At Focus Foster Care we have an inspirational couple who have been fostering for over 40 years, R&J. They have fostered for local authorities as well as independent agencies and have been working for Focus Foster Care since our 1agency was first established in 2017. When it comes to sharing advice and giving an insight into what life as a foster carer is really like, R&J were the perfect people to ask to share their wisdom. Whilst all children are different and no placement will be the same as the last, there is a lot to be learnt from people who have been fostering for several years. R&J have cared for over 100 children, including two of their own biological children, and have supported children and young people from many different backgrounds and family circumstances. R has shared seven pieces of important advice for new foster carers and for people thinking about pursuing a career in fostering. We hope this insight into life as a foster carer helps people thinking about fostering to understand more what it is really like….
The lessons lockdown is teaching children and young people – not all learning takes place at a desk
It has been over a month since schools across the UK closed and parents and carers were given the task of educating their children at home. Whilst many parents may be thriving in their new role as teacher and their children responding well to the change from classroom to kitchen table, other families may be struggling.
The pandemic has changed so many aspects of daily life in such a short space of time and people looking after children are now being asked to do more than ever before. Parents must now juggle working from home alongside caring for and educating their children, all whilst dealing with the anxiety and stress that comes with living through a global crisis. The pressure and expectation to ‘do it all’ can be overwhelming and many carers and parents may feel as though they are not doing enough to educate their children at home. It is important for everyone to remember that children will find it difficult to learn in a stressful environment and anxious and overwhelmed parents do not make for the best of teachers. It is equally vital that parents do not put added pressure on themselves during this time and only do as much home schooling as they can without negatively impacting their own and their children’s mental health. Home should be a safe and happy space and the last thing children and their care givers need right now is to be arguing over school work
The fostering sector, Coronavirus and lockdown.
Coronavirus has changed the lives of millions of people across the world. Be it through contracting the infection, unemployment or the loss of normality and freedom through lockdown, people everywhere are being affected in many ways because of the pandemic. In the fostering sector, we are managing changes in the way we deliver our services due to the strict restrictions and guidelines put in place by the government to keep the population safe. For children in care and those living with foster families, the pandemic has caused many different challenges. At Focus Foster Care, our team, our carers and the children’s services we work alongside have all had to adapt so children are still being given the best care, their mental wellbeing continues to be protected, their learning promoted and everyone is being kept as safe as possible from Covid-19.
Why choose Focus Foster Care – benefits of fostering with our independent fostering agency
There are many things to consider when enquiring into fostering but one of the most important decisions is choosing who to foster for. Local Authorities (LA) assess and approve foster carers through the council to look after children needing homes in that specific local area. Independent fostering agencies (IFA), like Focus Foster Care, recruit, assess and approve people from various areas and work closely with several local children’s services to find the best placements for children. Focus Foster Care is an independent fostering agency helping children from many different villages, towns and cities in the West and East Midlands and surrounding areas. However, we are not the only Independent Fostering Agency in this area, so why should you choose to join our family of foster carers and not foster with a different agency? This blog post highlights the reasons to choose Focus Foster Care if you are considering a career in fostering
Coronavirus and the wellbeing of looked after children – advice for foster families
Life as a child being looked after away from home can be full of anxiety and uncertainty. A child may feel like what happens with their lives is out of their control and moving away from their birth families (even if just temporarily) can be a really scary time. With the current Coronavirus pandemic taking over our lives, I am sure many of us feel similar to these children right now: scared, anxious and overwhelmed. We wanted to write a short post today to update you on what is happening at Focus Foster Care during the Coronavirus outbreak and to share important information on how this crisis will likely impact on looked after children. We hope everyone is keeping safe and would like to remind our foster carers we are still available on the phone any time you need us.
Meet the team – Jess Rowe-Martin, office administrator
Welcome back to Meet the team, our monthly feature where we introduce another member of the Focus Foster Care team. So far our registered manager Kevin, our social worker Fiona and our supervising social worker Emma have all introduced themselves. The purpose of our Meet the Team posts is to help all potential foster carers to get to know every one at Focus and feel more at ease when making that first phone call and having their first home visits with one of the team. We understand that applying to foster can feel overwhelming and perhaps a bit daunting and we hope these posts will reassure those wanting to foster with us that we are just people too and there’s nothing to worry about. For today’s Meet the team post, we are handing you over to our office administrator, Jess.
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care
Recent research published on The Fostering Network website discovered that over 7000 new foster carers are needed in England in order to be able to meet the needs of the number of children needing care away from their birth families. There are currently 56160 children living with foster carers and approximately 44450 foster families in England, creating a significant shortfall and a need for more people to put themselves forward to care for these vulnerable children. At Focus Foster Care we are actively seeking to recruit people who want to become foster carers to join our dedicated and committed team. If you are thinking about fostering and would like to know more about the process of fostering with our agency, here is a quick guide on what you need to do and what to expect from the process.
Can I foster if..? – busting the myths about who can foster
There are many reasons why people think they won’t be suitable to foster a child and lots of the time these reasons are actually just myths. Do you want to be a foster carer but have something on your mind that is stopping you from applying? Maybe you think you won’t be allowed to foster because you are single or because you have children of your own. Whatever it is that is stopping you from pursuing a career in fostering, we are trying to sort out the facts from the myths in this post and we hope it helps to answer your questions. Can I foster if…well, let’s find out.
Meet the team – Emma Hargrove, registered manager
Welcome back to our monthly ‘meet the team’ feature. Through these blog posts we are introducing you to all the team here at Focus Foster Care. We hope by getting to know us all a bit better you will feel more comfortable and at ease if you decide to get in touch with our independent fostering agency about becoming one of our foster carers. Emma started with us a social worker and is now our registered manager! We hope you enjoy getting to know another member of the Focus Foster Care family.
20 reasons to become a foster carer in 2020
The New Year is here and most people are setting themselves goals and resolutions for the next twelve months. Whilst we all have our own reasons for making resolutions like eat more healthily/take up jogging and so on, perhaps this year more of us should consider doing something that could change the lives of vulnerable children. Fostering is a challenge, it takes work but is also extremely rewarding. If you want to make a change in 2020 to your own life and make a positive impact on the lives of local children then fostering could be something for you to consider. At our independent fostering agency we believe every child deserves a happy childhood and we do all we can to embrace the lives of vulnerable children. 2020 could be the year you join our team of foster carers and really make a difference where it is needed most. We are not saying don’t take up jogging if that’s something you want to do but if you have a big heart and have been thinking about doing something really worthwhile and rewarding, perhaps you can make 2020 the year you begin your fostering journey. Here are 20 reasons why we think becoming a foster carer is a great goal to set yourself in 2020.