What Fostering Means to Me
—Jack, Foster a Future carer for Newcastle City Council
Fostering is the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever had, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It was something my partner and I had considered for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what kind of experience we needed to have or what kind of questions they would ask. Friends had mentioned they thought I’d make a good foster carer, especially with teenagers since I was able to get along with their children so well. I’d always wanted to help children, but before I fostered, I didn’t have much professional experience taking care of them. When I first decided to call, I spoke with someone straight away who understood my apprehension and put me at ease. They told me about the assessment process and why they need to be so thorough and they asked me questions about me, my family, my situation and why I wanted to do this. Then a social worker came to see us in our home and was so understanding and encouraging and told us all about the support available to foster carers through Newcastle City Council. We both felt this was the right place to realise our dream of caring for children.
The training has been superb from the outset. I feel like I have greater insight into how the children in my care must feel when they are fostered. It helps me support them and understand how their past experiences have shaped them, but by being resilient and reminding them how much we care about them, I have seen so many encouraging changes in the two boys I look after. The oldest has just accepted a place at university and I couldn’t be prouder, especially since he had no interest in education when he came to live with us at 13.
One of the things I hadn’t considered when I first thought about fostering is how many people there are around to offer help and support. Every child has a social worker, but I have my own as a carer, too. There are professionals available 24/7, but it’s other carers who can sometimes offer me a listening ear and understand my experiences better than anyone else. I finally feel part of a community.
When people ask me why I foster, I look at the boys, my boys, and I think, ‘how could I not?’ For all the challenging moments, there are countless rewards. I know these children are happy and safe because of me and the effort I make every day. Sometimes I wish I had thought about this earlier in my life, I could have already helped so many children by now, but I don’t think that way for long. I began my journey at the right time for me and my family and I can never regret that.
If you would like to start your journey to foster, enquire here