Saturday, May 27, 2017


I've been asked this question on "Meet The Secret Foster Carer";

Hello there,
I've just come across your blog as I am doing ongoing research about it, as it has always been something I've wanted to do. I say 'ongoing' because I am about to have our second child, so it would be a plan about 2-3 years in the future. Could you tell me how your work fits around your foster care? I would need to work part-time in addition to fostering but it is flexible and could be made to fit, however everything I read about it says that the agency would rather you committed full-time to the care role. Do you have any thoughts or tips on how you make this work? Thanks!

Always a pleasure to talk to people who are thinking about coming into fostering.

First off, good luck with your second, I wish you and your new child all the best for your pregnancy and the birth. They say the second is more fun than the first because you've been there and done it before and that was true for us.

I don't know which fostering agency you've been talking to, but it's always worth asking around and getting a bunch of views and opinions.

The only opinion that really matters is your own; if you believe you can foster with a young family and while doing part-time work, you're more than halfway to doing it and doing a good job.

When you say "it's always been something I've wanted to do", that chimes with myself. I first heard about this fostering thing when I was a kid aged about 14 and thought to myself the same thing as you. People who foster do it for a whole range of reasons, but I've come to believe that the people who do it because they feel it calling are at an advantage because when your heart is in something you can't help but give it your best shot.

That said, look; it's going to be flat out for you. A young family is delightful and draining, I know you know that. Working part-time to make ends meet is something many households have to do and the arrival of the zero hour contract culture hasn't delivered workers enough freedom to pick and choose their days and hours, so you'll be lucky to find an employer who'll be flexible and fit your work times around the needs of a foster child.

This is where your fostering agency and their placement team come in.

I can't speak for other agencies or local authorities, I simply don't know enough about their practices to comment one way or another, but Blue Sky is truly excellent at treating each carer as an individual.

Our personal specific circumstances are paramount to them. They work hard to get to know us, to know our families and how we all fit into the world. Then and only then do they look for a match that suits us. They don't make judgements, don't dwell on negatives. They look at a prospective carer and ask themselves;

"How can we make fostering work for this family and a needy child?'

Every carer is unique, we all have our strengths and weak spots. Sometimes those things aren't what they seem to us.  When you apply to be approved to foster a social worker will visit you regularly over a period of time to find out about you. Don't worry, it's truly a pleasant exercise, remember; they are on your side, they want, they need foster carers.

At the end of the process they'll have a good picture of what would be best for you, and what sort of children your family are best suited by. 

And always remember, you have the final say. Nobody knows you and your home better than you, and you have absolute authority over everything.

That said, there's nothing wrong with taking the long view. You could get yourself approved and ease yourself into fostering by taking a few weekend respite children and see how it works for all concerned. Or be an emergency carer, where the children tend only to be with you for a very short time.

As your family grows up, and you all become more familiar with the do's and don'ts of fostering you can, if you choose, go full-time.

And stop being full-time if it doesn't work.

I found it useful to talk to someone when we were first giving it some thought.

You could phone Blue Sky on 0845 607 6697, it's usually a lovely lady called Di who answers. Have a chat.

Good luck.

I have a feeling you're going to be great, and be the reason a whole bunch of sad children end up leading happier lives.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderfully thoughtful and reasoned response to a perspective foster carer. I hope she gets the answers she seeks.