Fostering Stories: A Chat with Jamie Lewton and Simon Midgley
We like to chat with our existing carers about their experiences with Fostering Solutions. We believe this can clear up any misconceptions about the process of registering as a foster carer and what the responsibility entails.
We chatted to two of our foster carers, Jamie Lewton and Simon Midgley about their experiences since registering with Fostering Solutions and taking on their first placement.
Why did you decide to become a foster carer?
We have always been interested in having children but not really looked into fostering as we didn’t know much about it. When looking at options to start a family we came across some information about fostering and we were intrigued to know more. We were always interested in supporting our local community as well as supporting and mentoring people for the future and fostering appeared to be a great fix.
Tell us about your initial contact with Fostering Solutions?
We started the process with an initial phone conversation, not really knowing what would be asked or what to expect. The discussion, however, was very free flowing and conversational. It basically started with them wanting to know about us and why we wanted to do fostering. The contact was great, with the social worker putting us at ease and making us more excited to start this journey. All the staff from this point were friendly, knowledgeable and very welcoming.
What did the process involve and how did you feel after the initial visit?
The whole process was simple and straightforward. It started with a phone call but then moved to informal face-to-face informal interviews. The initial visit was nerve wrecking as we didn’t know what to expect or if the house was good enough. However the social worker put us at ease, was extremely friendly and chatty. The process itself felt therapeutic and simple, basically just talking about yourself from where you grew up to the person you are.
It was intrusive, but it had to be to make sure you are the right person and had the right focus. We also attended a pre-training course with other potential carers to look at cases and again ensure we were the right carers and also that we were the right people for Fostering Solutions. After a few months of weekly interviews with the social worker, this was then placed into a report showing our journey from childhood to adulthood and the people we were. This was then presented to an independent panel to confirm our approval and recommendations to become foster carers.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering making that first step into becoming a foster carer?
Ask as many questions and never be afraid to learn more about the young people you will come into contact with. Seek advice and never be afraid to research and speak with existing carers. Always be open and honest in answers so you really get to understand the process and what it’s like to be a foster carer.
What is involved in the assessment process, and what kind of information did the independent assessor want to find out?
The assessment process was straightforward based on the social worker completing joint and solo interviews. The information that was wanted and gathered was wide, from learning about our childhoods to our views and values in life today. The process was simple but got you to think what a foster carer actually did and how you would cope in certain situations. The assessment also did the basic background checks from criminal, financial and social care checks. This was all collected together to form a report on our lives.
How did you feel when you were notified of your first foster care placement?
At first, it was shocking but then it became exciting and intriguing. After months of assessment, it was finally our time to make a difference and support this young person. We really didn’t know what they would expect when they came or how we would react. From this placement, we never looked back and even today, when we get the call, we get excited and start planning all the wonderful things we will do with the young person.
What ongoing training and support is available to you?
The support has been phenomenal, with continued one-to-one support from our own social worker on a monthly basis to counselling sessions as needed. Training is spread throughout the year and covers a multitude of courses from knowledge-based ones such as child protection, online safeguarding to more practical-based ones on dealing with challenging behaviour and dealing with emotional distress in the looked after child.
We’d like to thank Jamie and Simon for taking the time to talk to us, and for their continued great work in their role as foster carers.
If you have been inspired by Jamie and Simon’s story and are interested in becoming a foster carer, visit our homepage for more information or call us today on 0800 160 1605.