Can you be a respite foster carer?

Mel and Shelly’s story

Mel & I, Shell, have been fortunate enough to be GLF foster carers since September 2018.

We feel extremely privileged to be GLF foster carers and to be in a position whereby we can empower and equip our most vulnerable children in our communities to live a happier life; to demonstrate how worthy they are and to provide them with the opportunity to separate their negative experiences from their true potential.

Mel and I fully believe in the acronym, CARE, and every single decision we make is centered around what CARE means to us as carers and as parents who have four children.

C stands for Compassion. Compassion for self and others. It is extremely difficult to provide compassion to others if our own self-talk is not compassionate. We live in a very fast paced society where we are constantly under so much pressure to perform, to be the very best and to be competitive. Teaching our children to be kinder to self and to others allows us to create a deeper self-worth, which is the bedrock for happiness.

A stands for affirmation. Affirmation to self and others. We find that self-affirmations help us to build our self-confidence and our ability to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone. For us to secure a different result, we must take the risk to explore other behaviours and be more receptive to try new experiences. Affirming others also help us to create deeper connections with others.

R stands for Reflection. Mel and I have learnt that if we can encourage our children to create a space to pause and reflect, they take more responsibility for their desired outcomes or their decisions; they start to base their decisions that involves empathy and seeing that it is not always about the I, but the WE. Taking the time to be grateful for what you have or have achieved, as opposed to what you do not have or have not achieved makes a huge difference to how you navigate through life.

E stands for Enthusiasm. The enthusiasm to live life fully; to take an active approach to life and not to be a spectator of life. Screen time is a good indicator of whether we are participants or spectators of life. The enthusiasm to take on developmental feedback so you can self-improve; the enthusiasm to try new experiences. Having the right food, rest and life-style has a significant impact on how enthusiastic we approach life.

In summary, all the activities we engage our foster children in and the approach we take is hugely influenced by C.A.R.E.

Our foster children have all been receptive to a wide range of character, emotional intelligence and well-being bolstering interventions, such as baking cakes for a charity called Free Cakes For Kids; attending gardening sessions at Edible London; well-being days at Dalston Eastern Curve Gardens; Social Action Projects that raise money for a charity that promotes sustainable income in Pakistan; YMCA after school clubs; weekend drama classes; Communities that come together for Iftar.

Mel and I constantly search for these opportunities, especially ones that are free, as we want our foster children to see just how much there is out there. We also convey this to the natural birth parents, when appropriate.

We feel extremely fortunate that our values and approach is aligned with GLF, our incredible Supervising Social Worker, and the training and development opportunities GLF offer throughout the year.

 

Mel and Shelly are GLF foster carers.

Get in touch with Louise or James on 0208 347 8741  if you’d like to find out how you can become a foster carer

Fostering News: April

Novelette’s Story

My name is Novelette and I’ve been a foster carer for GLF for two years.

My first placement started in May 2017 with a 12 year old boy who still lives with my two daughters. He initially came to us for 6 months but as time went on the local authority decided it was a good match and a suitable home for him.

Deciding to become a foster carer was an easy decision because of my passion to mentor and give back to the community. I literally had no experience but I also have two birth children so I am able to use those transferable skills of being a mum to help make a difference in another child’s life.  My Aunt (who I lived with for a while) was also a foster carer for many years after being a retired nurse, so I was aware of the process and what was involved. I was also ready to welcome and accept foster children into my home.

The assessment process was quite intrusive but it had brought back many pleasant memories from my childhood days to the time I became being an adult. The process consisted of lots of talking about myself, which led to various discussions about who I was then to who I am now. During this assessment you also get to drink lots of tea with biscuits, cakes or fruits so no need to panic it’s a wonderful experience! The first few weeks of the assessment you will also be invited to attend training, giving you the necessary skills to foster. This also gives you the opportunity to meet other new foster carers, exchange numbers and build a support network.

to be quite frank fostering has strengthened my faith that even in to-days very cynical world love is still the most important thing we can share

The key point of being a foster carer is being kind, caring and understanding as these qualities often bring out the best in the child and also open up lines of communication and interaction.

Fostering involves the whole family so it will have great impact on everyone at home.  My daughters were excited to have a new addition to the family member. They were also willing to share their mum and quality time as well as coping with behaviours and needs.  Not every day is the same – there are ups and downs. But to be quite frank fostering has strengthened my faith that even in to-days very cynical world love is still the most important thing we can share.

