…Valued members of the Alliance fostering family since 2015
Debbie can remember her first placement like it was yesterday. She described the experience of welcoming the first young person into their home as ‘terrifying’, but beneath her initial worries Debbie revealed that she would soon have a lot in common with the little stranger she was presented with as they would share a life changing fostering journey.
Fast forward 9 years and Debbie and Maureen are now experienced foster carers who have cared for 8 different children within their fostering career. They transferred to the Alliance team 3 years ago after moving to the local area. Due to their experience they knew exactly what that they were looking for in an agency and excellent support was top of their agenda. The couple importantly wanted to feel that they were fostering for an agency who not only supported their needs, but also the needs of the child in their care and since fostering with Alliance Debbie commented, ‘Alliance is a small organisation but is big in terms of support and care. If there is an issue you are supported not only by your own supervising social worker but every member of the team. Everyone knows who you are and you are not left to cope alone’.
Debbie describes fostering as ‘not just a job but a life’ which is one of the things that interested her in the role when she first considered becoming a foster carer. Debbie came from a retail background which she enjoyed but it was not fulfilling her need to care and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Upon approval Debbie left the retail sector to become a full time foster carer, with Maureen supporting her alongside her role as a police officer. Since making the change Debbie hasn’t looked back. When asked about one of her most memorable fostering moments Debbie can’t choose just one; ‘It’s the little things, like when they ride their first bike, being able to sleep at night or seeing them building new relationships. There’s lots of successes with fostering, often it’s not all about the big steps, but taking baby steps, that’s what really makes a difference’.
As carers who have looked after children aged from 18 months to 17 years Debbie has learnt that the fostering role is one that has to change with each child, regardless of their age. Debbie enjoys the guidance and support aspect of fostering that is required when looking after older children and feels that it can be equally as rewarding as fostering little ones. ‘Fostering teenagers is about giving love and care, guidance and support. About helping them to make the right choices and teaching them that their experiences don’t have to define who they are’.
So after nearly a decade of fostering would Debbie still recommend the role? ‘I would definitely recommend fostering with the provision that it can be challenging at times, but also great and often the challenges can be satisfying as when you get through them, you have been on a journey with that child and at the end you’ll have got through it together, as a family. You can’t be afraid of the challenges as they are what lead to the great times’.
If you would like to find out more about how you can make an amazing difference to a child or young person’s life just like Debbie and Maureen make an enquiry today by calling 0808 1680 180 or click here to make your enquiry online.