“We believe in you.”
When Team Fostering co-founders Peter Richardson, Elaine and Walter Young decided, over 20 long years ago, that what the foster care sector was missing was authentic, child-focused, not-for-profit care, they knew that the journey towards a new approach wasn’t going to be easy.
While the founding team had a great deal of experience from past roles in other agencies and local authorities, a new and unproven agency had to build up that trust from scratch, with foster carers, industry colleagues and a small staff team being asked to take a ‘leap of faith’ to come on board.
But remarkably, they did, and voted very early on to join this fledgling agency. As Walter explains, “We didn’t know if we’d last a year! For others to join us and say, ‘we believe in you’, was a massive vote of confidence for us. It was a very principled step to take in the Independent Fostering Agency marketplace, and if others hadn’t come with us, it may not have worked.”
It was a scary and challenging time at the start, and required a real commitment from all of the staff and carers to Team Fostering’s ethical position. But Team stayed the course, as new carers were drawn to Team Fostering’s core values – respect, authenticity, child-centred care – which remain the same 20 years on.”
“We knew that our foster carers were volunteering their time in a way that you wouldn’t if you were only focused on the financial return – they were opening their homes and hearts to young people. What we were doing had to have meaning because we were working with the most vulnerable children in society. This meant we had to make sure the money we made would be reinvested back where it was needed.”
But while our values have remained the same throughout, Team Fostering changed in many ways too. “We definitely matured as an agency.” Walter explains, “While we wanted to compete with the other agencies, and to replicate a lot of their ‘good bits’, we also moved to a point where we could accept our differences to our competitors too.”
Now, in 2021, our team is as strongly focused on providing happy, healthy futures for vulnerable young people as we were at the very start. Our 2020 Employee Survey showed that our position as a not-for-profit fostering agency remains important to 100% of our staff team. Our brilliant carers continue to support and welcome children into their homes – but in 2021, as demand for stable foster care increases, we need more carers to come on board.
If you value an ethical, non-profit approach to fostering, start your fostering journey by getting in touch: