My fostering experience
We are Jen and Terry newly approved Foster Carers for Next Stage for Fostering.
We had been thinking about Fostering for some time and felt the time was right after we moved into our new home.
We saw an advertisement for Next Stage for Fostering outside a local Supermarket and made contact with the agency as they were local to where we lived. We emailed Next Stage and received a phone call the very next day and an initial visit was arranged for the day after.
We were visited by Lynda the agency’s Registered Manager and Alex, Recruitment Officer. Within 15 minutes of the visit, we knew Next Stage for Fostering was the agency for us. They were warm, welcoming and the feeling of being part of fostering agency that was supportive and had a family feel was very appealing to us.
During our initial visit, Lynda advised Jen would need to be able to drive as she would be the main foster carer and would need to take children to school/contact etc. Jen arranged driving lessons immediately and passed her test first time!
We had previously met Ruth our Assessing Social Worker in person but due to Covid 19 Restrictions, the majority of our assessment was done via Zoom. We both enjoyed the weekly assessment sessions and although there is a lot to discuss and learn, Ruth made us feel relaxed.
Our assessment was presented to the Fostering Panel in October 2020. This again was undertaken by Zoom. As a couple we found this to be a good process and we both felt more relaxed being in our own home.
During the assessment, Jen had made the decision to be a full-time foster carer and following our approval Jen handed in her notice at work. 17 days after our approval we welcomed 2 children into our home.
We were excited from the information we had received and understood that we would have to commit to schools runs outside of the area we live, whilst the court process was ongoing.
We were lucky to meet the children prior to the placement, which was positive for everybody and made the day the children came to live with us much easier for us all.
We are all in the early days but we are thrilled with how things are progressing and the positive relationships we are all building together.
We have needed to use the Out of Hours service provided by the agency since the children were placed and it is great to know there is someone to turn to who we know for advice 24/7. We think the support from the agency is excellent.
Jen has taken part in her 1st foster carers support group and it was lovely to meet other carers, albeit virtually! Foster carers from the agency have text and emailed us to welcome us and offer support as and when needed, which we have both valued.
The children are already involved in activities and competitions run by the agency too.
We are very excited for our continued journey has foster carers for Next Stage for Fostering.
If you are thinking of Fostering, please contact us for an initial conversation so that we can advise you on the process in more detail.
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