the voice of the child is heard. In Skills to Foster training, some of the challenges that we could expect from placements were explained, with the idea that you would only experience one these during a placement, but we have had the full spectrum in abundance. There have been days when we felt we couldn’t go on; we have questioned how two children can make us feel like our lives are spent on a rollercoaster and we been sick of the sound of our own voices repeating ourselves over and over again. For us, the biggest realisation is that we cannot fix everything, but we will try our hardest to keep our girls safe, happy and growing into independence with positive perspective of life.”

“What support do you receive from Jay?”

“We have to give a huge shout out to Paula, our Supervising Social Worker. She has been our rock, our shouting post, our friend and a fantastic professional. When times have got tough, she has taken control, took responsibility away from us and dealt directly with other agencies. Her main priority has always been us as the carers, making sure we are OK. I sometimes feel, that without her help, the placement may have broken down.

I recently undertook the Carers Academy training which was excellent. It gave so many insights into our children’s lives and Mandy our trainer could impart her own experience of being in care which made the input come to life. Rick has now got his name down for the same course.

We must also say a big thank you to all team members of Jay Fostering. As a team of people, you are compassionate and caring individuals that deal with difficult situations on a daily basis with professionalism and a smile.”

“Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?”

“This is a difficult question as our journey has sometimes been a hard one. We would never discourage people from fostering but we would have to be honest about the challenges you can face as well as the good things about fostering.

“Thank you for the recognition of our professional conduct – it means a lot.”

And thank you Kay & Rick. Giving you Carer of the Month is the least we can do. Your commitment and passion towards the to the girls in your care is admirable – Jay Fostering.

Maxine & Martin’s story

Maxine & Martin have been fostering for 15 years and they are the latest Jay carers to be awarded our Carer of the Month. When we visited their home to present their award, we talked to Maxine about how the couple had come to foster.

“Martin & I had been thinking about fostering since we married, two years earlier. It was something we were interested in as we had always wanted to have children in our lives and had not yet had our own.”

“Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?”

“Yes, more apprehension than reservations and then there was excitement too. I recall the nervousness of our very first open evening and the information overload, that took a while to digest. We applied to our Local Authority to start with and went through, what was then, a lengthy process, although it is much quicker these days.

And then, surprise! I became pregnant with our first child – we were shocked but so happy!”

“Maxine, what did you do before you fostered?”

“Ha ha – here goes! You’ll wish you never asked!

I’ve had a variety of jobs throughout my life ranging from full time overlocker, to shoe maker, a fresh meat packer at the cattle market and a chambermaid abroad. I’ve also waitressed in restaurants and worked in food factories. I was even a part time model – this raised some eyebrows!

We moved to our new house in a small village and I changed my job, as the travelling was too far, and gained employment at a label manufacturing unit, I then worked in an office as an admin assistant.

I left this job on maternity leave and after giving birth became a Community Carer (young and old service users) and trained as a classroom assistant.”

“And Martin?”

“Martin trained as an electrician, worked in a food factory (this is where we met) progressed onto an Electrical Engineering Manager which he is still is today, as well as well as my support as a foster carer. Definitely a team effort.”

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

“Our job roles in the past reflect organisational skills, good time keeping, listening and being of a kind and caring nature. Following the company’s rules and policies. Being peace maker, being hands on when it comes to tasks and good all round “people person” with children and adults alike.

I also didn’t feel my upbringing as a child was one of the best. We both wanted better for any children around me in the future.”

“What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?”

“Making a difference to a child/young person’s life. Giving them a chance to fulfil their true potential that we could see was lacking previously.”

“What has been the most difficult part of fostering?”

“Dealing with really unruly behaviour at times and watching my own children’s reactions to that type of behaviour; things like swearing, real defiance, absconding, being destructive to themselves, others and property too at times.”

“What support do you receive from Jay?”

“If there is a problem, Jay Fostering has always been there for us as a family, as well as the child in placement.

Our meetings with our Supervising Social Worker are friendly and informal, mostly times that suit our circumstances and the child is seen in placement too.

Training is invaluable and although considered necessary, it’s also very enjoyable. I also like social side of training, where foster carers come together and share their experiences without being judged.”  

“Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?”

“Yes, as with us it works with our family lifestyle. Time is precious these days and fostering incorporates being together and traditional family values.

We have three teenagers in our house at present, one of which is a foster placement, and they are all in full-time education. Fostering gives us the flexibility to complete reports for the agency, attend meetings with the Local Authority and school too. I can also socialise with other foster carers, friends and family within school hours. We are then able to give our teenagers our full attention out of school hours, doing activities, helping with homework, attending health appointments, visiting friends and enjoying life in general.”     

Thank for sharing your fostering journey with us Maxine & Martin. You are passionate and committed foster carers and we all enjoy working with you! – Jay Fostering.

Leslie & Andy’s story

Congratulations to Leslie & Andy, who have been awarded our Carer of the Month for February 2019. They have been fostering with Jay for a year. When we presented Leslie with the couple’s certificate, we chatted about how they came to foster.

