What are your names and how long have you been fostering?
Louise and Chris. We have been fostering for 10 years.
How many placements have you been involved with, and how many of these have involved caring for a child or young person with additional needs?
We have had 5 placements – 2 were respite. All have been caring for young people with additional needs. Our current placement is caring for two sibling boys, one with an identified disability and one not.
Have Nexus Fostering provided you with, or supported you in, any specialist training?
Due to our previous roles and current experience we have not needed to access any other additional specialist training except that offered through other avenues and work in which we are involved. However, we were provided with some bespoke training which enabled us to better support the young man in our care.
What sort of challenges have you faced as specialist carers and how do you cope with them?
Sometimes dealing with challenging behaviour out in the community has been difficult, especially when we have had to implement positive handling techniques.
Sometimes our family and friends have found some of the behaviour they present and the less socially acceptable behaviours a bit daunting, but we have kept lines of communication and questioning open and been honest with them.
What did you find most rewarding about fostering?
Watching the young people develop in confidence and independence and find their voice (even if non -verbal), and assisting them with a personal toolkit that they can always carry with them on their life’s journey and pathway to independence.
As with most children it’s wonderful to experience their unique abilities and to support them taking an active role within the community. The most rewarding though, has to be experiencing a young man use positive meaningful communication for the first time, opening a new world for him.
What is your fondest memory from one of your placements?
Our young man signing ‘no’ for the first time. (The first sign he learned to use.)
What is the main message you would like to get across to someone who is learning about fostering for the first time?
It is hard work, and very different to bringing up your own children. It can be incredibly rewarding but you need to be ready to embrace the challenges that you may need to face but there is always someone there to help you – you are not doing this alone you are part of a wider team.