This month, we’re shining a light on the individuals who recognised their own potential for fostering and focussed that on becoming exceptional carers.
Regularly, those that enquire about becoming carers already have experiences that form great foster carers. Many people know they want to foster, but rarely do they acknowledge the wealth of experience that has informed their will up to that point.
This series of personal stories from our carer group shine a light on how recognising their own transferrable skills helped push them towards a fostering career with us.
And to start the series off, we wanted to celebrate our social worker extraordinaire and foster carer Liz, who works in our South Central Team.
Liz has worked in social care for over twenty years and in her previous role, managed a large fostering service. She recalls how the stress of trying to recruit foster carers shifted her mindset.
“I enjoyed the job so much…. But meeting the demand for loving homes for children made me really consider putting my money where my mouth was
Utilising her wealth of experience in the sector not only meant Liz had a head start in providing foster care, but was able to make a tangible difference for the vulnerable young people she dealt with daily.
Regardless of this head start, the decision to foster was still a tough one to come to. Managing a fostering agency is by no means a walk in the park and requires dedication that stretches way beyond a 9 to 5, maintaining both would have been an impossibility.
“I decided to cut my working hours and move to a more flexible, less stressful job so that I could give more time to my fostering.”
The ability to cut back on her work schedule in order to become a carer herself also meant a cut to her pay, however, Liz adds
“After a bit of financial reflection, I decided to cut my hours to make the fostering work and I have never regretted the decision”.
Liz exemplifies what it is to dedicate yourself to young people in need – not only in her career as a social worker, but her decision to put into practice her years of experience.
“It can be challenging but I can fall back on my skills from years working in a caring profession and I also get great support from other carers and the fostering service.”
And her advice for others looking for a vocation that supports you as much as you support others?
“Don’t be scared to make that first contact with a fostering agency you are not making any commitment by just making contact, if they don’t make you feel comfortable right from the beginning it’s not the agency for you!”
Taking the first step and making an enquiry can feel daunting. With the wealth of agencies and local authorities vying for your attention, it’s important that you go into the process without fear! And certainly don’t settle for the first agency you come across as each service will bring something different.
When completing your research, note the factors that are important to you and ask as many questions as possible.
Liz is absolutely right, an enquiry is no commitment or waste of time when coming from the right place. With an attentive agency or charity, they’ll ensure you have all the information to make an informed decision. The rest, we work through together.
If you’d like to find out more and discover your potential for fostering young people – contact us today!