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

We had been talking about fostering for some time before we took the plunge. We had moved house and we only had one grown up daughter left at home. I was not happy in my job and was feeling that it was time for a change.

We felt that we could do our best for any child who came to stay with us whether it would be for a few weeks, months or years, it would not matter what their challenges were; we wanted to help them feel safe and comfortable while they were with us.

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

About 2 years.

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

Yes, initially we were concerned for whether we would still get time just us ‘a couple’, but as time has gone on, we have still managed to make time as we did when our own children were younger. This time we have the support of our family and friends, which has made our experiences and the children’s experience very positive.

What did you do before you fostered?

I was a community nurse

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

I feel that I have a professional outlook that helps with the legal side of fostering. I have empathy, patience and I feel that I can listen well. I have always embraced continual personal development and this is ongoing in fostering, as there is lots to learn, and it has brought a new enthusiasm. I have the experience of bringing up three children of my own and I have childcare qualifications from when I left school and when I was childminding. Life as had its ups and downs and this has made me more resilient, which will help me and the children we foster.

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

Watching children in our care feel safe enough to play and laugh. I have also enjoyed the training which I have found very useful in caring for the children.

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

Some of the children’s behaviour has been challenging and learning how to channel this in a new way has been difficult. Therapeutic parenting has been very helpful but it does not come naturally, as you are learning as you go.

What support do you receive from Jay?

We have had great support from Jay Fostering! They have been there throughout the year. We don’t know them all but when we speak to them on the phone or see them at training, they are always helpful and willing to spend time talking to you. We have our own Supervising Social Worker who does supervision with us every 4 weeks, and she has been fantastic! She has supported us through many areas, giving us advice with difficulties with the children, helping with Local Authority Social Workers and she has been there on the end of the phone whenever we need her.

The training has been really good too; there is opportunity to do a lot of different study days and it has all been relevant and well presented by enthusiastic lecturers with years of experience themselves. I have enjoyed all of them and learnt a lot from them.

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

We would recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone who felt that they could offer a safe, happy home to a child. You just cannot imagine how rewarding it can be until you do it. There are times of utter joy and complete sadness in equal measures but it is an absolutely fantastic thing to do. Thank you Jay Fostering, for helping us to become foster carers!

And thank you for becoming foster carers with us Leslie & Andy! It is a pleasure working with you both.

 

Linda & Shaun’s story

Linda and Shaun have been foster carers for 10 years but only with Jay Fostering for the last two years. Having been awarded the ‘Jay Carer of the Month’ for December, we recently chatted to Linda about the couple’s motivation to become foster carers and how they feel about fostering today.

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

‘We had a friend who had been fostering for some years, who recommended it to us. Our own two children had flown the nest and we felt we could offer a secure and happy home to children in care.’

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

‘We chatted about it on and off for about 6 months and then we decided to take the plunge and look for an independent foster care provider. We were with one agency for nearly 8 years but became unhappy. Then an old friend recommended Jay Fostering to us and we decided to transfer.’

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied originally?

‘Mainly about how our son would handle it (he was only 13 at the time), but we were able to have a preference to care for children younger than he was.’

What did you do before you fostered?

‘I was a Nursery Nurse, working full-time in reception class in a primary school for nearly 20 years. Shaun worked in sales, so he became the main carer, which he did very successfully for 4 years until I decided I wanted to do it full time and become the primary carer! Whilst he’d been at home he studied, which enabled him to have a career change and he now works part-time.’

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

‘We work well as a team and have learned to take on Therapeutic Parenting, which is very different to the way we parented our own children, but very useful, given the complexities of some of the children we have fostered.

We are creative and love to provide children with new experiences and challenges in life. We have a good understanding of child development and how to enhance this and although some past placements have been tough, we’ve learned different strategies and are constantly soaking up new information.’

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

‘Seeing the children thrive when they are given new experiences. Many children in care haven’t had positive parenting and have missed out on certain areas of development. We can promote this development by providing opportunities – woodland walks, painting, play-dough, spending time playing together and being positive. In this way, we get something out of it too! At the moment we’re working through “50 Things to do Before You’re 11 ¾”, compiled by The National Trust, which is lots of fun!

It is also very rewarding to help children get in touch with their emotions and then encourage them to understand and deal with those emotions.’

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

‘When we were with our old agency, we had some Parent & Child placements, and when some of the young parents made bad choices, I just didn’t get it and I found it hard to deal with. We hadn’t had any training on it and were the first carers in our old agency to have Parent and Child placements. I’m sure that the specific training that Jay Fostering provides, would have helped a lot, rather than learning as we went along, but I do feel we gained a huge amount of experience and were able to show parents how families can work.

Some of our other placements have been children with very challenging behaviours and it has sometimes been hard to see how we could make a difference, which is hard for all of us, but we have been well supported through these times and come out the other side!’

What support do you receive from Jay?

‘Lorna, our Supervising Social Worker, is brilliant! We couldn’t hope for anyone more supportive. She’s there when we need her and understands where we’re coming from. She’s really encouraging.

