23rd February, 2021
Hi, my name is Chris, I started with Excel in December in the role of Supervising Social Worker. It has been great starting with this brilliant team as well as meeting some our amazing carers. I cannot imagine your role has been easy during this difficult time, so I applaud you all for your wonderful work. I look forward to one day being able to meet you all and not just from a computer screen.
My parents were foster carers for over 10 years, and it is an aspect of my life that inspired me to pursue social work and working within a fostering agency. My parents unfortunately did not foster with Excel, which is a shame, as we did not live locally. My parents initially began with an Independent Fostering Agency, when I was around 8 years old, and I will admit it was nerve racking. So, I can definitely understand how you and your family feel, as my family has experienced several ups and downs that the role can provide with some of the highlights of the experience such as supporting children with complex needs and children returning to their parents. However, there were difficult times and moments where we as a family felt unsupported. This is why I am so happy to be working with an agency who strongly values their foster carers and supports you all to do your amazing role.
My experience of support from the agency was brilliant, and they had so much support available to my sister and I, such as a support group for birth children, I remember how the social worker would even bring us Mars bar scones, which was a big plus (I will not promise that as they will end up burnt). This support group was so good, we were able to make friends with other children and young people who were in a similar situation to us and where we could have some time outside of the home as well. We also did really fun activities such as making pizza, arts, and crafts as well as outdoor events. This was also a good opportunity to have some more education about fostering, some of the topics I can recall are: why children are in care as well as the impact of this. We were able to talk to the social workers and support workers as well. I used the opportunity to ask questions, even if they were a bit silly, like ‘how come my foster brother gets more pocket money than me’. This was an amazing opportunity for my sister and I to get out of the home and have our voice heard by professionals as well as make friends who were in the same position as us.
My parents had to transition to local authority foster care. This local authority did not offer the support groups for birth children and this was really disappointing to my sister and me, as we felt disconnected from the service and felt like our views were not sought. Before I qualified, I was on placement within a Local Authority Fostering Team and was pleased to be involved in a support group for children who families foster. I remember the children and young people would come to me and discuss anything they were worried about because ‘I was just like them’.
I really enjoyed being a part of this group and cannot wait to be involved with this support in Excel. When speaking with our support workers they said we have a similar group called ’The Kidz who Foster Group’, I knew I wanted to get involved because of how important my fostering support group was to me. I was also able to hear about all the fun activities the group has done in the past such as crafts, trampolining and other wonderful activities. I cannot wait to attend these groups and be involved alongside our amazing support workers. So, when this group is able to meet, I would love to see you all there!