One thing that is apparent when stepping into Mandy and Sharon’s home is that family is important to them. The walls are filled with photographs capturing moments shared between family and friends, many of those including the three young people who are currently in their care.
For Mandy, fostering was something that she knew would be part of her future and she had been considering it for 15 years prior to making her initial enquiry. Mandy was in the Air Force for years until she qualified as a nurse and became a midwife. Following her career as a midwife she joined the police force and worked in child protection which really sparked her interest in fostering after seeing first hand the need for more foster carers. Until she met Sharon, Mandy had always envisaged fostering as a single carer. Fostering was never something that Sharon had ever thought about until Mandy discussed her intentions with her and it didn’t become a reality until the couple gained some experience of caring for a young family member and realised that the time was right for them to take the plunge and embark on their fostering journey.
As someone who had considered fostering for a long time and had worked with foster carers and children in care Mandy wanted to explore how different fostering providers could support her. What stood out about Alliance Foster Care was that educating their foster carers is high on their list of priorities which Mandy felt was especially important to her, alongside practical support and being respected as a professional. Additionally, Mandy felt that whilst Alliance Foster Care were open about the fees received when fostering and were practical about remuneration available to foster carers this was not something that they promoted as a motivation to foster.
Mandy and Sharon have been part of the Alliance Foster Care family for two years now, although to them it feels like they have been fostering for a lifetime as they couldn’t imagine life without the three young people who are now settled and will remain with them. It hasn’t always been easy though; Mandy reflected on the night before the first young person joined them. She worried that everything was in place and knew that their initial meeting could be awkward but she hoped to draw on her personal experiences and felt that she may be able to relate to how unsettled he would feel as Mandy had experienced many moves as a child. Although Mandy’s initial worries are commonly experienced by carers, Mandy and Sharon’s first placement went from strength to strength and the couple welcomed a sibling group a year later too. Due to careful matching, the family unit has since thrived and the three young people will continue to live with the couple as a family on a permanent basis.
When reflecting on the successes of fostering Mandy feels that the couple’s daily logs are a great place to look back on their experiences and achievements. She often has ‘lightbulb moments’ when reviewing them and notices the subtle changes in behaviour that can make life changing differences to a child but acknowledges that this isn’t always clear when in the midst of a situation. Since their fostering career began Mandy has been impressed with the support that she has received from Alliance Foster Care, particularly from her Supervising Social Workers, noting ‘they want you to succeed and give you the confidence to do so’. When Mandy and Sharon began their fostering career little did they know that two years down the road that success would result in them sharing not only their home but their lives with 3 young people who they now consider family.
If like Mandy, fostering with Alliance Foster Care is something that interests you please don’t hesitate to get in contact today. Find out more about how you can take steps to welcome a child or young person into your family.
Click here to make your enquiry online.