Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 45 total)
  • A new chapter in our lives – fostering content
  • Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    So, after a whole load of online training sessions, more background checks than I care to recall, a vigorous suitability interview, acceptance, then months and months of radio silence/offers of completely unsuitable placements (based on our circumstances) we have finally got our first placement – my wife took a call this morning and they are being dropped off this afternoon. They could be with us for days, weeks, months or longer.

    Eeek!

    And has anyone done this? Any tips/advice for us?

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Nope, but much respect to you for doing it.

    Premier Icon uggski
    Full Member

    ^^^^ wot he said!

    Premier Icon freeagent
    Free Member

    My In-laws have been doing it for the best part of 20 years – they’ve fostered dozens of kids from new-borns to teenagers.

    From what i’ve seen it is hard work but very rewarding, especially if you get a child you can connect with and make good progress with.
    The social workers, case workers, etc are sometimes total tw*ts who shouldn’t be in the job.
    The system appears to be weighted in favour of the birth parents – considering their rights/feelings at every step – no mater how horrific they are – this can be a constant source of frustration.

    If i had any advice i’d say don’t be afraid to advocate for the child – as sometimes the system doesn’t always get its priorities right.

    As others have said – much respect for doing it..

    Premier Icon sc-xc
    Full Member

    As above, massive respect to you for doing this. Hopefully you are fostering direct with your local authority and not a hedge fund owned IFA!

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    Hopefully you are fostering direct with your local authority

    Yes – and it is unpaid too (apart from living expenses).

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Good for you!

    My uncle and aunt just received (finally… due to the pandemic) their MBEs for their fostering. 160 kids (most now adults, obviously) have been placed with them over the years. I know many of them, and their lives were changed for the better. So rewarding. But also so many heart breaking stories over the years. Thank you for giving it a go. You deserve thanks from all of society, not just the children you are going to help. Don’t be hard on yourselves if it turns out not to be for you, well done for trying it no matter what happens longer term.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    I looked into doing it and know folk who have. You are doing a brave and good thing. In the end I couldn’t do it.

    Seek support from other foster parents?

    Premier Icon db
    Full Member

    Good luck! No advice, just remember no child comes with a manual, you just have to kind of figure it out. Fostering can be really hard both for you and the child but also massively rewarding. Just like any parent!

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Good on you.

    Did you go for cats or dogs?

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    let your GP know! There have been safeguarding issues locally where multiple unrelated children were being registered at an address that was not known to be foster parents. Big ‘ole mess that could’ve been sorted with some timely info

    Well done, it’s a generous and necessary thing you’re doing. You’ll help change lives for the better.

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    Seek support from other foster parents?

    Yes we are just starting to get into some networks and my wife has found one very helpful fosterer that knows most of the social workers and has already given us ‘heads’ ups’ about certain children to avoid (we have two almost 13 yr olds so we have to be sure they remain safe).

    Premier Icon frankconway
    Full Member

    You’re doing a really good – and necessary – thing.
    Good suggestions up there re talking with other foster parents and keeping your GP informed.
    Hope it goes well!

    Premier Icon bubs
    Full Member

    As above. Much respect to you for doing it and good luck!
    Do you get any choice in age or is it on a greatest needs basis?

    Premier Icon sc-xc
    Full Member

    Yes – and it is unpaid too (apart from living expenses).

    In that case, that is amazing. Really good on you both and your girls.

    Speaking as one of the aforementioned **** that works in children’s social services, you are doing something brilliant.

    Premier Icon funkynick
    Full Member

    Good luck to all of you, and it’s brilliant what you are doing. I’ve got nothing but respect for people who put themselves forward like that. Foster carers make such a difference to kids lives, the ones who looked after our lad before we adopted him where just amazing, and they’d fostered 150+ kids, and adopted some too!!

    Are you doing emergency placements? Or long term? Respite?

    Premier Icon natrix
    Free Member

    Lots of references to ‘foster parents’ in this thread. When I did fostering (admittedly last century) it was drummed into us that we were there as foster carers not foster parents, an important distinction.

    One thing that hit us, was how much you miss them when they leave, especially if you’ve cared for them for a while.

    Good luck!!

    Premier Icon blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    Huge respect, I know I couldn’t do it.  I am in awe of people who can take that on

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Chapeau!

