This September, we’re exploring what Team Fostering means to the many different people who know us best. Our foster carers, our staff and the young people we support all share their views in a brand-new campaign; ‘This is My Team Fostering’.
We know that our staff and carers often have a range of reasons that draw them towards Team Fostering. From our comprehensive package of fees and support, to the close-knit staff team, to our not-for-profit status – all of these factors contribute to how our agency is viewed and valued by the people we work with every day. To explore some of these aspects, we asked our fantastic foster carer Helen to tell us more about what Team Fostering means to her.
“In 2009, my partner Neil agreed with me to look into fostering - my family had fostered when I was small and Neil’s mum was a social worker. We did a lot of research - we contacted our local authorities and also Team Fostering after seeing an advert. We read Ofsted reports and spoke to existing carers.
From our first meeting we knew it had to be Team; the not-for-profit status was really important. In the September of 2009, we were finally approved as foster carers and our lives changed completely.
I now count many Team carers as my best friends, we’re all very different but the thing that we share is our passion for making children and young people’s lives better. When things go wrong, I know I can count on their knowledge and support. If I need to ring Team Fostering out of normal hours, the phone will be answered, and I actually know who I’m speaking to. Sometimes all you need is reassurance that you are doing the right thing.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing but the high points keep you going, things like a child being invited to a friend’s birthday party for the first time; going to a young man’s graduation with his mum and feeling like you will burst with pride; having two girls squeeze your hands as an aeroplane takes off on their first flight. It’s not always the big things either; it can simply be being asked for another hug at bedtime, singing along to the radio together or giggling at silly jokes.
I’m lucky that the children and young people who have lived with us in the past still stay in touch and think of us as family, and we consider them as our family too. I sometimes joke that I can’t get rid of them but I really wouldn’t want to.
If you’re thinking of joining Team, I would recommend that you look up Ofsted reports, ask for a visit and talk to existing carers.
Being a Team Fostering foster carer isn’t simply a job - it’s a lifestyle, a family. We celebrate the successes of all the children not just the ones who live with us. Team Fostering is completely child-focused - from managers, office staff, social workers and carers we all work together because we share a common goal, to make a difference. As a lovely African proverb said: 'It takes a village to raise a child.’
You can read more more about the 'This is My Team Fostering' campaign here, and follow it on social media using the #MyTeamFostering hashtag.
To find out more about fostering with Team Fostering, give us a call on 0800 292 2003; live chat with us here on our website, or leave us an enquiry here.