Emma’s Fostering Blogs are by an experienced foster carer who gives you an honest and revealing insight into the ups and downs of foster care. A great resource for other carers and those interested in becoming carers.

Fostering Blogs

Blogs | Crucial support

Emma’s Fostering Blog

‘Crucial support’ 

Often carers discuss support and this is crucial for the job we do as we have children living with us which means dealing with a range of overwhelming feelings at times.  Support from people who have experienced first-hand about what it’s actually like and how hard it can be at times.  I liked going to my support group, and at times when it was hard I almost felt like giving in, but after listening to others I often came out thinking my problems were not as bad as theirs.

It was during my second year as a foster carer that one morning I just felt at the end of my tether. I had enough of the constant wetting from James and his refusal to go to bed, I had a change of Social worker and I just felt he wasn’t listening and I felt unsupported. 

I remember listening to another carer in the group who had a child that constantly smeared and she had just found lots of faeces wrapped in toilet paper behind her sink, she was really struggling and began to cry and all the carers were supportive, encouraging and knowledgeable in helping her. Those carers became my support network. I never got to tell my story it didn’t seem as big an issue as hers, and I didn’t give in, in fact it gave me the strength to know that I could see this through, as it wasn’t as bad as I thought and determined to get a positive result.

A whole new culture crept into fostering. Instead of support groups they became information groups; honestly they could quite easily give us the information during supervision. The attitudes changed within fostering teams, from once being part of a fostering family, we were now being separated from one another, no longer allowed support groups in carer’s houses. The relationships and trust we had built within our own particular groups changed as minutes were now taken, so there were trust issues as carers felt judged or viewed as struggling. Foster carers were unhappy but FSW frowned upon any one that spoke out of turn about the changes, bullying and frozen out for speaking up.

Some carers resorted to having their own secret Facebook group, coffee mornings and social gatherings. However there was a huge problem with this as it meant some less experienced carers were not able to be included so they became isolated and began working in a different way from the older more experienced carers. I believe it hasn’t changed, but for me I am happily attending a support group where I can be honest and open with others, there are no minutes, a SSW who totally gets it; encourages honesty and discussion in a non-judgemental way.

My thoughts are support from other carers is invaluable and most importantly they should be led by foster carers and encouraged to speak up.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Blog | Foster home

Emma’s Fostering Blog.

‘A Foster home.’

It’s true, being a Foster Carer does take over you and your family’s life, however it sounds like a cliché but it is rewarding and fulfilling knowing you are helping a child, and gives you a purpose for life.

Just seeing that change and that difference that we make to children’s lives, watching them achieve in becoming confident young people and supporting them on the next part of their journey as Care leavers, it’s amazing! You have to put yourself in the child’s shoes to really appreciate how difficult it is to suddenly be pulled out from your family and everything you know, to arrive at a house, a stranger’s house, and the door is opened by someone they don’t know, often in an area new to them, with different family values it is so difficult for them.

It’s strange for everyone; a new person in your home, building that relationship new routines, having different things to worry about. Then once you have built some trust, in time, they are settled in your house, feeling at home and part of your family, looking healthier, safe and sleeping soundly. It is the best experience and a really nice feeling knowing you are making a difference to a young person’s life like that. I have been a Foster carer for many years and decided to Foster when my own child became a teenager. I enjoyed being at home especially having all the School holidays. My first Foster placement was just meant to be short term but he stayed for a couple of years until he became 18 and went home.

Over many years I have felt so very privileged to have been a part of many children’s lives by giving them a home.. Being part of children’s hopes and dreams and making them happen, watching the great achievements, however small and growing and developing into young adults. I have learnt so much, each child brings something new and gives me so many memories that will stay with me forever.

Each day I have been consistent and have persevered. I do everything in my power to help them have a good life full of love fun achievements and boundaries  in giving them the chance to succeed in life and grab the opportunities along the way. In my experience all children need to feel happy, wanted, loved, listened to and to feel safe. To be a Foster carer means it’s your job to help them feel like they belong with you and support them as you would your own child. They have their their own birth family too, that’s really difficult for them.

My thoughts are that there are many reasons why children come into Foster care; we have to be non-judgemental towards their parents. This is a skill, and important for building relationships as communication with parents on child care matters when needed is relevant to the child.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Rhianna

Emma’s Fostering Blog.

Rhianna.

Rhianna was 11, refused to go to School, now permanently excluded, she had disrupted every class and her learning and social skills were poor; I was even refused 6 hours a week respite! 

She was challenging and complex and was reported as ‘missing’ from Foster care.  Rhianna wore her hoody down over her face and found eye contact difficult and it was clear from the start that she had very strong views about her identity- hair short and dressed as a boy.

I actually felt things were improving slightly, she seemed settled, chatty and no longer wore the hoody, then one night she didn’t come home so I made some calls, went out to look for he then later I phoned the duty team, and reported her missing to the police. I was contacted later by someone who claimed she was at their house, when I arrived I felt out of my comfort zone, it was very intimidating. Then every night we were ringing duty and the Police.

One evening we saw her get out of someone’s car, she told me they were her friends, but I knew they were encouraging her to stay out. The Police and her Social worker tried to talk to her but it didn’t help, her attitude changed, she had all ‘new friends’, the hoody was back and it seemed she was in the same dark place that she had come from.

We didn’t feel supported, no one seemed to care, she had been let down before and it was happening again so eventually we had no choice but give notice, she was breaking down the placement and we couldn’t keep her safe, so she moved. That placement broke down, she was homeless and in the emergency bed. I got a call from duty Social Worker as they were desperate to find Rhianna a bed for the night. It was difficult, I couldn’t say no, I felt sorry for her, but I made it clear two weeks tops as I had a holiday booked, duty assured me they would find a suitable home before then. I was told to keep her in 24 /7 as I needed to keep her safe. Two weeks were almost up; I worried as I still hadn’t heard anything despite many times calling them. On the holiday day 9am the Social worker came, as we packed her belongings into the car, I was told they hadn’t been able to arrange anywhere.

Later Rhianna phoned me to say that she had been dropped off in town until 4 o’clock, left to walk the streets.  I was so upset, this was so wrong, let down again by me!

My thoughts are Rhianna needed therapeutic help, they wouldn’t listen, and they wanted me to hold her.  I found it impossible to work with this Fostering Social Worker, our professional relationship had diminished, and there was no trust now.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!