There is a common misconception that army families are not able to foster due to the nature of their work requiring them to be posted around the UK. However, the NFA have some successful fostering army families, and here is the inspiring story of one of these families.
Danny and Lisa were approved as foster carers for the NFA seven years ago while they were living at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. We recruited this lovely family at the Aldershot Army Show where we had a recruitment stall. Lisa and Danny are passionate about fostering and over the years have gained a great deal of experience, finding fostering to be a very rewarding career.
Growing up Lisa always considered being a foster carer, she had a real passion to support children. When she and Danny were married, they spoke about fostering, and thought it would work well with their family.
Here’s what Lisa says about fostering:
“Initially we were concerned about how fostering would work with being in the army, as we had several moves over the years. Our Supervising Social Worker reassured us that with the National Fostering Agency, our moves would not impact on our placements, as we could foster children from all over the country. We are used to moving, and having to fit in with new communities, so in a way we can really empathise and identify with the children who we care for, as they have to leave their homes, their families and friends and make a start in a new community.
“The army are aware that we foster, as we have had to gain permission to foster in MOD accommodation. They have been supportive of us fostering, and we have not experienced any difficulty with this.
“We have been fostering for 6 years, during this time we have supported young people and children with various needs and issues, including issues of abuse, specific health needs and parental mental health. Some children have been rehabilitated to birth families, and some have moved on for independence. We have really enjoyed fostering, and the level of support that we can offer the children in our care. Both Danny and I value the relationships that we have made with the young people, and the positive impact we have on their lives in a short space of time.
“When fostering you have to have an open mind and accept that you will not always have all the information about a child at times, but it will eventually come. We have always ensured that we spend individual time with a child placed to find out their likes, dislikes and hobbies.
“We like to make children feel that they are an important part of our family, and that they have a say. We hold family meetings, and everyone’s voice has equal importance. We expect children to all make an equal contribution to the running of the household, whether this is walking the dog, or helping with clearing up after dinner. Make sure that you have the correct support in place through your Supervising Social Worker, they are an important link with the child’s Social Worker and other professionals.”
Lisa and Danny are a fantastic example of how well fostering can work in an army family, and how supportive the armed forces have been in helping facilitate their fostering work. The system has worked seamlessly as the couple moved, allowing them to have a positive influence on the lives of many children nationwide in a short period of time.