Robert was approved as a foster carer by a Local Authority in 2011. He lives in London.
Why did you choose to become a foster carer?
My path into fostering was fuelled by two things; my love of working with children and desire to have a family as well as from working professionally with some amazing foster carers in my work and being inspired by the impact that their involvement made on the children.
How did you find the process?
Very thorough but as I had expected. I was a bit frustrated by some of the processes and time schedules to get things going but once I had been assigned a social worker it quickly got started and I actually found it very revealing and it helped me to work out my own incentives. There were times when it was quite intense and raised some sensitive subjects but I think that it was really important to helping my understand my own potential barriers and sensitivities!
How is life now, with your children?
Great! I love it. I’ve got two children at the moment, one aged 7 who has been with me for 14 months and one who is 11 and who arrived 3 days ago on an emergency placement. They are great and I love having them at home. At times it can be tricky with the logistics of doing school runs and arrangements for contact with parents but it all works out in the end! I have a good network of support with another foster carer who lives locally and Southwark has been great at supporting me as a single carer when I need to juggle work commitments with child care arrangements.
What advice would you give to someone considering fostering?
Think carefully about what kind of support you need and ask questions during the initial process around what support you think you may need in terms of respite, holiday schemes, emergency back up, staying at friends/ families homes, general advice and emotional support.
Positive reinforcement and consistency are very much the keys to success when working with these children with clear routines and a calm safe home environment.
For me I see my time with the children as an intervention and as such them moving on is inevitable and an important part of the process.