10 Questions – FFI Foster Carer
Grace and her husband Declan have been fostering with FFI for over ten years. In that time they have cared for over 15 children on a long term, short term, respite and emergency basis making them some of our most experienced carers. Grace sat down with us for 10 Questions about her take on fostering and working with FFI.
- What made you want to become a Foster Carer?
My husband was in care as a child and it was something that he has spoken about for a long time over a number of years.
- What were the main things you needed to consider before making the decision to enquire?
We were concerned about how it might impact our family and any effect it may have on our own children. At the time we originally looked into fostering we didn’t have a spare room so it wasn’t an option for us at that time. When we moved to our current home we had two spare rooms so decided to look into it again.
- How did your own children react when you told them you wanted to become a Foster Carer?
Our children had quite a good knowledge of what fostering was and one of our children was friends with a child who was in care. We also knew a family locally who were involved with Fostering.
- How did you find the assessment process?
Brilliant. It really helped us make up our minds and confirmed that this was right for us and for our family. In the assessment process you have to show complete honesty and no stone can be left unturned. Part of the assessment involved myself and my husband being honest about our thoughts and feelings towards one another. It’s always nice to get a reminder of how you feel about one another.
- When you are approved as a Foster Carer, you will develop a relationship with your own Link Social Worker. What would you consider the best attribute of a Link Social Worker and how have they offered you support across your time as a carer?
They have an ability to see things we don’t and to spot things that we may need that we don’t even realise yet. Our Link Social Worker always considers the needs of our children and our family as a whole. It helps if you can be honest with them and if they have a sense of humour.
- When you are waiting for a young person to arrive in your home for the first time, what thoughts are going through your mind?
Oh god, will they like us? Will we like them? Will we have things in common? A million questions but it’s completely normal really. You wonder if how long it will take them to relax in the home and be themselves. Normal things like going and making a sandwich for themselves or just having a shower rather than feeling they need to ask beforehand.
- What would you identify as the most important support that FFI offer to carers?
Definitely the ongoing support from your Link Social Worker. The reassurance that they are always on the other end of a phone is invaluable and if for whatever reason they cannot answer it’s never long before they are back in touch. Knowing that everything you tell them is recorded and treated with respect is very important.
- FFI host monthly Carer Groups across the country. Can you explain the benefits of these groups and what their main purpose is?
The monthly carer group is a great opportunity to meet and talk with other foster carers. We start each meeting with a good news story from everyone in attendance about the children or young people in their care. They are very useful if anyone is having a problem as the likelihood is that someone within the group will have experienced it before and can offer some advice and assistance on it. We all have a nice lunch after the group has finished.
- FFI host a range of different training modules for Foster Carers. For you, which has been the most enjoyable and also the most useful?
For me it would probably be the Attachment Training as it offered a great insight into the reasons behind why a child may be acting out in a particular way. If you can get to the reasons behind this then it’s always easier to find a solution. My husband really enjoyed the six day Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Foster Carers course. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to do that soon.
- Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wanted to consider becoming a Foster Carer?
Get as much information as you can and attend the induction course. You have nothing to lose, go for it.