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Meet Julie- Our Deputy Placements Manager & a foster carer

Meet Julie Placements (1)
Julie is the Deputy Placements Manager at Nexus Fostering and has been in the role since November 2019. Julie is also a foster carer and shares her story.
What inspired you to become a foster carer?

Fostering was something my husband and I discussed for a long time. My husband was adopted as a baby & we always felt that we would like to give children the opportunity to be with a loving family and help where we could. We have two daughters ages 24 & 18 and thought it would help them to be more understanding and compassionate, not that they weren’t, but to give them an understanding of helping other people. It didn’t feel the right time when our daughters were very young but as they got older we discussed it as a family and felt it was the right time to open our home and family to a child. We married in 1995 & started our fostering journey in 2014.

How did you find the process of becoming a foster carer and the matching process?

We enjoyed the experience! Although it was intrusive and time-consuming, our end goal was to become foster carers and we understood that they would need to know everything about us to ensure that we were able to look after vulnerable children.

We found it quite therapeutic to talk about our childhood experiences and I think it helped us to develop an understanding of ourselves as parents and how this could best help our fostering role. I love that with Nexus Fostering we are so open with our carers and share all information about the children.
Can you tell me a bit about your experience so far?

We have cared for seven young people so far in our fostering career, some longer than others, and one sibling placement that we made work for 10 days! Not all of these have been easy but we are generally quite a laid-back household and get through with understanding, humour and love.

It can be quite nerve-wracking waiting for the first placement to arrive & I think it has been with every young person as we have waited for them but we try our best to put them at ease, find out what they like to do & what food they like to eat.

Each of these things can go a long way in helping a child to feel safe. This is always our first priority, as we can only imagine how difficult it is for a child to go to a stranger's home and eat, use the bathroom, and sleep for the first time.

What type of fostering have you done? About your placements?
Our preference is really for teenagers, I feel that this is a great age to help with independence skills and to give a young person the benefit of a loving and safe home whilst they are becoming more independent.

Our first placement was a 12-year-old girl, she was meant to come to us for 3 weeks of respite & stayed for 3.5 years! She became part of our family and she got on well with our daughters. Unfortunately, she fell in with some not-so-great friends and after some missing and difficult times, it was felt best that she was moved out of the area. It was a tough goodbye but we have heard that she has gone on to do well and that makes us happy.

We next took a young sibling group of 7 & 10, we didn’t have room for 2 & the little girl was sleeping on a camp bed in our daughter's room, we fell in love with those kids & felt they were amazing but they were moved on quickly to a carer with 2 rooms, we kept in touch for a while but sadly not anymore. We had a 16-year-old girl with ASD who stayed put with us for a little while when she turned 18 before moving on to semi-independence. We then had a 10-year-old girl live with us for approximately 18 months before being reunited with Mum, this young girl transitioned to male pronouns & appearance whilst living with us and we supported this and the eventual return to mum where we built a relationship with her too. Our next placement was short-lived as the girl did not like our dogs & found them too loud, she asked to move on. We took a break for a while when I had an accident and broke my ankle but now have a fabulous 16-year-old girl living with us who has settled well and we adore her!

How do you balance your job at Nexus Fostering and being a foster carer? Do you have advice on how you manage your time?
Luckily Nexus Fostering understands the ups & downs of fostering and has been great.

My husband works shifts & my older daughter is still living at home & is home one day a week, we all pull together to make sure there is mostly someone home. It is a balance as there is always so much to do but we try to do something fun on a weekend at least once a month. My sister & best friend are also foster carers and it helps to have such an understanding support network for those times when it all feels a bit difficult. My SSW is also a fabulous support to us. I think as we both always worked when our children were young, we are used to balancing having a young person in our home and we can fit in meetings with our calendar between us, although mostly me!!

What are the positives of working within a fostering agency while being a foster carer?

I feel that my experiences working as a foster carer have helped me in my role at Nexus Fostering, I can understand what carers are going through and sometimes feel it helps to let carers know that I am also a foster carer, they seem to feel that I understand them and what their thoughts are when considering a potential match and trust that I am also considering them and their family and not just the child. I always say that a good match has to be right for everyone, not just the CLA as fostering is done as a family, especially if there are birth children or other CLA’s in the home.

I take great pride in every placement I make, knowing that I have made a good match and helped another child to find their potentially forever home or at least a great home while decisions are being made.

I also feel that working at Nexus Fostering has improved me as a foster carer and has given me a lot of knowledge that I use in my daily life. I am experienced at reading referrals and picking out what a child may need and feel I can ask the right questions to ensure a good match.

Do you have a standout memory of your fostering experience so far?

We have had a lot of fun and taken all of our longer-term children on holiday with us where we have always had a great time. No matter what behaviour challenges any of our young people have presented with, we have always fallen back on having fun and ensuring that they know that these can always be worked around and forgiven and that they are not at fault.

We always make a big deal of birthdays & Christmas to ensure they have great memories. We took our first young person & daughters to Disneyland Paris for a whirlwind trip over Christmas once & that is a great memory. There are little things as well that may not seem like much but are fantastic, the first time a child willingly hugs you or tells/indicates to you that they feel safe or like living with you, these are little moments to cherish.
What’s been the most challenging thing about your journey so far?

Some of the goodbyes have been difficult! When you start a placement you always know that they may not be with you forever and we are here to provide a loving home for as long as they need but you can’t help but love these kids and moving on can be difficult, you just have to hope that we were there for the right things and they will take that with them wherever they go.

How do you support children with family contact?

We always advocate for what the child wants in terms of contact, as a lot of our placements have been older, they have been able to manage their contact time. Otherwise, we usually drop off & collect when needed. We have had to supervise telephone calls in the past which can be awkward in the beginning but we are always just honest with our young people and say that although we care for them, it is a part of our fostering role to ensure they are safe and do what we are asked by their Social Worker. 

Do you keep in touch with your other foster children?

Unfortunately not, we get occasional Facebook messages/texts from the girl with ASD that we supported to semi-independence.

What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself since starting this journey?
I think the level of patience & understanding that we have developed over the years. We have learned to be more laid back & to use humour in a lot of situations. Also, our resilience and that of our children has surprised & impressed me, we have all found ourselves dealing with situations that we may not have if not for fostering and have overcome them. We have been able to grow trusting relationships with all of our young people based on our honest approach.
What advice would you give to those considering becoming a foster carer?

You need to be sure that this is right for you and your family. You will need a good support network, it can be difficult sometimes and you will need people that you can talk to, without disclosing confidentiality of course! You need to be sure that you can balance your life with the needs of a child who may be out of school or can have difficulties with their emotions. Your Supervising Social Worker and team are there to support you and there is some great training, you should take advantage of as much of this as you can to increase your knowledge & skills in preparing you for fostering.

You also have to learn to take the small things as victories and not expect big gestures or thanks from the young people you are caring for.
Can you sum up fostering to someone considering starting their journey?

If fostering is something you have been considering for a while, we would say go for it! It is more rewarding than you think! It can be busy and difficult at times but the fact that you can even give one child a safe & loving home for whatever length of time is very satisfying.

We are so pleased that we went for it and feel that it has helped us to grow and made us incredibly close as a family with these shared experiences. We love being a fostering family!

If Julie's fostering story has inspired you then you can apply to become a foster carer here.



Fostering stories


  • Advice
  • Young person
  • Long-term fostering

Date published

19 March 2024

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