How I support our Foster Carers through tough times - Part 1
22 September 2023
22 September 2023
Meet Jenny, our Carer Engagement Officer. Jenny tells us about her new role and how she is getting stuck into supporting our foster carers.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I started working for Nexus Fostering in July 2023, and my role is Carer Engagement Officer. I cover three areas within Nexus Fostering: Cambridgeshire, South East and Anglia. I have my two dogs which are cockapoos and I enjoy reading, watching films and travelling in my free time.
I have worked in local authorities since 1999, when I started working at a Children's Home, and have done a variety of jobs for social care, including working in a children's home; I worked on a frontline Child Protection Team. I have worked in family assessment centres, and before this job, I spent about nine years working for an adoption support team in the London Borough of Barnet and left that because of the travel on the M25 every day. Then, with my husband, we fostered for a couple of years, which was successful with the children but was an absolute minefield in terms of the support we got, and we left because we did not feel supported. After fostering, I worked in a pottery for a while, then I put an advert on Indeed to look for a local admin job, and Nexus Fostering sent me an invite to interview. Reading the role on the Nexus Fostering website just felt so positive. They had a lot of attributes that had been missing from my experiences as a foster carer in terms of support, and it felt much more positive and child-centred but also foster carer-centred. This role was going to be somewhere where I could do something using the experience that I had, that would be positive but also therapeutic for me because it meant that my experience hadn't gone to waste. It wasn't in vain. That's how I ended up in this role.
Tell me about your role, what it's about and what the what the aim is?
I aim for people to know who I am so that when things get difficult, they have another avenue alongside their Supervising Social Worker. I am going out, listening to our foster carers' experiences, and asking them to tell me their stories and experiences. From that, we have an insightful conversation where we pick out what didn't work and what the challenges were when they are fostering. When things did work, why did they work? Is that something that we already do? Is that something that we can introduce? It's also about allowing foster carers to feel heard. My focus is on the foster carers. I know who their foster children are, but I don't have to necessarily talk about their foster children because I want to know what's happening for our foster carers. There will be discussions around their foster children and what they need, but also concentrating on how it feels to be a foster carer because it can be challenging. The fact is that your home place is your workplace, that it's 24/7.
I also want to look after the Supervising Social Workers and anybody who supports the foster carers because they need to go in at their best. It is about making sure everybody involved in the care is looked after and cared for. If people feel held through tough times, they're more able to move through that with the young person and hopefully lead to fewer disruptions and changes. I can go in and spend time with that person to look at the challenges and how well they did. Making sure that they know how much good they have contributed to. If a placement breaks down, I spend time with them to get them to a point where they have managed to process this as best as they can and think about welcoming another child into their home.
Head to part 2 to continue reading about Jenny and her role - How I support our Foster Carers through tough times - Part 2 | Nexus Fostering
22 September 2023