    Premier Icon northshoreniall
    Full Member

    Good luck, well done taking it on, it appears to be hard but rewarding work. We are 10 weeks into adopting a family member (took 19 months from saying interested until placement, where’s the pulling my remaining hair out emoji?) and have found social services to obstructive, incompetent and infuriating at every step -this was a service well south of you so could be a one off, trying to engage with our local sevices now to see if better.

    From our experience, don’t be afraid to challenge them if needed and push back, they don’t like it but will relent usually when know they’ve been caught out.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Very bold move. Respect!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    Nice. I really want to do this one day, if/when we get a bigger house.

    Premier Icon tewit
    Free Member

    Wife and I have foster kids. Currently we foster a soon to be 18 year old who we’ve had since 9, his 9 year old sister we’ve had since the age of 1 and in the last 18 months a lovely, 6 year old lad and his baby sister who’s the most gorgeous little girl ever. I’m in love. 😃
    For the youngest two we recently decided to apply for (and awarded) a special guardianship order.(Sort of adoption light) as social services wanted them to be adopted. Everyone wants to adopt a beautiful little baby. Not many want a boisterous 6 year old who isn’t toilet trained. So they’d be split up.

    I could write tons more but I’m writing on my phone. Will try to post more. Good luck and well done.👍

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    You are an absolute hero.

    MrsMC did 25 years frontline child protection, now in adoption (and also sat on the Foster approval panel when on a break when the kids were small)

    People like you give these kids a first fighting chance of overcoming their problems. Make use of every bit of support available, it will be a challenging and frustrating at times I’m sure, but I hope you find it rewarding as well.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    The system appears to be weighted in favour of the birth parents – considering their rights/feelings at every step – no mater how horrific they are – this can be a constant source of frustration.

    Just to mention – this pisses off the social workers as well!

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    Do you get any choice in age or is it on a greatest needs basis?

    We can choose to refuse anyone, we are recorded as taking anyone under 16, but we said we’d never take anyone older than our girls (13 on Wednesday) – ideally a bit younger than them.

    Two hours in and he seems lovely so far 🥳

    Premier Icon Anna-B
    Free Member

    Glad it’s going well so far. Bear in mind what you have been told about the honeymoon phase 😁 I was a supervising (fostering) social worker for 5 years until last year, fostering support worker for 5 years before that. My advice would be not to expect any thanks from your young person. It’s natural to expect some when you know you’re doing your best and helping someone, but in my experience fostered young people rarely feel as though they have anything to thank anyone for. Also, make sure you treat your girls and your fostered young person the same, as much as you can given age/gender differences. Read up on the way adverse childhood experiences affect children and their behaviour, I’m sure you have already but don’t stop! You are doing a marvellous thing, and I wish you all the success in the world ⭐️

    Premier Icon mert
    Free Member

    My plumber and his wife started doing this when he sold his business and retired in his early 50’s.

    Emergency fostering, they drives all over the region at the drop of a hat to collect random kids in all sorts of distress to look after them for anything from a few hours to several months. His wife was a nurse, so they’re well placed to do it
    I couldn’t do it, just looking after my own is more than enough.

    Premier Icon mikejd
    Free Member

    @johndoh

    Best of luck with the new placement. We’ve been fostering for about 12 years now. Currently have three 15yr olds, twins plus one unrelated. Can be hard work. We’ve always had older children, don’t expect them to recognise what you do for them. Sometimes it seems like we’re just running a hotel and taxi service.

    Important to make time for yourselves. Our council is good at providing support group meetings. Some support workers are very good, some less so. The council register us with The Fostering Network which can be useful.

    I can try to help with any questions you may have.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Full Member

    You are an absolute hero.

    This (and to @tewit amd @mikejd too).  As mentioned it is a thankless task as your own children barely will recognise what you do never mind someone elses (as as I child I recognise very little of what my parents had to go through 🙁 ).  It is really quite an incredible sacrifice as it is 100% commitment

    I’m sure you already know but remember to leave space for your own children.   I only know of one family that does this but after many many many years of doing this their children appear to be showing the strains a bit.  Your children are a lot older though which will help.  I have little memory of that time but what I do have was largely about me rather than the bigger picture.

    And thank you to all the social services folks here as well.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    Lots of people on here far more expert than me but here is my two pennies worth. I used to work in Children’s Services, in residential homes. I was given advice on my first day to have low expectations, don’t set out thinking you will transform kids lives, more often than not you won’t. The best you can hope for with lots of these kids is damage control, not transformation. It sounds defeatist but so many of these kids are damaged from generations of ‘crapness’. I worked with probably 100 kids, less than 10 turned out okay (by my measure).

