We sat down with one of our foster carers, Jodie from Scunthorpe, to find out her experiences of being a foster carer in North Lincolnshire and ask her some of the questions she is asked most often when people find out she’s a foster carer.
“There are so many questions people are always dying to ask me when they find out I’m a foster carer. Some of them are brave and ask their questions straight out, whereas some say ‘I don’t know how you do that, I would get too attached’ or ‘I really admire people like you’.
Both of these statements make me smile because the truth is I do get attached, very attached but I’m not a superhero, I’m just a normal person.”
If you’re not married or in a relationship, can you still foster?
“Yes, yes and YES!! It needs no explaining; fostering isn’t relationshipist (I think I made that word up!).”
If you don’t already have children, is there any point in enquiring?
“Erm… yes! When we started our fostering journey I had no children. But I had life experience and a caring attitude and thought it might be something I would be good at.”
Do you have to do tests and be checked up on?
“Sort of. There is an assessment. There is also a course to complete called ‘skills to foster’ which outlines the things you need to know.
“Some people find it a little bit intrusive with a social worker visiting your home and talking about your life. But it’s worth remembering they are not looking for perfect angels, they are finding out how you deal with real life and pull together to overcome problems; things that when you are fostering children are essential skills to have.”
Are you just left to get on with it?
“The support we have in North Lincolnshire I feel is really good. You have your own Fostering Social Worker who visits you to catch up and offer support and advice. There are regular coffee mornings ran by foster carers and there is also a buddy/mentor system also made up of carers for if you need advice, reassurance or just a friend to talk to.
“I met some of my best friends through fostering and it has been a real lifeline.
“There are also great social events for catching up and fantastic training opportunities throughout the year.”
What are the best and worst things about fostering?
“This is an impossible question. Every new young person placed with you brings not only challenges but fantastic successes, which end up being the reasons why you foster.
“I have met people who think all the young people will thank you and be grateful that they live with you. This is often not the case. Young children, especially, may find it difficult to understand what has happened and why they have had to leave their home. It is about gaining their trust and welcoming them into your life, even on the hard days.
“Achievements may be small or they may be huge but you will be just as proud for all of them.”
Do you get paid well?
“This is the question that gets asked over and over. You don’t actually get paid for being a foster carer. You receive an allowance that is generous and it covers a range of things, for example their clothing, activities, pocket money etc.
“I could keep chatting about fostering caring all night but there is ironing waiting to be done and pack ups waiting to be made!
“If you have any more questions, just pick up the phone and ring the team for a chat.”