Why I chose parent and child fostering - Felicia
13 March 2023
13 March 2023
Felicia shares why she took the leap of faith with Parent and Child fostering. After working in a school why she decided to make the career move into fostering.
Fostering is always something that has sat at the back of my mind for as long as I can remember really, or at least wanting to help children. I am an adopted child so always felt I could relate a little bit to other children not growing up in their birth family’s home. My sister also gave me a book to read when I was younger called ‘A Child Called It’. That book and what that person went through as a child has always stuck with me. Once I had my daughter it just reinforced my passion for wanting to help more children. Too many children have such a difficult start in life and I wanted to be a part of trying to change that.
Choosing Nexus was a no-brainer for me. I had contacted a few other agencies as well as Nexus Fostering at the time of looking to start my journey into the world of fostering. I either didn’t hear back from other agencies or they just seemed very disinterested and not very friendly. The day I had my first initial visit with a Nexus social worker, I also had a visit from another agency that morning who basically told me I couldn’t foster because I was single and my job at the time didn’t give me every half-term or summer holiday off. During my meeting with Nexus Fostering, we discussed my options and how I could help a child in need in any way I could. The Nexus Fostering social worker was very keen to find solutions to any doubts I had been left with from my previous discussion with the other agency. The social worker couldn’t have been more supportive and encouraging from the second of meeting her if she tried. Three years later I’m an approved carer with experience in parent and child placements. So thank you Nexus Fostering for helping me to realise this was an option.
seeing the difference you are making to young people’s lives and giving them a second chance makes everything worthwhile
I was approved as a foster carer towards the end of 2019. After being approved I started to receive referrals for placements just before Covid hit the nation. My social worker phoned to ask if I would consider a parent and child placement on a temporary basis as I was at home all the time now. I agreed to this with not having done parent and child before as I never thought it would be a route I would go down. I worked part-time in a school and didn’t want to give up the security of regular income and just rely solely on fostering as I knew it could sometimes be gaps in between placements. By the time this placement ended, I knew this was the route I wanted to go down. I discussed with my supervision social worker how I could go about this, took a leap of faith by handing my notice in at the school and haven’t looked back since. I have had eight Parent & Child placements in my three years of fostering.
I believe with parent and child placements you have to be very open-minded. This is not your child to parent. They might do things differently from how you would parent your own child and you have to be able to stand back and let them do things their way, as long as it is safe to do so. When they do need that bit of extra support or guidance you have to be able to do this and explain things in a non-judgemental way otherwise you might be faced with confrontation or friction which no one wants. These people placed with you are new parents who love their baby and they want to care for their baby, they may already feel like they’re in a goldfish bowl with their every move being watched. They are away from their home comforts and own family or support network. Sometimes these people just haven’t witnessed a safe way of parenting themselves so don’t know any better.
Since starting my fostering journey with Nexus Fostering I have always felt supported. They are just great. They also ensure my daughter (aged 5) is happy with having people in our home which is really touching to know they consider her just as much as me in all this. The whole team are so supportive and helpful with anything you go to them with and nothing ever seems like too much trouble.
Fostering obviously has its challenges. The biggest thing, for me, is sometimes it can be incredibly restrictive or isolating and you feel like your own life gets put on hold to help these young mums but the positives always outweigh the negatives. I have been very lucky so far in my career and always managed to strike up a good working relationship with the mums. When it’s time for them to leave they are always so grateful and appreciative of the opportunity they have been given and very thankful for everything I do which is such a rewarding feeling. Having difficult or awkward conversations with them is always quite daunting (I hate confrontation) as you never know how it will be received. However, in my experience, as long as you approach the conversation in a non-judgemental way they have always taken on board what is being said very well and even ask for advice or what I would do.
My advice to people wanting to start fostering would be to research the reality of fostering. It isn’t always sunshine and daisies. Find and listen, really listen, to the stories and be honest with yourself if that is something you think you could cope with. Fostering can be incredibly challenging and even isolating sometimes, but brings such a rewarding feeling that I believe would be hard to find doing anything else. That is what makes those difficult days beyond worthwhile – seeing the difference you are making to young people’s lives and giving them a second chance for the best start that every child and young person deserves.
If you want to find out more about our parent and child fostering then check out the link - Parent & Child Fostering | Nexus Fostering
13 March 2023