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Meet our carers

 Hear from some of our foster carers about why they decided to become a carer.

Fostering journeys

Andrew

Teacher, works full time and single foster carer
Type of foster carer: short term for three years

Fostering was something I had been considering doing for a long time.  I had made enquiries outside of Angus in the past but had been given the impression that working full time wasn't suitable for fostering.  I saw the advert for fostering in Angus and decided to go along to their drop-in information session.  The people there were very welcoming and that's when I “signed up“ to being a short break foster carer.

Being a single carer

I imagine it's just like being a single parent – you get on with it and organise yourself around your commitment to the young person.  It's good to have a support network of friends, family and other carers who you can talk to, if you need advice or just need somebody to talk to.

Working full time

I've never seen work as a barrier to fostering and vice versa.  Most of the short-term care is Friday to Monday which fits in with my work schedule, but there have been young people who have stayed slightly longer.

There was one teenager who stayed full time for just over three months and we established a routine, dropping him off in the morning and picking him up later in the afternoon, so there is a degree of organisation involved.

Being a foster carer

I've fostered 13 different children so far. One of the boys who comes for regular respite, likes playing games such as chess, Stratego and Monopoly, as well as watching box sets on Netflix together.  We also have a Queen playlist in the car! When we came out of Covid lockdown no.2 and it was summer, we tried to go out and do a bit more, such as visit the zoo.

I’ve recently had an 18-year-old staying who I’d previously cared for a few years ago.  When he first stayed, he genuinely taught me how to kick and pass a football, with more success than any PE teacher from my school days. During his last stay we were back out with the football again. He also likes a talk during mealtimes, and it’s good to still have that positive relationship that was quickly established the first time he stayed.  He’s coming back again for two weeks soon, and it's good to have someone who's almost an adult, as a contrast to looking after the younger children too.

Sometimes going food shopping is a good icebreaker, and often necessary if somebody is placed with you at short notice, or you don't really know their likes or dislikes.

I think whatever age the young people are, it’s about trying to get them involved and making them feel welcomed into your home, especially if it's just for a weekend.

Support available

I think the most valuable support is the meetings with other foster carers.  It's good to hear and share experiences.

The regular support meetings with social workers are helpful too. The social workers and support workers involved with the young people are always supportive, there to listen, and mindful of my other professional commitments I may have and are happy to work around these where and when possible.

What would you say to someone thinking about fostering?

There is no harm in enquiring and taking the first step. There might be a few bumps along the way, but across the last three years, the positive times and rewarding experiences have far outweighed any of the few difficult days.

And teachers thinking about fostering...

I think my role in teaching, which is in pastoral care, has helped me.  I think that teaching as a whole has become more nurture focussed and the profession has become much more aware of adverse childhood experiences, then it definitely helps in some way to understand the needs of young people who need to be fostered for the short or longer term.

If you can remember the positive differences you make in your career to all the children's lives (which you will have done) and these were in classroom situations, just think of the difference you can give one or two young people in a short or long term fostering placement.

 

Polly
Full time foster carer
Type of foster carer: permanent

 

Originally, we looked at fostering in the mid-1990s but after discussion with the fostering team we reflected that as we were in our early twenties, we didn't have enough life experience.

Once we had our own family, we decided to relook at fostering. We had three young children, were working long shifts which meant I missed out on them growing up. I wanted to be able to be at home to support them and to make a difference to another young person’s life.

Becoming foster carers

We were initially interim foster carers and started out caring for teenagers supporting them to move onto independent living (when they were ready). We then changed to caring for young children as our own children became teenagers.

We decided to become permanent carers for two of the young people we were fostering as we had been on a five-year journey with them and they had become part of the family. Together we like to go to boxing, skiing, rugby, riding our bikes and dog walking.

It can be quite challenging at times, but I get great satisfaction being an advocate for my young people, watching them achieve even small amounts is very rewarding.

Support available

The support I have received from Angus Council has been fantastic from being available for a chat/rant to coming out to our home when times are difficult. There are other foster carers you can gain support from and also support groups.

Impact on own family

I am very aware that fostering can have an impact on my children but have worked hard to offer them individual time on a daily basis. We've learnt new skills such as horse care to support my daughter. We reflect daily as a couple and check in with our children; we are a fostering family and we need them to make this work. Our daughter can also receive support from the fostering and permanence team if she needs it.

What would you say to someone thinking about fostering?

Why not give it a go, no harm in finding out more. Our fostering journey has changed our lives.

 

Some of our carers explain about the different types of fostering you can do.

Short break care

Looking after children for planned overnight care or for short periods of time to allow parents or carers to have a short break. This care also takes place within your own home.

Interim foster care

Providing temporary care for children who cannot live with their own families.

Permanent foster care

Providing care for children who cannot live with their own families for the rest of their childhood.