Foster Care Fortnight 2023 – Our Fostering Community
It is Foster Care Fortnight, the annual campaign run by The Fostering Network. The purpose of Foster Care Fortnight is to raise the profile of fostering and highlight the important role foster carers play in the lives of children and young people in care. After the success of last year’s campaign, The Fostering Network decided on the same theme for this year – #FosteringCommunities.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and the same is true with foster care. For fostering to be a success, a whole community of people must be involved. At Focus, we have a family focussed approach to fostering and we believe in building strong relationships with our fostering families. We are here for our carers and the children they look after at every stage, working together to provide the best possible outcomes.
This Foster Care Fortnight we are sharing the thoughts of people within our fostering community. Foster care isn’t something that just involves the children and their foster carers; life as a fostering family impacts a foster carer’s birth children, extended family, and wider support network too.
Keep reading to hear from two of our fostering households and to learn why a strong community is essential to help foster carers do the best job possible. A successful fostering story is one that includes children feeling happy and loved within their fostering family, with foster carers and their families feeling supported and cared for too.
First up, let’s hear from one of our newest fostering families. Alana and Ian have two daughters and are also currently looking after two children. Our new foster carers recognise the importance of building a reliable support network and know how much having a community involved can help, especially during the more challenging moments.
“It has been crucial for us to know that we have support there from Focus when we have needed it, even if it has just been to get reassurance in knowing we are making the right choices in our practice. The professional advice has been fantastic and is always with the children we are looking after best interests at the forefront, as well as our own and our children’s.
It has been so important having our friends and family on board with this journey. They have been there to support us emotionally and to lend a helping hand when our birth children have struggled with the changes within our home.”Alana & Ian
Whilst it is our job to look after the children in foster care, we never fail to acknowledge just how big a role the birth children of foster carers also play, helping children to feel welcome and valued within the family home. P and L are Alana and Ian’s birth children, and they have shared their thoughts on what fostering is like from a birth child’s perspective.
What is it like to be part of a family who fosters?
L – Quite hard, because like sometimes someone is doing something that they’re not supposed to do and they carry on doing it.
P – Peculiar and strange because its noisy.
What do you like about fostering and living with A and B?
P – When B is being funny.
L – Having more friends to play with me. I really like when B is doing funny faces and being nice and giving me a hug. My favourite bit of the day is always B giving me a hug.
Do you find anything tricky or difficult about fostering and living with A and B?
L – Yes. It gets overwhelming.
P – Yeah, the noise. There is too much shouting and screaming and it is too noisy for my ears.
Do you have any special jobs with fostering?
L – Yes! I do! It’s being a role model.
P – Yes, to be kind and do good sharing.
Rob & Jane’s Story
Rob and Jane are also new recruits here at Focus Foster Care. The couple have previously fostered with an independent fostering agency and chose Focus Foster Care when they decided they wanted to return to this life changing work.
We asked Rob and Jane to tell us what they are looking forward to the most and what their thoughts are on the importance of a dedicated fostering community.
“We are most looking forward to extending our family as foster carers again and matching our contribution as foster parents with the expectations of the foster community and the needs of our 3 girls.
To make this a success it requires a lot of teamwork and support from Focus Foster Care as well as all the other professionals involved. We enjoy being part of that wider family and how that helps us look after our girls as best we can.
A strong support network and community gives us a sense of certainty and confidence that we are heading in the right direction with our care. We never feel on our own and are very grateful for the holistic back up we receive!”Rob & Jane
Our foster carers are extremely generous in sharing their knowledge to help us grow our fostering community. If you want to know what the life of a foster carer is really like, we have several interviews with our carers – past and present – right here on the Focus website.
One of our fostering couples have been looking after children for over forty years, and they have shared their wisdom and advice in a previous blog post. This blog and all our interviews are a must read if you are thinking about fostering. As our community grows, we will continue to offer the same level of support to all our fostering families.
Contact us today if you want to learn more about Focus Foster Care and discover how you can join our community, fostering children in the West Midlands and surrounding areas. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into our dedicated and supportive community.