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How Team Fostering adapted to a New Normal during Coronavirus

13 May 2020

By Allison Poyzer, Placements Officer

Allison Poyzer, Placements Officer

As the uncertainty continues about when the world will ‘get back to normal’, we are learning to adapt to this ever-changing situation. Working in fostering, adaptability is hugely important for our work, but it's now become an integral part of our day to day. For Foster Care Fortnight 2020, we asked Allison Poyzer, Placements Officer at Team Fostering to talk about how our flexibility and resilience has powered us through the lockdown period.

“It was no surprise that staff at Team Fostering have risen to the challenge of this change to working practices and there has been very little, if any, disruption to services. We are business as usual, albeit a bit different!

Staff are working from home who have previously only ever been office based, meetings and support sessions are taking place via video call rather than face to face and the importance of communication has never been more evident since our offices closed and those updates we would get while making a morning cup of tea are no longer happening.

In the past couple of months, both staff and foster carers have become well acquainted with ‘home schooling’. It is fantastic that Team Fostering are able to provide support while our young people are out of school. As the guidelines suggest, Looked After young people are still able to attend school but if carers decide it is in the young person’s and family’s best interest for them to stay home then we would absolutely support their decision. Our Education Support Service provides regular ideas and activities for children of all ages. They have also been providing guidance on explaining this very complex and unprecedented situation to our young people as well as looking at ways to support the mental health of our young people.

As parents, we may have been questioning our effectiveness as ‘teachers’, wondering if we are getting it right. It is difficult but try not to worry about children ‘falling behind’. Every child is in the same position and they will be OK. Learning occurs in all sorts of ways, not just sat in a classroom. The most important thing is to stay safe and give yourself a break… we are all finding our way through this as best we can.

So, as we settle into our new version of ‘normal’ and adapt to the innovative and different ways of working, it is likely that we will look back on this time and think, wow! How did we get through that?! We will laugh at the unusual video call meetings that have been interrupted by our children requiring breakfast or a cat wandering in front of the monitor or the parrot giving a running commentary on what the dog is up to. We will be amazed that we would set an alarm for 3am to try and book an online Click and Collect slot for our weekly shop.

We will rejoice in our resilience to rise to the challenge. We will marvel at our ability to adapt and be flexible to our situation. We will remember with fondness how we pulled together as a team and helped each other. At Team Fostering, we’ll remember the sense of community we created through group chats, video calls and friendly check-ins here and there. We’ll remind ourselves of the work we did to ensure that our carers, young people and our colleagues always felt supported throughout this time.

With whatever challenge has come our way (and there’s certainly been a few) Team Fostering has responded with hard work, perseverance, flexibility, and always keeping children at the centre of everything we do.  

Team Fostering is a not-for-profit fostering agency covering the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. To learn more about joining us a as a foster carer, and to learn about the training, fees and support you'd receive, you can reach us in the following ways: