It is fair to say foster carers come from all backgrounds. Of course, there are people whose previous careers have revolved around roles in caring professions such as teachers, care workers, nurses and so forth. Their skills and knowledge are extremely useful in the fostering task, but there are many other careers and experiences that equip you for the rewarding role.
Take Sharon and her husband, Pete. Pete, a former army officer and prison escort made a total career change 15 years ago when he qualified as a plumber. Sharon’s career spans a period working in the civil service, a stay-at-home mum, working in the prison service, to working as a legal advisor before gaining her law degree and subsequently specialising in maritime law.
Sharon explains their journey to becoming foster carers with Blue Sky Fostering, specialising as Therapeutically Led Carers (TLC):
“From the moment I mentioned Pete’s and my experiences working within the prison service, the people at Blue Sky encouraged us towards TLC fostering for twelve year olds and up. We’d been told about the behaviours of the young people on the TLC programme and decided those were the exact same behaviours we expected to see in all children in care.”
“The support from Blue Sky’s TLC team is excellent; like having an extended family! Everybody gets on really well and everybody understands, exactly, your situation. Every young person in TLC has a Support Worker who takes them out for a couple of hours every week and helps them. That help takes many forms from showing them how to express their emotions in a non-aggressive way to tying their shoelaces on their own to helping to show them how to feel empathy with others.”
“Both Pete and I spent time as prison escorts and that has helped us to deal with difficult situations. It’s shown us how our behaviour affects others, so we know remaining calm and lowering our voices in tense situations will calm down a situation. We use this with great effect with our young people.”
“We have seen the amazing difference the TLC programme makes to young people. It’s a ‘points based’ system that rewards young people for their achievements and reaching their goals, whatever they may be, and it really works. Don’t get me wrong, the young people will never be ‘perfect’, but then again, who is?!’
“All I can say is that you are never alone. The TLC team and all the people at Blue Sky are always there for you. There is help, support, advice and someone to chat things through with at all times of the day, and if you ever need it they’re there all through the night, too.”
If you would like to join Sharon and Pete and the rest of the TLC foster carers and our TLC team in turning around the lives of young people, just get in touch.