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Q&A with Archway Foster Carer

Q&A with Archway Foster Carer, Debbie

We talked to Debbie, a foster carer who has been with us for 3 years, about her experience of fostering. Debbie is a calm, empathetic and accommodating individual which means that she takes a very measured and well-thought out approach to her role as a foster carer, always focusing on the child’s best interests. Here’s what she had to say about her fostering journey…

3 years, with approximately 3 placements – current placement 2 ½ years.

I always wanted to do it, and have always cared for children. Our home was an open-house for our children’s friends. I even tried to start a youth club at one time but was unable to do so, so our home became the youth club instead! The rules were simple – help yourself to drinks, toast, etc. but do not lie, steal or disrespect us or you won’t be invited again.

I consider myself to be caring and passionate, I give my all to help the children. You need to give 100% in this role.

It is something that I have always wanted to do, but with 4 children we needed to wait until they were grown-up to have the space to do so.

Nothing in particular, I was already well experienced because of my role as a mum!

None as the assessment process and training to become a foster carer was very thorough and addressed any questions that we had as we went along.

Firstly, our foster child comes first and my family cares for her too. Also, I really enjoy all aspects of the training I receive.

Seeing our foster children develop, grow and learn to be happy.

Every foster carer will meet challenges along the way. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but you do need to be open-minded and open-hearted, putting the child’s needs first. You have to try to expect the unexpected – as you would with any child.

My entire family are fully supportive and because fostering was something that I wanted to do for such a long time we ensured everything was in place for us prior to taking the first steps. Fostering has made us an even happier family, happy in the knowledge that we are helping a young person in need.

Absolutely – 100%. Any child has their unique traits and personality so you need to get to know each other, but fostering has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve ever faced.

Discuss fully with your family and even your friends – you will need their support. You must have your family on-board first.

Take great care over the decision to foster as ultimately it is a child’s life you are dealing with. It’s important to remember that the breakdown of a fostering placement will have a detrimental impact on that young person – they need stability.

I would because I have done it and found it so rewarding. But I do appreciate it’s not for everyone.

I can always pick-up the phone to my Supervising Social Worker or any member of the team to discuss any issues that arise. I feel well supported. You need a good team behind you – this massively helps facilitate placement stability.

The Supervising Social Workers provide a solid foundation of support where there is no such thing as a ‘silly question’, they are there 24/7 to help and provide assurance. They can also facilitate additional help (such as support from the Agency’s Clinical Psychologist) to better understand the young person in placement and develop the appropriate skills that are specific to the particular young person’s needs.

Also, training is key. It doesn’t matter what you know instinctively – you still need the training whether it is just for the confidence to know that you are doing the right thing, but also to have the knowledge that you are doing all you can to help your young person. You can’t have too much training or attend too many courses in this role!