A foster carer storyNovember 16, 2017
Roz is one of CatholicCare’s incredible foster carers. She has been caring for foster children for more than 10 years. Here she tells her story.
Q. What type of carer are you?
A. Right now we’re permanent full-time carers of three girls (siblings) aged 11, 9 and 8. They will stay with us until they are 18 – hopefully longer!
Q. Why did you choose to become a foster carer?
A. I have always been passionate about children. Early on in life I was a nanny. I then went on to work in the school system so have always been around children. I kept seeing the adverts for foster carers and I just couldn’t shake it off. I had a wonderful childhood, as did my own girls, and I wanted to give that same experience to others. If I could take on more children, I’d gladly fill my house!
Q. Apart from yourself, who else did your decision to foster affect and how?
A. I have two daughters. My youngest was 17 when I started off with respite care. They were always very supportive but it definitely impacted on them. Also my parents and our wider family group. New children were coming into all of our lives – it’s bound to mix things up but the positives have always outweighed the challenges.
Q. What’s the best thing about fostering?
A. It’s so satisying to see the changes in the girls. They came to us in February and it’s beautiful to see how settled they are now. They tell me they are happy and feel safe and that is enough for me! We went away at Easter and one of the girls said ‘I can’t wait to get home to my bed’. I’ll never forget that. They were cared for in four different homes before they came to me. They know this is their forever home now and that’s life changing for them.
Q. What differences have you noticed in the girls?
A. They are smiling, happy and physically healthier. Emotionally they are thriving. They are learning life skills.
Q. How have you found your overall experience?
A. There are challenges but overall it’s been a very positive experience. Seeing the growth in the children and knowing they are on the right track feels so good. We’re giving them something they’ve never had and that is very satisfying.
Q. There are lots of different agencies, organisations, and local authorities out there. Why did you choose CatholicCare?
A. Being Catholic ourselves, the fit was right. I did my research on other agencies but we decided the Catholic system was the one for us. We also work in the Catholic Schools system so it made sense.
Q. What was the application and assessment process like?
A. Very smooth sailing. The application process, interviews and training were very informative and we have access to 24/7 help if we need it. Our caseworker is phenomenal.
Q. What type of support do you receive from CatholicCare?
A. They are always happy to help and I feel we’re working together to help the girls. It’s not all on us. We receive a financial allowance to assist with the day-to-day needs of the girls too which is helpful.
Q. What have you found to be the most difficult thing about fostering?
A. The children come from challenging backgrounds and have experienced some awful things. Connecting with them can take time and patience but it’s wonderful when it happens.
Q. What do you think puts people off becoming foster carers?
A. The magnitude of the commitment and the negative behaviours they hear about. We have never seen any major behavioural problems from the 8 children we’ve cared for. But rest assured that with CatholicCare’s support, any challenges can be worked through. Many people believe also that when the children turn 18, they are removed from your care. That’s not true – they just have the freedom to move on if they want to at 18.
Q. What would you say to anyone considering fostering?
A. If you’re tempted, make the enquiry and see if it will work for you. I’d recommend you try respite care first – small chunks of time – just to feel it out. You can opt out at any time. Don’t have any regrets. The CatholicCare team is there every step of the way. Helping children in need is an amazing experience. There are so many children needing care – whether it be for a week, for a month or for a lifetime. Every bit helps.
Photo caption: Roz and her daughter Georgia
CAN YOU HELP A CHILD FEEL SAFE, HAPPY & SECURE?
There are children in our community who have been through experiences few of us could begin to fathom and who, without our help, will go through a childhood without the love and support of a family.
CatholicCare believe all children deserve a safe home, and by providing one we can help them build their self-esteem and develop the skills they need to succeed in life.
We are looking for everyday families who might consider taking a child or young person into their home – to love and support them whether for one or two nights, a few weeks, months, or long term.