Start of my fostering journey

I am Kirsty and was approved with Next Stage for Fostering in November 2020 and in December I welcomed my first foster placement. Prior to becoming a full-time Foster Carer, I worked as a veterinary Nurse for over 18 years in a variety of settings with the last being an emergency and critical care nurse working nights.

I had considered becoming a Foster Carer for around 5years, but my home and work setting was not the correct fit at the time. I originally spoke to another IndependentFostering Agency however after speaking with Lynda(Registered Manager at Next Stage) and having a visit I knew the family feel of Next Stage was the correct fit and that they would go above and beyond for their foster carers.

I had considered becoming a Foster Carer for around 5years, but my home and work setting was not the correct fit at the time. I originally spoke to another IndependentFostering Agency however after speaking with Lynda(Registered Manager at Next Stage) and having a visit I knew the family feel of Next Stage was the correct fit and that they would go above and beyond for their foster carers.

My initial enquiry was made during Covid 19 restrictions and I had recently moved into my grandma’s family home which needed quite a bit of sprucing up to say the least. I knew this would be my forever home and would be perfect to offer foster children a place to call their own as there has always been a warm family feel when I was growing up.

Lynda amazingly managed to see past the work that needed doing and she also saw the potential. After extensive refurbishments, mainly carried out by myself around the assessment process, my full-time work and with the amazing help and support of Next Stage and Janice, my Assessing Social Worker (who was an Independent Social Worker employed by the Agency to complete my Assessment), I was approved at the end of November. Throughout the entire application and assessment, I was made to feel at ease, and nothing was ever a bother if I needed to ask anything.

After completing my notice period and the final jobs on my house I was ready for my first placement. As it was nearing Christmas I thought my first placement would be after the festive period. However, an emergency placement was required on the 23rd December 2020 and with the support of the Agency the placement went ahead.

During my first placement, there have been highlights and other things that have not quite gone as planned however I have always known the Agency is there for support and guidance, either over the phone or in person. The support, knowledge and advice available from all of the staff at the Agency is second to none. They have also arranged to have an experienced Foster Carer as a mentor/buddy which is invaluable and greatly appreciated as there are going to many firsts for me in my new role.

In this uncertain time, with a lot of calls and meetings having to take place online I feel the Agency has managed this amazingly, the support available has not suffered, and because of this I look forward to many more years at the Agency.
I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking in to becoming a Foster Carer.

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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