Moving from Second Home foster care to longer term fostering
Janet and her husband, Steve, have been foster carers for over six years and specialise in caring for children with additional needs. For their first two years as foster carers, Janet and Steve provided Second Home foster care (also known as respite care) to a number of Rotherham families.
By providing Second Home Care, Janet and Steve were able to give families much needed breaks; and it also provided a great opportunity for Janet and Steve to discover whether fostering was right for them. Six years later, it is evident that Janet and Steve made the right decision to foster. They are excellent foster carers and now enjoy providing longer term fostering home matches for children with additional needs.
Janet and Steve chose to specialise in fostering children with additional needs as Janet has experience in this area, having grown up with a sister who had additional needs.
As Janet explains: “It was occasionally difficult for my family, particularly my mum, and I know how important short breaks for recuperation are."
“I always knew that I would become a foster carer at some point in my life and that time came six years ago.”
For those looking to follow in Janet and Steve’s footsteps to become foster carers, Janet has some encouraging words regarding the application process.
She describes the application process as being straightforward and in-depth. Janet said:
“It is an intrusive process for good reason as you will be looking after some of the most vulnerable children, so it needs to be as thorough as possible. They asked a lot of questions and contacted various members of my wider family, including my son who lives in America. I think people need to know this before going through it.
But at the same time, we felt very supported and the lady who took us through the process was brilliant and explained everything really well.
We have continued to feel supported ever since becoming part of the fostering community in Rotherham. I know I can turn to other foster carers for advice and the team at Fostering Rotherham. There is also an online forum that I thoroughly enjoy using as I can talk to other carers without leaving the house.”
Janet and Steve have fostered three children over the last six years. Janet describes one of their fostering highlights: “One of my most memorable moments was bringing my little girl home from hospital. The little girl has been in hospital for two months and we visited her there regularly. It was really scary when we finally brought her home, but absolutely fantastic. We all worked as a team, including the little boy who now lives with us. We all get on together with the wider family. I call us a blended family.”
Another memorable moment was when one of the children that Janet fostered went on to be adopted:
“It was a massive emotional journey and she [the child] ended up with a lovely family and we are still in contact. We also meet up with the other three siblings whenever we can.”
Janet continues: “The biggest challenges have been getting to grips with the wide range of agencies involved with children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and disabilities, but this has been made much easier with the support of the social workers,
Janet continues: “If I didn’t have them it would be difficult as we have a lot of appointments, we are also having our house adapted to be able to better support our little girl’s ongoing needs”.
“We all get on together with the wider family. I call us a blended family.”
Janet and Steve now have access to Second Home care themselves. As Janet explains: “finding Second Home care for children with additional needs is really difficult, so it’s great that other carers are now able to provide that for us”.
When asked what advice she would give to anyone considering becoming a foster carer, Janet suggests talking to family and friends first: “If you do have the feeling you want to go into fostering, talk to your family and get as much information as you can from the team at Fostering Rotherham. You won’t regret it, as it is very rewarding, but you need to know what you are taking on”.
Janet believes that “patience, humour, empathy and a loving space in your life and family to accept other children are the key qualities you need to become a foster carer”.
Learn more about fostering in Rotherham
If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.