Carol and Nick's fostering story with Rotherham Council
Carol and Nick decided to foster when their birth children had grown up, with a goal of helping young people in Rotherham experience a childhood like their own children had enjoyed.
They told us: “Once you start to look into fostering it gathers momentum quickly”.
We spoke to the couple about their journey to becoming foster carers with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
Carol and Nick’s pathway to becoming foster carers
Carol and Nick initially booked a call back with our team to learn more about foster care and how they could support Rotherham’s young people as they grow up.
In this call, the pair spoke about why they wanted to foster in Rotherham, their previous experiences and asked questions about the roles available to them.
As they progressed through the fostering application process, the couple worked with supportive social workers, who answered any questions they had.
They told us:
“The assessment process was great and the assessor was lovely. She always made us feel at ease. The assessment didn’t feel draining, arduous or upsetting, it felt like a natural conversation.
By the end of the assessment, we felt a strong connection with our assessing social worker who knew us so well. We trusted our assessor. You have to bare your soul and trust that the assessor will not judge you. The assessor was open minded and non-judgemental”.
After the assessment was completed, Carol and Nick progressed to Fostering Panel. There a team of assessors supported the recommendation of Carol and Nick becoming Rotherham’s newest foster carers.
Carol and Nick said:
“We were told very quickly that the panel supported the recommendation. It was a good feeling”.
Speaking to their family and friends about fostering
Having a good support network of family and friends is essential for any fostering family.
Carol and Nick told us:
“From the beginning, our birth children were consulted and they were in full support from the outset.”
Once the couple told their children about their approval as new foster carers, their children soon became curious about what ‘real life’ fostering would be like, and now love being ‘children who foster’.
Carol and Nick’s experiences caring for children and young people
Carol and Nick felt excited but nervous because they did not know what sort of character and personality the child would have who they would care for. They also worried that they would be ‘rubbish’ and ‘what the child would think of us’.
They also worried about whether their children would like the looked after child and vice versa - these are normal feelings which many new foster families experience.
Carol and Nick started their fostering career with the hope of fostering just one child, though this has changed over time and they have now fostered babies, older children, teenagers and siblings.
The couple told us about their first emergency fostering experience:
“We received a phone call asking if we could offer an emergency placement for an unaccompanied asylum seeking minor. It was an emergency placement and little was known about this young male. He spoke no English and had travelled for months from Asia.
He was a lovely young person and although he now lives independently, we keep in regular contact with him.”
As foster carers, Carol and Nick have supported several young people to become independent, live with their birth families or move in with long-term foster carers/adoptive parents.
All transitions were managed carefully and as foster carers, they are heavily involved in planning for the moves and then facilitating them.
Support and difficult times as a foster carer
Like any role, becoming a foster carer can be difficult at times. Carol told us:
“We were heavily reliant on our Supervising Social Worker for support; she is always there for us. Every Monday morning, she makes contact with me so that I can offload and then I can get on with my week with a clear head or renewed focus.
She sorts out so much ‘stuff’ for me that is above and beyond as a fostering social worker. She helps to take some of the pressure off. We couldn’t have done it without her!”
On the wider fostering service, Carol says:
“I would say that the Fostering Service at Rotherham is a good service to be involved in. I can and do receive the support that I need from someone within the fostering organisation”.
What are your fostering highlights?
Despite times when fostering can be challenging, there is something to celebrate everyday.
Carol and Nick told us about their fostering highlights:
“During times when you think you can’t reach a child and in the end you do - that is the best thing, it is absolutely brilliant.
“Even the tiniest breakthrough, no matter how small, is like winning the lottery! As a foster carer, you can feed off this fantastic feeling for a long time.
The children and young people remain a part of your life forever”.
Carol and Nick’s message to you
We asked Carol what message she would like to give to people who might be curious about becoming a foster carer. She told us:
“Feed your curiosity and seek answers to your questions. No question is a silly question.”
Carol never feels any regret about her decision to foster: “I love what I do”.
Would you like to learn more about fostering in Rotherham?
We encourage you to download a free information guide today, which will outline the different fostering opportunities available at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. You can download your information guide using the links below.