    By giving them safe, quiet and ordered lives you are doing an amazing thing. Best of luck.

    Premier Icon noshki
    Full Member

    Am currently sat at swimming lessons for our 9year old foster placement. She came to stay with us in December and was our first placement going through our local authority as well.
    Think we’ve been quite lucky as she settled in really easily.The social workers have on the whole been supportive and professional considering the massive workloads and pressure they’re under. It is however disruptive and can be quite hard work. Fussy eating means we often have to cook a separate meal for her and she is very demanding of attention and can struggle to play on her own.
    Contact visits with family can also be difficult, try explaining to a child that just because Mummy or Daddy didn’t turn up on their once a fortnight visit ‘it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about her’.
    We waited until our three kids had grown up (youngest two were 18) before we fostered.
    The payback however is amazing allowing her to do things that her family just didn’t do with her, including teaching her to swim. We’ll also be taking her on holiday to Italy with us this year….hopefully.
    I thought about posting a fostering related thread when we started going through the process, I figured some people on STW would foster, so excellent that you’ve started this one and happy to answer any questions you or anyone else has, though undoubtedly others on this thread will have more experience. There is a massive shortage of carers in the UK so encouraging new ones is part of the ‘job’.
    She’s also ace on a bike as well!

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Full Member

    Good luck & well done to you both, my brother & sister in law only managed to foster one kid until her MS got too bad. Got a wonderful picture of my brother & foster kid doing a tandem time trial, both in club kit with him standing up on the kiddie cranks pushing his little legs round as fast as he could.

    Premier Icon GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    Some lovely stories here – hats off to you all 👍

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Free Member

    Sometimes it seems like we’re just running a hotel and taxi service.

    So, just like most teenagers then 🙂

    Well done OP, and lots of luck.

    Premier Icon P20
    Full Member

    Huge respect!
    It will make such a difference to those that need it

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    Two nights in and things feel pretty good – he came home from school today and hid in his room for a bit (which is so similar to what one of our girls does every day) but in his own time he came out and played with our girls , messed around , talked and generally seemed to be quite settled. One of our girls is spending lots of time with him, he’s helping her with revision and all seems quite good. 👍

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    That’s good to hear.

    Hats off to you for doing this.

    Premier Icon theomen
    Free Member

    We fostered a now 25 year old girl from the age of 7 and she is now married. She caused us no trouble at all and was always grateful. She keeps in contact and never forgets birthdays, mother’s / father’s day. Our one ‘failure’ was that she has never worked a day in her life, she takes after her birth mother.

    At the moment we’ve two brothers (15 & 16), both are fairly ungrateful and expect everything with little in return. As an example we brought them to Orlando earlier this year (Islands of Adventure…). As an extra treat we asked if they would like to fly in a helicopter (a 5 minute trip) and they said no if they had to sit in the helicopter together – FFS! Needless to say we didn’t comply.

    The youngest has anger/authority issues and has been suspended from school four times this year (he’s currently not allowed back until the school year begins in September), countless detentions… This causes all sorts of trouble, meetings with the schools, social workers, time off work to attend. But yet he can be quite kind and outside of the school and home. Most people love him – street angel, house devil.

    Neither of the lads want to improve their ‘lot’ in life and I’ve tried to reason with them but nothing works. I suspect once they turn 18 they’ll leave the house and never look back. Nature versus nurture?

    We have two biological children (21 & 23), the youngest is living at home studying radiography and hoping to use that to get into medicine while the eldest moved to London (from Ireland). They both give us grief but in different ways but are mostly grateful.

    We won’t be fostering anymore despite there being a big demand for foster parents. We’re both in our mid 50s and need to start thinking of ourselves now with less stress in our lives. We’ll just see the lads through until they walk out the door. We’re not in it for the thanks but it would be nice to think we’ve made a positive difference.

    Any just my experience and I wish the OP all the best.

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    We’re not in it for the thanks but it would be nice to think we’ve made a positive difference.

    Yes that’s the same for us – having grown up in loving & safe surroundings and having a spare room in our current house we thought it a good thing to try to give back in a small way. Things are still going okay – he’s a quiet little thing but occasionally speaks up, can be quite engaged with certain conversations and it’s nice to see him playing (both with our daughters and by himself) – I don’t think he’s had too may opportunities to do that outside of school in the past.

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