‘I have wanted to foster children in some capacity since I was a teenager, but I had ‘self-imposed limitations. I convinced myself that to be taken seriously as a foster carer, there was no point in starting the assessment process until I was at least thirty.
‘I thought agencies wouldn’t take me seriously when I told them my age; I felt there would be a stigma to me fostering because I was only 28.
Maybe fostering children would be for an older person?
Perhaps children’s families would think I was too young?
Perhaps I won’t have the skills and experience agencies needed to support children as a younger foster carer?’
‘I have a decade of care experience working with children of all ages in residential care settings’.
These children have additional needs and are of varying ages; every child is unique, and I love working with them. I thought to myself, I have experience caring for children, I have lots to offer, and I have my youth, so I began inquiring with agencies. I approached my Local Authority and asked about becoming a respite carer; however, I found they were too rigid. They focused on what I couldn’t offer at that time based on my age rather than what I could’.
‘I found my inspiration for fostering on social media…’
Whilst researching fostering on social media, I came across a young foster carer on Instagram. ‘I read the woman’s story and thought, ‘OMG; she’s doing it; so, I can!’
‘I followed her on Instagram, and she inspired me. I let go of the ‘self-imposed limitations’ that had prevented me from starting my fostering journey and set out to find the right agency for me’.
‘After my first chat with Caritas Care, I instantly felt they were the right agency for me. Caritas Care is an open, friendly, informative, and Not-for-Profit agency, which is crucial. I had previously worked for Barnardo’s, another Not-for-Profit children’s charity. The experience holds a special place in my heart. I began the career I love, supporting children and young people, which ultimately led me to Caritas Care’.
‘I approached Caritas Care in early 2019, I was 28 years of age, and it took less than six months for me to become approved. I was providing respite care for young people a month after my approval’.
‘I didn’t find the assessment process stressful at all; in fact, it was great. It was very in-depth, and I had spent a long time researching, so I knew what to expect; I found it all extremely exciting.’
‘My social worker was very engaging and positive with me, from the beginning, right to the end.’
When I became approved as a respite foster carer, I was working part-time. I have two weekends off every month, so I have two different young people I care for once a month. This care is often done at weekends and during school holidays; however, when COVID came, I was happy to provide regular respite whenever Caritas Care needed me. Sadly, respite voluntarily ceased for one of the young people I cared for during the pandemic; thankfully, it continued for the other. My partner actively supports me to provide the respite, and he helps with transport on days out because I don’t drive.
Rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
Special thanks to Verve Recruitment for their support in helping us find more foster carer for more children.