Fostering for the first time with Focus Foster Care – an interview with our newest foster carer
Fostering is so much more than just a job. Foster carers have one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers there is, they care and love children providing safety and security while long term plans can be explored and secured for them. Fostering is a career like no other and this year there continues to be an urgent need for more foster carers in the UK.
A common remark we hear from our foster carers is that they wanted to foster for years before they decided to apply. At a time when there are not enough foster carers for all of the children in need of a foster family, if you want to foster then do not delay. In this post we have an interview with our newest foster carer. Lindsay is a first time foster carer and has kindly shared her experience of fostering since she joined our independent fostering agency in 2021.
If you want to foster in 2022, take the first step and get in touch with the team here at our West Midlands based independent fostering agency. In six months time you could be just like Lindsay, working hard in a career you love and positively changing the life of a child in need.
Fostering for the first time with Focus Foster Care
Lindsay and Richard joined our team of foster carers in 2021. Of course, the pandemic was still forcing us to adapt and work differently but our agency continued to process applications and get aspiring foster carers to panel.
We recently interviewed Lindsay to learn all about her experience of fostering for the first time with Focus Foster Care. Here is what Lindsay had to say..
Hi Lindsay, thank you for agreeing to talk with us today about your experience of becoming a foster carer during the pandemic. Can you first tell our readers a little about you and your family?
My name is Lindsay and I am currently fostering with my husband, Richard. We have 2 children, a son Jamie and our daughter Shannon. Our daughter still lives at home and is a huge help with our fostering. Jamie has his own home and lives with his wife and son, they have also been great with the little boy we care for.
Why did you decide to foster?
I’ve wanted to foster for a very long time. I’ve always helped family and friends with their children. Someone I knew was fostering and I was really interested in doing it. We applied to foster but unfortunately, I broke my leg at the beginning of the process so decided it wasn’t the right time for us. We have never fostered with a local authority or an independent fostering agency before but had tried to apply with other agencies in the past. In 2021 we applied to foster with Focus Foster Care.
Do you have a job alongside being a foster carer?
I am currently on unpaid leave, alongside fostering one child.
How many children have fostered since being with Focus?
Richard and I are currently fostering one child at the moment. He is the first we have fostered.
Focus Foster Care were incredible! We had applied to other agencies previously but had trouble filling in the forms. Fiona offered to help us fill in the forms over video call and made us feel vey comfortable.
When did you first contact Focus and how long did it take for you to be approved by the fostering panel?
We contacted Focus Foster Care to make an enquiry in March 2021 and we were approved by the beginning of August 2021
How did you find your experience of enquiring and applying to foster with Focus?
Focus Foster Care were incredible. We had applied to other agencies previously but had trouble filling in the forms. Fiona offered to help us fill in the forms over video call and made us feel very comfortable.
Did the pandemic cause any problems during your journey to becoming an approved foster carer?
No, the pandemic didn’t interfere with the fostering application process as we did most of it via zoom.
What made you decide to become a foster carer?
I have always loved working with children and felt it was something I would enjoy.
How have you found life as a foster carer so far?
It’s been difficult but also very rewarding.
What have been the biggest challenges of being a foster carer?
The first few weeks were overwhelming, balancing looking after a child and fitting in courses, meetings and paperwork.
Can you talk a little about the support offered by Focus Foster Care during your fostering journey?
Right from applying to becoming foster carers, Focus have offered help and support and have helped with filling in all of the different forms. Once we had a child I had contact with Fiona over the phone every day and if I needed anything I knew I could contact them for help and support. I expressed that I was struggling within the first few weeks and I had a member of the team come every Tuesday morning to take the child out for the morning to give me a rest.
What do you find the most rewarding part of fostering children?
Seeing the progress they make is really the most rewarding part of being a foster carer.
Advice for future foster carers.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a foster carer?
I would tell people wanting to foster that the process doesn’t take as long as you might think. As a foster carer you get to work with lots of different professionals and there is so much support if you need it.
Can you describe your fostering experience with Focus in five words?
What would you say to someone who is feeling anxious about enquiring into fostering with Focus?
I kept putting it off and I wish I hadn’t! If at any time you change your mind you can stop the process and you will be asked throughout the process if you still want to continue.
Fostering a child with an independent agency may be one of the most rewarding jobs you ever do. As Lindsay has said, our team at Focus Foster Care are to support you every step of the way. We will be by your side and offer support throughout the whole application process and will continue to be there for you when you have your first – or tenth – looked after child placed in your care.
If you want to become a foster carer and are looking for a supportive independent fostering agency in the West Midlands, contact us today. The fostering sector continues to be in an urgent crisis and hundreds of new foster carers are needed right now to help children across the UK.
Is 2022 the year you finally follow your fostering dreams? Contact us today to begin your journey to becoming a foster carer.
To read the rest of our Meet The Team series, please visit the following links
Meet the team – Kevin, registered manager
Meet the team – Ilfa, family support worker
Meet the team – Fiona, senior social worker
Meet the team – Emma. social worker
Meet the team – Jess, office administrator
Meet the team – Kirsty, student social worker
Meet the team – Honey, the office dog
If you would like to find out more about the different types of foster care or want to learn how to become a foster carer with our independent fostering agency, please get in touch with us on 0800 524 4797 .