Sara and Dennis enjoy fostering teenagers
Sara and Dennis are Level 4 foster carers, they have a 16 year old son and have been fostering for eight years. Sara previously worked in the textile industry and travelled the world which meant that she was away from home a lot.
The couple had always wanted to foster but Sara’s job meant that it wasn’t practical. When Sara was made redundant, the family saw it as the perfect opportunity to apply to become foster carers.
Sara said that she chose to foster with Fostering Rotherham as she believed that we are “well established and more focused on care”.
Sara remembers the application process as being “very thorough, which it has to be, but we felt supported throughout”. Sara goes on to explain that herself and Dennis “enjoyed the induction process and learnt a lot, it opened our eyes about what children experienced and prepared us to be able to support and care for a looked after child”.
In their first year of fostering, the couple had a couple of respite home matches and the children stayed with them for a few weeks. Their first task centred (or short-term) home match stayed with them for two years; their birth son was 8 years old at the time and he loved showing the children around their home and showing them their bedroom.
Sara and Dennis noticed that the looked after children enjoyed their son showing them around, rather than them, as “the children felt more relaxed with another child”.
They have fostered eight children to date, their current looked after child first arrived at 11 years old and is now 17 years old.
“We can provide a young person with some normality, and reduce their stress and inconsistencies, making their life less hectic."
Sara explains that when a child first comes to stay, “it can be a time of great uncertainty for the child as they don’t know what their future plans will be”.
Sara strives to counterbalance this by providing a calm, stable and loving home. When asked what her main motivation for fostering was, Sara replied: “We can provide a child with some normality, and reduce their stress and inconsistencies, making their life less hectic”.
Sara and Dennis still keep in touch with all of the children that they have cared for, and send birthday and Christmas cards to every child that they have fostered. Their first task centred home match is now aged 18 years and still phones them up for a chat.
Sara is very honest in admitting that there are challenges when caring for looked-after children as they all come with different issues, especially teenagers.
However, Sara is very positive when she says that “the issues are manageable, you have the skills and support to progress. The fostering team is very good, they always offer support when required”.
“I like having a busy home and having more than one child living in the home makes the home feel alive”.
When asked what the best things about fostering are, Sara said: “I like having a busy home and having more than one child living in the home makes the home feel alive”.
Sara also enjoys sorting out any issues and making sure the children are on the right path and have a loving home.
Dennis said that he “enjoys having a laugh with the children - they come with some funny stories”. The carers really like children’s company and have enjoyed fostering teenagers, as Sara explains: “they are at an age where they are self-sufficient and can look after themselves. They have an odd mood swing, but when they are calm and relaxed they just want someone to listen to them. I try and put myself in their shoes, they have a lot of uncertainties that they are going through. It’s about reassuring them and giving them the support they need”.
The carers are now supporting their looked after child into adulthood, and adult education, before moving onto an apprenticeship and leaving care.
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