In June 2017 , while attending Armed Forces Day on the Hoe in Plymouth, I stopped at the Pathway Care stand briefly with my daughter and as I walked away I said I would have loved to have fostered, the lady replied “Why don’t you?”
“Because I am a single parent” I replied.
I was handed a leaflet and from then my journey to foster began.
I had an online chat and then a telephone call which led to my Social Worker Mark coming to see me at home.
I thought about everything and later that year we were having an extension built on our house, so i decided to put fostering on hold. I informed Mark of my decision and that I would be back in touch; there was no pressure from Mark and he told me I was welcome to get back in touch when I felt the time was right.
In November 2018, I started to think about Fostering again and what I had to offer to a child. I also had a special birthday the following June and thought to myself, if I don’t do this now, then I never will.
In January 2019, I made contact with Mark and he came back to visit and the process started.
I had an assessing Social Worker come to see me and my daughter at home called Tasha. Tasha took me though the assessment and completion of my form ‘f’ and Tasha helped me look at things I hadn’t really thought about. I had in my mind about not fostering females due to me being a single male carer, Tash said “You have ten years experience with your own daughter, why won’t you let someone else have the benefit of that?” It made me think!
In February 2019 I attended a ‘Skills to Foster’ course. When I arrived I was the only one that had attended and the trainer ‘Kim’ asked me ‘if I was sure I wanted to do the three day course alone.’ I did proceed with the course and after the three days was so pleased I had.
On day three, I got to meet a lovely couple who had been fostering for about ten years. They had fostered sibling groups and one of those groups was a large group and had been with them for a long time. I thought how amazing this couple was.
The ‘Skills to Foster’ Course made me want to Foster even more.
In May 2019 I went to to panel, a group of eight people sat around a table and me and my assessing social worker Tasha. I was nervous but excited at the same time.
I sat there and was made to feel at ease, I was asked some questions about me and my daughter and then was asked to wait outside while a decision was made.
I went into the kitchen and Tasha came too. As I turned on the kettle to make a drink, I heard the words “well that was easy, congratulations Darren.” I remember the emotion that came over me and sat there feeling overwhelmed.