Posted November 13, 2017
Our names are Nick and Helen, and we have been foster carers since November 2012. We started fostering when Helen was made redundant from her full-time job 5 years ago. However, alongside the fostering role, Nick continues to work full-time as a Manager and Helen works part-time providing the same company with assistance when required.
Prior to becoming foster carers we had very little experience of childcare. However, fostering is something we had considered for many years, and was not a decision which was taken lightly. Nick had grown up with foster children within his parents’ home as they too were foster carers, so had a good insight into how supporting children and young people can help change lives.
We have now fostered three teenagers in long-term placements, and provided another with respite care. Prior to coming to live with us, they had sustained a series of abuses to include physical, emotional and neglect.
One of our placements is now over the age of 18 and has left our care, but continues to stay in touch. It was enlightening to see them become an adult, gain a college entry and then proceed to full-time employment, learn to drive, and live independently in their own accommodation.
Another placement had poor school attendance due to regular illness, but now achieves an excellent attendance record year after year.
It has been heart-warming to see them grow in confidence and learn life skills to enable them to look forward to their futures. Some of the teens we have fostered have displayed challenging behaviour. We feel it is important to treat them as individuals, look at the cause of their behaviour and do our best to address them. The difference which can be made in a short period of time is often remarkable. It is essential that any looked after child is made to feel welcomed and accepted by friends and extended family of their foster carers. Their basic needs should be met, clear and consistent boundaries set, and nurturing care provided. We believe some key skills for being a foster carer are: being able to listen to the looked-after-child, accept they will have good days and bad days, and be down to earth.
We enjoy being foster carers because we feel satisfied that we are offering children and young people a safe and secure place to live.
We would describe our experience of fostering teenagers as FUN, CHALLENGING and REWARDING.
If you are interested in a considering fostering as a career, we would urge you to find out more details. Full training is available. It is a great opportunity to meet people with a similar interest and make new friends. Children and young people need a place to feel loved, supported and safe from harm.
If you think you can make a difference to someone’s life, please contact Blue Sky Fostering for more information.