By Rachael Johnson, Assistant Director (North East)
Many of the staff at Team Fostering have been with the agency for a long time, with some staff joining way back when the organisation was still in it's infancy! This is testament to the fact that at Team Fostering, many of the team members have found a place that supports their own values to improve the lives of as many vulnerable young people as possible. We asked our Assistant Director in the North East of England, Rachael Johnson, to tell us a little about her journey to joining Team Fostering, and what has made her stay with the agency since then.
"Team Fostering is an agency that prides itself on putting children’s futures first. We also have a strong sense of identity and community within our staff team and carer group. We have found, over time, that being an agency that does not profit from looking after children is the most important factor in why people join Team Fostering and why they stay with the agency.
The fact that we have staff and carers who have a strong sense of pride in the organisation and feel they are able to make a positive contribution towards making a difference to the lives of children and young people also motivates them to provide a high level of support to carers and the children they are looking after. We’ve seen this demonstrated recently when we have had to change how we work due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Staff have been providing the same high level of support to our carers using technology which we have all had to learn to use very quickly! Carers have been looking after children with complex needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have heard so many positive stories about how this has been an opportunity to just be together and this has really strengthened relationships. We have found that our children have also really engaged with using technology, which probably isn’t surprising as they are now the experts. We have been providing direct support to children and facilitating our usual groups using technology.
Each member of staff has their own journey with Team Fostering, but my own began in 2004 when the agency was newly established. During a career break from my substantive post following the birth of my youngest child, I started to assess people to become foster carers with Team Fostering. It quickly became very clear to me that the agency genuinely does what it says on the tin in that the absolute focus is on ensuring that carers are able to meet the needs of the children referred to the agency.
As I returned to my work at a national charity providing a therapeutic service to children living away from their birth families I worked with a number of children and young people who were placed with Team Fostering carers. This experience only served to reinforce my view that children and young people living with Team Fostering carers have very positive experiences and outcomes.
When a post came up with the agency in 2013, I jumped at the chance to apply. I had not been looking to leave my previous role as a manager in the charity, but Team Fostering was an agency I knew I really wanted to work for. I wanted to be part of an agency that was able to respond to the needs of children and young people at a local level.
Almost 7 years on I am the Assistant Director covering the north east region of the agency. I feel very proud to be part of this agency that places great value on the people within it, from staff and carers to sessional staff. I know that we all have one shared goal and that is to put our children’s futures first and that is why I hope to be in my post at Team Fostering for the rest of my career."
If you're interested in learning how you could join Team Fostering as a foster carer, you can reach us in the following ways:
- Call us on 0800 292 2003
- Email us via email@example.com
- Submit an online enquiry form by clicking here