Fostering Case Studies

Fostering Campaign - Do you have a little room in your life?

Hear from our current foster carers.

Emma and Paul’s story

Told by Emma

“When I had my first child I was considered quite a young mum. Thankfully, I had a lot of support from my family, but it made me think about all those young mums who don’t have that support. I knew I always wanted to foster when the time was right, to help out a young mum and her child who do not have the security of a loving family.

I am now married and have two sons, and recently decided I wanted to leave my hairdressing job to pursue fostering full time. My husband Paul and I agreed that we wanted to foster children under the age of four, and we immediately looked to our local council for our options.

The Torfaen council fostering process was very good, they were very thorough, but they have to be for the safety of the children. Paul and I were surprised by how quick the process was. I handed in my notice to the hairdressers I worked at, and immediately we were told there was a little two year old boy who needed fostering.

We were both worried at first that we would not be able to do it, but you soon learn when your foster child is going to have a tantrum, and how to calm them. To see the child progress from when they first arrive to within a few weeks of living in your home is rewarding. When it is time for them to leave, knowing that you have done a good job with them is definitely the best part.

Torfaen council continued to support us when the child was in our home, answering any questions we had and keeping us well informed. They are always there for you on the end of the telephone.

Fostering is the best job I have had, I love it. When the children first come they are extremely nervous, but when you see the children’s faces when they know they are safe with you, that makes all the difference.”

Watch Emma and Paul's story here.

Steve and Sharon’s Story

Steve: “We first considered fostering in 2008, after seeing a Barnado’s advert on TV. Although we didn’t end up doing it then, the feeling remained. We finally decided to do it last year and contacted Torfaen council. It took a few months, but we enjoyed the process. It made us realise how lucky we are, what we have and what we could offer to others. From that moment on we knew this was the right thing to do. We had good support throughout the process and, although it was intense, it was positive overall.”

Sharon: “Initially, we were going to do short-term and emergency care. When we said we were happy to take on children who may have learning or complex physical needs, they knew just the right child for us. We know it is hard to recruit carers for children with complex needs, but we were happy to do this. Once we met the child, we knew we were doing the right thing.

“In order to accommodate our foster child, our home needed some substantial changes. The back garden was landscaped and lifts were fitted, while the floors have been raised inside the home and a lift installed. We have now settled our foster child into a routine and are not looking back. We have had good support from our family and friends. The family placement team and social worker have also been fantastic with their support and transitional process.”

David and Sally’s Story

Sally: “We’ve been fostering five years this month. We’ve fostered ten children, the youngest child we’ve ever had was fifteen months, and the oldest was sixteen years old. I was always determined I was going to be a foster carer, it was something I spoke to Dave about literally within weeks of meeting. I grew up in a street with a foster family, but never knew they were a foster family until my teenage years. I just knew that children would come and go, and we would play in the street and make friends. Sometimes they would be very angry and confused when they arrived, but then by the time they moved on they were settled and happy. That to me was just amazing.

“Torfaen council have been brilliant. I do the Skills to Foster course, where I chat to people as a foster carer about the process they’re going through because I know how scary it is, but it’s so worth it. You see the children when you start with them, and then you see the end products, and it’s so worthwhile.”

David: “The reason why I decided to become a foster carer was because I knew children when I was growing up who were fostered, and I felt like it was something I always wanted to do from quite a young age. The best thing about fostering for me is having a large family, and seeing people getting on together and seeing the diversities with different personalities. It’s been said in the past that we’ve got a happy house, so everybody generally gets on and looks out for each other. It’s nice to see all that positivity.

“The process of being approved as a foster carer can be quite scary as you feel as if you’re being judged, but it obviously turns into a positive experience. There’s lots of support there. Fostering can be a job, you can look at it as a career but it’s doing something you enjoy, and not all people can do a job that they enjoy. We enjoy being parents, we enjoy being a family. It opens up doors to be able to enjoy more, as opposed to going to an office and doing a job. It’s making your home something that works.”

Watch David and Sally’s story here.

Jeanette’s Story

“MIST Therapeutic Carers look after children that ordinary foster carers find challenging, and we offer a therapeutic approach to the care package within a big team.

I’ve been a MIST Therapeutic Carer for over a year now, but I’ve been working with MIST with children for over two years. I wanted to be a MIST Therapeutic Carer because I liked the ethos of what MIST is, what it stands for, and how they work as a comprehensive team altogether. They offer a lot of training, a lot of support, and I feel that the children actually greatly benefit from the ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ feel.

I’ve had quite comprehensive training; as a general foster carer you’re offered that. What you get above and beyond with MIST is you get more therapeutic training, and DDP training. These sorts of therapeutic training help you so that you can help the child. I found the approval process to be a MIST Therapeutic Carer to be quite intensive; they cover lots and lots of aspects of your life. I personally think this is a good thing; it makes you evaluate whether you are the suitable person to become a foster carer, and whether you’re a suitable candidate to be a MIST carer. It makes you look at things in a more rounded way, and when you come to the decision that you’d like to be a foster carer, it’s a true decision.

To become a MIST Therapeutic carer, you have to be into psychology and psychiatry, have an ‘arm chair’ interest.What I enjoy most about being a MIST Therapeutic Carer is being part of a team. We’re a professional team with a really good family feel. They are on call 24/7, if you need help with a problem there’s three other people behind you. I find that, as a professional, to be very supportive.”

Watch Jeanette’s story here.

Andrew and Sianne’s Story

Sianne: “We’ve been fostering for quite a few years but it’s only been two years with Torfaen County Borough Council. Over the years we’ve fostered five children, and we’ve done private placements and short respites. With Torfaen County Borough Council we’ve had quite a few teenagers, who I absolutely love working with. Fostering is something I’ve always wanted to do. I work with teenagers in my full time work anyway, but I wanted to challenge myself through the fostering role and I wanted a child who was younger so that I could see a lot more potential in the support and the empowerment that we could provide.”

Andrew: “For foster carers there is a support meeting every month which encourages the foster carers to go there and talk about different subjects, not just about training. It’s all about how you’re coping and what you need, they’re really good. I’ve had three children myself and I’ve brought them up, and I miss it. I like to help other children to achieve the goals that my children have achieved. You’ve got to make your child feel at home, and you’ve got to treat them as your own children, nothing else.”

Sianne: “There’s always ongoing support. We’re allocated our own support worker in addition to the child social worker as well, so if there are any issues or problems they’re always a phone call away. If I had to sum up fostering in one word it would be amazing because it’s an amazing journey to go through, it’s amazing to see the young person develop, and it’s amazing how much it can enrich your own family life.”

Watch Andrew and Sianne’s story here.

Donna and John’s Story

Donna: “We’ve been fostering for about nine years, and we’ve fostered around twelve children. Some children we’ve had longer than others; some placements could be two weeks, some could be two years. We do respite care, and we have recently become long term foster carers as well. We usually foster children twelve years and older as they seem to settle more here.

“We decided to foster because two of my children had left home, and my one son was younger at the time and we thought it would be nice to have company for him. I wanted the foster children to have what my son has, to be loved and cared for. It is hard at times but I don’t regret the decision. The satisfaction we get is seeing a kid turn their life around, who comes to us troubled, then when they leave us being steady and going to college.”

John: “The best thing about fostering is seeing the lives of the children change. We try to put them down the right path and help them do better. We had one boy who was a really troubled child, but he turned his life around and went to the army.”

Donna: “You have to want to be a foster carer. I take the children in as part of my family and they are treated as part of my family. If you really want to do it and you can give a child a home and the love he or she needs I think you should do it. It’s great, you have great rewards. It is hard, but you work through it and see the results and know you’re helping a child move on.”

Carol and Kate’s Story

Kate: “We fostered for 11 months, caring for one full-time placement and one respite placement. Sadly the placement was so short due to severe and unexpected ill health or we would still be doing it now.”

Carol: “We always had an interest in helping children to reach their potential and guide them to a deserving and fulfilled childhood through to adulthood. We were already going through the assessment to be kinship carers when it was suggested to us that we try mainstream and we never looked back from there.”

Kate: “We found the assessment through to approval to be an easy and friendly experience rather than a process full of apprehension. Ongoing support was promised and delivered via the child's social worker, our own social worker and classes offered to better understand the children in our care and how to make the best of the placement.”

Carol: “The best thing about fostering is the rare moments where you knew you were succeeding in areas you at first thought were impossible; the sheer gratification you feel when you notice the sparkle in the child's eyes, and their laughter.”

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Family Placement Team

Tel: 01495 766669

Email: social.services@torfaen.gov.uk

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