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I spoke to James’ (name changed) Social Worker today and we had a long and detailed chat regarding the situation of his Mum asking him for money.

She had already spoken to his Mum to tell her to stop but, obviously, Mum was taking no notice. The Social Worker has said that we will call James tonight to discuss the situation and find a way forward.

Had a nice chilled today, went to the gym, did some shopping and grabbed a coffee and watched the world go by. I think it’s really important to grab some relaxation while you can, when fostering. It’s easy to get caught up in the events that happen every day and to forget yourself.

Your own health, physical and mental, is very important and you must ensure that you have time for yourself. When I was married we would take ourselves off for a spa day at the end of each placement just to recharge our batteries and clear our heads.

When I first started fostering alone it was very easy to forget about myself and end up stressed and unhappy so I’ve learnt to ‘self-help’ and focus on myself when time allows. Because of the nature of fostering and the fact that it is really a 24/7 profession it can be easy to get burnt out.

I have seen many carers leaving after a couple of years because of this, which is a shame, given how there is such a lack of carers at the moment. I’m hoping that the current situation, with Covid, can actually encourage those who have become unemployed to consider a career in fostering. But it has to be sold in a different way.

It has to be presented as a career in which you need many different skills and a good amount of life experience.

My own local authority sells it as ‘have you got a spare room?’ and I actually cringe every time I see one of their posters. Basically it’s saying that that’s the only criteria you need to become a Carer. It brings me back to the days when you were not considered a ‘professional’ and weren’t invited to ‘professionals’ meetings. Fostering needs to be presented as a career in a similar vein to other careers.

You go through a lot of training to become a Carer and you have to use a lot of skills in order to carry out your everyday duties.

If I ran a Fostering Agency or I was involved in Carer recruitment now would be the time for a concerted effort to get the word out there.

James came home and was in a good mood. I told him that his Social Worker was going to call and he rolled his eyes. She rang, as promised, and they spoke for about 30 minutes. I left them to it.

When the conversation was finished he handed the phone to me and the Social Worker told me that they had agreed that she would tell Mum that there were certain times when she could contact James and that he would not take calls from her outside these times and that her number would be blocked between these times.

I spoke to James and he was very happy about this as the whole situation was stressing him out.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.