I always had a burning desire to help young people but for some reason never acted on this ambition. I had a busy job as a Credit Controller and an active social life, so it was one of those things that stayed at the back of my mind. Then I plucked up the courage to make the initial call to the Local Authority. I started off as a respite carer for weekends for children who needed a 1:1.
Then, in the week to keep myself busy, I started taking in emergencies. This is what got my adrenaline going as you never know what was going to come through your door. I quickly realised it was always a good idea to keep a range age of socks, underwear etc. as they came with nothing. One emergency placement is still here now – five years on!
When an opportunity to take redundancy came up I decided to take it and move further down the fostering route. Plus working full-time and fostering… it was hard having time off work and fitting all the meetings in.
Helping children flourish
I currently have a teenage girl and teenage boy whom are currently working very hard on their independence skills. One teenager I have in placement never got on at school, but since being at college and a lot of communication from me they are now flourishing and have made some very good academic achievements this year. The other teenager has returned to education after being neet (not in education, employment, or training) for more than a year.
Stability from my agency
I am just completing my second year with National Fostering Group and I can honestly say it was the best thing for me to move from the Local Authority. I have stability now; the agency are the extra layer which sometimes you need to ensure that both your interests and the child’s interests are looked after.
I consider myself very lucky to be a part of these young people’s lives and I know they have taken a little piece of knowledge from me, that they can begin to trust once again.
Has Helen’s story inspired you?
We’re a national fostering agency, but the bulk of our work goes on in the local offices across the country. Our agency teams support foster parents from application to their first placement, and on. If this is the kind of fostering agency you want to work with, enquire today.