I strongly believe in shaping the child’s life into becoming a productive and successful person after leaving school

I am pleased with GLF’s full support.  There are lots of opportunities for training and development. My supervising social worker is just a call away for any query I may have.  Even though I am also in full time employment with the NHS, I am able to carry out my care duties effectively and attend regular meetings and any additional training required. I strongly believe in shaping the child’s life into becoming a productive and successful person after leaving school, so I play an active role in his education and communicate with the school and teachers on a regular basis. I would also encourage arranging extra tuition where necessary and to be actively involved in activities to help build on his skills and experiences.

My young person recently took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which involved volunteering as a youth worker at the playground adventure. These activities were fitted in around his studies. His recent Army Cadet role has also motivated him to work independently, meeting targets and deadlines.

Fostering is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you can do

I would also encourage my young person to write letters and update his photo album and show these to mum and siblings at contacts. I genuinely support positive relationship with birth family so that my young person can have a good understanding of his culture and family history.

My advice to those who would like to become a foster carer – Fostering is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you can do and no qualification is required. There are lots of supports in place for foster carers from both your fostering service and your support network.

It’s highlighted for me how much giving my time – which is a precious commodity for anyone to give – and emotionally investing in another person can matter and make such a difference to his/her life. In doing so you are providing a safe, warm, loving environment for someone who needs such support in order to feel that they belong somewhere, enhance their strengths, develop their potential and become the best person they can be.

Novelette is a GLF Foster Carer

Get in touch with Louise or James on 0208 347 8741  if you’d like to find out how you can become a foster carer

Becoming a Foster Carer: Novelette’s Story

My name is Novelette and I’ve been a foster carer for GLF for two years.

My first placement started in May 2017 with a 12 year old boy who still lives with my two daughters. He initially came to us for 6 months but as time went on the local authority decided it was a good match and a suitable home for him.

Deciding to become a foster carer was an easy decision because of my passion to mentor and give back to the community. I literally had no experience but I also have two birth children so I am able to use those transferable skills of being a mum to help make a difference in another child’s life.  My Aunt (who I lived with for a while) was also a foster carer for many years after being a retired nurse, so I was aware of the process and what was involved. I was also ready to welcome and accept foster children into my home.

The assessment process was quite intrusive but it had brought back many pleasant memories from my childhood days to the time I became being an adult. The process consisted of lots of talking about myself, which led to various discussions about who I was then to who I am now. During this assessment you also get to drink lots of tea with biscuits, cakes or fruits so no need to panic it’s a wonderful experience! The first few weeks of the assessment you will also be invited to attend training, giving you the necessary skills to foster. This also gives you the opportunity to meet other new foster carers, exchange numbers and build a support network.

to be quite frank fostering has strengthened my faith that even in to-days very cynical world love is still the most important thing we can share

The key point of being a foster carer is being kind, caring and understanding as these qualities often bring out the best in the child and also open up lines of communication and interaction.

Fostering involves the whole family so it will have great impact on everyone at home.  My daughters were excited to have a new addition to the family member. They were also willing to share their mum and quality time as well as coping with behaviours and needs.  Not every day is the same – there are ups and downs. But to be quite frank fostering has strengthened my faith that even in to-days very cynical world love is still the most important thing we can share.

I strongly believe in shaping the child’s life into becoming a productive and successful person after leaving school

I am pleased with GLF’s full support.  There are lots of opportunities for training and development. My supervising social worker is just a call away for any query I may have.  Even though I am also in full time employment with the NHS, I am able to carry out my care duties effectively and attend regular meetings and any additional training required. I strongly believe in shaping the child’s life into becoming a productive and successful person after leaving school, so I play an active role in his education and communicate with the school and teachers on a regular basis. I would also encourage arranging extra tuition where necessary and to be actively involved in activities to help build on his skills and experiences.

My young person recently took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which involved volunteering as a youth worker at the playground adventure. These activities were fitted in around his studies. His recent Army Cadet role has also motivated him to work independently, meeting targets and deadlines.

Fostering is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you can do

I would also encourage my young person to write letters and update his photo album and show these to mum and siblings at contacts. I genuinely support positive relationship with birth family so that my young person can have a good understanding of his culture and family history.

My advice to those who would like to become a foster carer – Fostering is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you can do and no qualification is required. There are lots of supports in place for foster carers from both your fostering service and your support network.

It’s highlighted for me how much giving my time – which is a precious commodity for anyone to give – and emotionally investing in another person can matter and make such a difference to his/her life. In doing so you are providing a safe, warm, loving environment for someone who needs such support in order to feel that they belong somewhere, enhance their strengths, develop their potential and become the best person they can be.

Novelette is a GLF Foster Carer

Get in touch with Louise or James on 0208 347 8741  if you’d like to find out how you can become a foster carer

Fostering News: March

Fostering News – February 2019

Fostering News: December