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Lucy Stevens - 21st July 2021
In this blog, we meet Julie. Julie has been a foster carer for over 10 years. We asked her to share a little bit about her story and how she ended up fostering with Eastern Fostering Services and her process of transferring fostering provider.
“Speaking to other foster carers is a must!”
Transferring Fostering Provider: It’s all about the support!
I originally started fostering with a small agency, which I loved. I believe they made me the carer I am today and taught me so much more about good fostering than I feel most carers know. Good fostering practise, for me, is about advocating for the child, finding well-matched placements and being able to get the quality and level of support you need.
This agency was then bought by another fostering agency and so I went with them. This worked for a little while, but the transfer was done by the agencies involved, not the carers. It became apparent to me that the fostering agency didn’t put the needs of the child first nor did they do right by the carers. Some new carers had so many social workers that it was difficult for them to do their role properly. I felt the need to transfer even though I had complete faith in my Supervising Social Worker, but just not enough in the agency for many different reasons.
When looking for a smaller agency, maybe a bit more local that had the family feel to it, I thought I found the right one and had this confirmed by a social worker that I knew of but hadn’t worked with before. When transferring to this agency, prior to getting a placement, I felt I could grow with them and that maybe my knowledge and success with fostering was an asset to their agency. When I got my first placement and with a change of staff and management, there was a problem which I didn’t feel was handled professionally, and I clashed with the new director. Once again when some time passed, the placement was fine, but the support was clearly lacking. I was asked to speak to new carers about the agency and encourage them to join. I’ve always felt very strongly that new foster carers should be encouraged but I told them I felt that I couldn’t because of the lack of support and lack of social workers.
Transferring Fostering Provider: Let’s talk about fostering.
I knew I had to find a fostering provider which had the same ethos and ways of working that I had so loved and valued in my first agency. I started to speak to carers that I had got to know over my many years fostering. A good number of them spoke about a small fostering agency, Eastern Fostering Services. These were carers who I knew were really passionate about fostering and who worked with the same ethos as me, child-centred and determined to advocate for children. These carers told me they had transferred and that they felt the agency had the children at its heart and advocated for children and carers alike. It’s so important to speak to other carers and get an honest picture of what fostering on a day-to-day basis is like within that fostering agency.
The proof of the pudding…
My positive experience of transferring to Eastern Fostering Services started even before my Form F had been finished. The application was easy, but I had difficulties with the child I was fostering who needed medical treatment. I was getting no help from the Local Authority or the fostering agency I was transferring from. Eastern Fostering Services took control of the situation. They quickly sorted the issue out and found out so much more for me on behalf of the child. This demonstrated to me that the fostering agency places the children first; the work was done for the child’s needs. It was practical evidence of their values and working ethos. I therefore felt confident that I would be getting this support from Eastern Fostering Services in the future when I transferred over. The director of Eastern Fostering Services clearly pointed out that failing the child is not an option and showed me that the agency stands up for the child and supports the carer. Since transferring, my want and need to promote my agency and encourage new carers is back! Knowing that I’m not on my own to do my role is a blessing as at one point I was advocate, social worker and foster parent all in one and it became difficult to separate the three roles. With Eastern Fostering Services, I believe if I had an issue, it would be met with a ‘how can I help’ approach.
Since transferring, mine and the children’s relationship with the agency and Supervising Social worker has been exactly how it should be – with everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and being supportive to each other. There are encouraging support groups and a knowledge that professional support is there whenever needed. While joking with one of the children, he told me ” I’ll tell Amy! (supervising social worker.)” He clearly knew her role and how she would be there for him and that I was accountable to her.
I’m so glad that I spoke to the foster carers I knew and made a choice based on opinions I trusted and respected. The whole transferring process was done with ease. It seems to me that the Local Authority would have no objection to transferring children over to Eastern Fostering Services as they are clearly there for the child. Speaking to carers from Eastern Fostering Services is a must and will help you decide.
If you would like more information on Eastern Fostering Services, please get in touch. You can contact us at email@example.com, Facebook, or by visiting one of our events. If you are seriously considering fostering or indeed already foster but don’t feel supported where you are, we will happily put you in touch with our carers.