Meet our Everyday Heroes!
Meet Karen and Allan, Fostering Solutions Oundle ‘Everyday Heroes’ for August. They were nominated by their social worker for the outstanding work that they do for the children in their care, support they give to other carers and also to major lifestyle and home adaptions they have made in order to continue to care for children with additional needs.
Their journey started back in 2002 with Nene valley fostering agency, which later became part of the fostering solutions group. Previous to this Karen and Allan had supported a friend who had an adoption breakdown and helped care for the eldest child. This spurred them on to look at becoming fostering carers and help more children. Karen was so committed to fostering that she gave up smoking so that she could foster children of all ages ( foster carers can smoke but outside the family home and wouldn’t have a children under 5 placed with them)
Karen was honest and said that she did find the assessment difficult as they were worried they would get refused due to both having ex partners and also obtaining references for this. However they were not going to let this stop them going ahead as they felt the hardwork would be worth it. Karen found the best part of the assessment to be the training and 16 years later Karen still enjoys training as this is able to support her fostering journey.
Karen and Allan were approved in April 2002 and on the same day of approval received information on their first placement! This would be to support a child who was in residential care and would need a foster carer during the holidays and weekends. Karen and Allan were of course nervous but excited that their journey was starting. Since this first place Karen and Allan have now had 28 placements.
Karen and Allan currently have 3 children in placement. Two siblings and a teenage girl who has been with them a short while. Karen wanted to share more detail on her placement of the two siblings – they are twins who have severe additional needs. Karen and Allan have supported the siblings through shared care with the parents for 9 years. This is one of the less common placement types but plays a crucial role in supporting parents particularly those with additional needs. Both children are wheelchair bound and due to this it; required Karen and Allan to have major adaptions to the house to support the girls. This involved moving out of their home for a long period of time, Allan having to have time off work as they had to stay away from home and a big upheaval for all. Karen and Allan knew that it was going to be difficult but wanted to ensure that the home was equipped correctly for the girls in order for them to be able to stay in placement. Due to the severity of the girls needs placement matching needs to fit with their needs.
Difficulties that you may face as foster carers;
- Social media
- Mobile phones
- Children moving on
- Paperwork – especially during the holidays when children are at home more
- Asylum seekers
- Children with additional needs
- Support from other foster carers
- Attending support groups
- Good relationships with birth family
- Good professional relationships including schools
- Good handovers from other placements
Types of placements they have had;
What’s important to support you on your journey into fostering?
What would you say to someone who was newly approved / looking into fostering?
‘Best thing I have ever done and nothing else could match this’
‘The most fulfilling you will ever do’
‘Think carefully, what can you cope with, does it fit with you and your family. Don’t feel guilty as it needs to be right for you and the children in placement’