George and Ann Marie became Foster carers with Caritas Care over ten years ago; before this, they were foster carers with an Independent Fostering Agency. George explains how he and Ann Marie decided to either give up fostering or transfer to another agency. This decision led them to Caritas Care, A Not-for-Profit Charity that was literally around the corner from them, and according to George, was the best decision they have made
Our decision to transfer fostering agencies…
‘We were foster carers with an Independent Fostering Agency but were disheartened; mainly due to staff and Social Workers’ inconsistency. The coming and going of staff, and agency relationships affected our foster children and ourselves. Another important factor was being ‘matched’ with children way out of our area; some of the children were from South Manchester, and school runs, family meetings, and training were trek. Our home is in Lancashire, these long distances, inconsistency in support and a feeling of being used took its toll on us; we were close to giving up’.
‘The only way forward was to either quit fostering for good, which was sad because we both loved what we did or look for somewhere local. We always thought of Caritas Care as an adoption agency; however, we discovered they were also a Fostering agency and just down the road. We read up on them on their website and decided to give then a tentative call.
‘The first person we spoke to was Steph, she answered the call, and within minutes of speaking to her, we both knew that this was good. Steph is now our social worker, and to be honest; she sold us on that phone call’.
Transferring Fostering agencies does take time, but it is worth it.
‘I explained the frustration we felt; we wanted a local agency that made us feel valued and give us the support we needed. Firstly, Caritas Care was local to us; however, secondly, and most importantly, Caritas Care had a low turnover of staff, which was key to us continuing fostering. A week later Steph came to meet us at our home, we had a coffee and a chat, and we knew we had found the agency for us’.
‘The downside of transferring over to Caritas Care was we had to start again; the process took five months, but it was time well spent. Caritas Care is like a family, and it was the best decision we made. Steph, our social worker, is like a family member to us, and since lockdown and COVID, Caritas Care has knocked the support out of the park; they have been brilliant. They have gone above and beyond to support foster carers and their children. Everyone works together with the same goals; it feels like we are the same family’.
To find out more about transferring agencies visit www.caritascare.org.uk