I attended the Carer Academy training which was excellent (as are all Jay Fostering’s courses!), and am looking forward to more in the future.

I am friends with other carers from Jay, and we meet over coffee to put the world to rights!! I think it’s really important that carers support each other where possible and Jay carers do this all the time.’

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

‘We are constantly recommending becoming a foster carer, and recommending Jay. Having been with another agency in the North for nearly 8 years we have seen how supportive and fair Jay Fostering agency are in comparison. They not only provide us as ample opportunities to meet and train, but also encourage children in care to meet up at different exciting events.’

Thank you, Linda & Shaun! We feel very lucky to have you as our foster carers – Jay Fostering

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.

Esi’s Story

Esi has been fostering for Jay since October 2014 and was recently awarded Jay’s Carer of the Month for May. When we presented Esi with her certificate, we asked her “how did you get into fostering?”

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

“My mum had already been a foster care for about 2/3years and I was helping her with respite care. I enjoyed spending time with her kids and playing a motherly role. I have my own experience of moving around quite a lot, living with other people when I was younger.”

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

“A couple of years after my mum started fostering, I thought to myself, I could do this but I also thought I had to be married with my own house and children or at least have children of my own first, but after having a chat with my mum and Jay Fostering, I found out anyone could be a foster carer so long as they pass the assessment process.”

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

“My only reservation, I think, was would the children accept me and would I been able to look after another person on my own full time.”

What did you do before you fostered?

“Before I decided to go ahead with the fostering process, I had just been made redundant from my admin job in a college in Birmingham and I worked part-time in an African restaurant (AGG) in Coventry.”

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

“I think from my years of living with other people besides my own family, I have learnt not to judge a book until I have read it. Also, the fact that I can speak other languages besides English, has proven quite helpful particularly with my current placement.”

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

“There’s lot to enjoy about fostering but the fact that I can give advice to a young person on which steps to take and they listen or ask me for advice is quite nice. Also, when they give you a card with a lovely note written inside or when you hear how they describe you to others, can be quite heart melting even if you’ve just had a disagreement.”

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

“The most difficult part is when the Local Authority have to change the child’s Social Worker and someone different comes into the child’s life; you can see how it affects the children.

 

What support do you receive from Jay?

“With Jay, we have to attend six core training sessions a year, as well as online training. I see my Supervising Social Worker once every month for supervision at home and attend a support group, which is held once a month for Jay’s foster carers within the same area. My Supervising Social Worker comes to PEP and LAC reviews with me for support and we communicate regularly through e-mail and text – she’s always just a phone call away. During school holidays, Jay Fostering always has events on for both LAC and birth children.”

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?

“Whenever I tell people what I do, I tell them how they can also make an impact on a child’s life, so long as they have a spare bedroom. I have also wanted to be a mother and thanks to Jay I have the opportunity to do so and make an impact in a young person’s life.”

Thank you Esi for your hard work and commitment to fostering – Jay Fostering

Sue’s Story

Congratulations to Sue for being awarded Jay Foster Carer of the Month for March 2018.

When we presented her award, we took the time to chat to Sue about how she had come to foster for the last 11 years.

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

‘My daughter’s best friend was experiencing problems with her own parents and whilst they were trying to sort it out, my daughter said to me “mum, you are great at sorting problems out and listening to kids” and the rest is history!’

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

‘The very next day I contacted Jay Fostering. I explained that I knew nothing about what to do and within no time at all I was on my way to becoming a foster carer.’

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?

‘I was quite worried about it to start with, as it is a big responsibility looking after other people’s children.’

What did you do before you fostered?

‘I worked for the Co-Op in their Goods Inwards Department. For a while, I juggled that job and fostering but eventually finished with the Co-Op to foster full time.’

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

‘A caring attitude, patience and understanding. I am a good listener and I do not judge other people by the circumstances they find themselves in. I like to make the children I look after laugh and my 9-year-old placement says I am a “good cooker”!’

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?

‘Whether it is a baby coming straight to me from hospital, a young person having trouble at home or children living in conditions they are finding hard to handle – whatever placement has come my way, I have just got on with it and adapted to their needs. This might be a challenge, but I love it!’

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?

‘Sometimes, even after you have done everything you can, a placement might breakdown. Even after all these years, it is very hard for me to handle. You have to realise that you just can’t help everyone.’

What support do you receive from Jay?

‘The support I have received from Jay has always been second to none! It’s not only from the staff at Jay, but other Foster Carers as well, providing an ear when you need someone to talk to. All of the Social Workers I have worked with have been really good but especially my Supervising Social Worker Lorna, who is with me every step of the way. Thank you, Lorna!’

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else? If so, why?

‘Yes, I would encourage people to foster. But sit back first and think about how it will fit in with your existing family. You may be the foster carer but your own family are part of the job as well!’

Any additional comments that you would like to make?

‘Just a big THANK YOU to everyone at Jay for being just a phone call away.’

Thank you, Sue! You really deserve the Carer of the Month award for your dedication and commitment to the fostering task.