20 years of fostering - Ann and Tom
01 June 2023
01 June 2023
Ann and Tom have been foster carers with Nexus Fostering since the beginning. Tom says, “It started by looking after a family member, and we realised we could do it for other children that needed it. Everyone at Nexus Fostering was so friendly. It felt like a family and still does to this day. They have very high standards, so our Social Worker came to our house to check our spare room was adequate. A Form F Assessor supported us through the checks and references and even accompanied us to Panel, where we were approved. It was just such an easy process with Nexus Fostering. We knew we had made the right decision”.
Children are in care for various reasons. They need a safe home environment when they cannot live with their birth family. “Having a strong support network around you is crucial,” says Ann. “You need a good Supervising Social Worker to be with you every step. We’ve had great ones with Nexus Fostering. The support groups and events are essential to attend. They are a great way to get to know other carers and build friendships in your area”. Tom continues, “the training is so important. It builds up your knowledge as all children have different needs.”
“We’ve had over 60 placements within our 27 years of fostering,” says Tom. “The hardest thing is when they leave. Seeing them reunite with their families and thanking us for everything we have done makes it all worth it”. He continues, “When we started with Nexus Fostering, we had a family of 5 join us for the weekend, and they stayed for two years! We wouldn’t change a thing. Seeing the children grow up, be happy, enjoying themselves, with the help we gave them, is why we still foster”. Ann says, “we had 11 Parent & Child placements from 2013-2019. Every one of them kept their children. We are not here to be their parents but to help support and guide them for their future”.
It's our family, and that's what fostering is, family
Ann says, “I still use the information from the training course Grace sent me on 26 years ago. Foster carers should be at the training courses so they can also talk to other carers. Getting advice or hints and tips from other carers helps”. Ann continues, “we met our friend Chris on a training course, and 27 years later, we are still friends. Fostering brings people together”.
Ann says, “we never judge them and we don’t say horrible things about their parents. Now they are at our house; it’s a fresh start. We don’t talk about what’s happened before unless they want to. With a Parent & Child placement, I’ll tell them straight that they are the parent. I’m here to help and guide them with support in any way I can, but I won’t lie for them. If they do something wrong, I will tell them and advise them on how best to do it better next time. When I record the daily recordings, they read them; if they are unhappy about something, we can talk about it. I tell them I like a good laugh, have fun, and we are here to help them keep their children. We are not here to take their children away, but they must work with us.”
Tom says, “we offer them guidance and support. For example, when a family stays with us, we sit down and have a Sunday roast together. They love being part of a family”. Ann continues, “we take them shopping to teach them how to budget, or things like don’t get the nearest ham, get the one from the back! It’s life skills.”
Ann says, “It’s great when kids come back and say you’re a great carer, you’ve done this and you’ve done that. For us its part of life. You do what you can. You know when they move on you’ve had an impact on their life. We don’t think we are great carers, we are just carers.”
“Do your research,” says Tom, “and think about which agency will support you and your family.” Foster Carers from all walks of life are needed to enable these children to grow and flourish into independent, well-rounded adults. Ann says, “For us fostering is normal life. It’s hard to explain how much pleasure we get from fostering in the good and bad times. We are so proud of all of our children. I know we have done something good. It’s our family, and that’s what fostering is, family”.
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01 June 2023