Fosterman – A Fostering Blogger
The message seems to be getting through regarding men and fostering. I’ve had 2 more calls, this week, from single men looking to start a career in Fostering. One chap was in his mid 50s and had semi retired from his job as a trader in the City and wanted to find a career where he could give something back to the community.
He is a widower with 2 sons and a nice suburban house with spare space for a young person. He was very keen and enthusiastic and just wanted to talk through the whole process and what was involved. I explained the whole form F procedure and the time frame involved. I also explained about the training and basically my experience of being a carer. He asked about other people’s perception towards me as a single male carer and I replied that it was nearly always positive but that, sometimes, he could expect some negativity but not to take it personally.
We talked it through for some time and at the end of the call he said he would definitely be going ahead with it. I offered my support and that he could call me at any time.
The following day, another call! This was a chap living in inner London that had seen an advert on a bus shelter looking for carers for a local authority. He had the same questions as the other chap but also wanted to know the merits of working for an IFA or a LA fostering team. I explained the difference and how my experience of having worked for both. I worked, initially, with a London Borough who provided all of my initial training. My ex wife and I had a number of placements with them and although the experience was reasonably positive the turnover of Social Workers was horrendous and one placement had 6 Social Workers in 4 months.
We were then contacted by our training officer who was moving to an Independent Agency who asked if we wanted to transfer to them as well. We did and we appreciated the extra support and training we received from them. Having a Supervising Social Worker helped a lot and provided us with a cushion between us and the Local Authority. We chatted for a while and he appeared to be quite ‘clued up’ about what to expect.
Foster Carer Blog
I did warn him though that, unfortunately, some of the larger agencies seem to be providing a less than adequate service to their carers now and some appear to be getting too large. I know the agency I worked for has expanded many times over and that in some areas carers are leaving as there is no communication between the carers and their Link Workers.
We don’t want to cross the line, in this ‘industry’ where large companies simply go round hovering up the small agencies and, therefore, providing less choice for both carers and placements. Anyway we will hopefully be welcoming two new single, male carers to the Fostering world very soon.