You’re now a PCC employee, can you tell us your role and what you’ll be doing?
My new role is titled Apprentice Social Worker. I will be studying with the Open University for 3 years to gain a degree in social work alongside working for PCC. My time will include co-working with the PCC social workers, learning from their experience and observing their practice. You may see me at visits to your home, or virtually in meetings and training. I will also be working closely with Sunny, organsing fostering promotion events to try and recruit new foster carers to PCC.
Why have you decided to retrain and start on a new path?
I am passionate about people and making a positive contribution to the world. Through my previous job in education and in my role as a foster carer I have met many social workers. Some have been – well shall we say – not great! But many have inspired me and been brilliant with children and families. I will turn 50 this year and decided that for the next part of my working life I want to be one of those inspiring social workers who is good at the job and genuinely cares about children. So I took the plunge and challenged myself to essay writing, reflecting on reading and putting it all into practice!
What are you looking forward to in your new role and what are your reflections so far?
I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning about the law and social work, working with the brilliant staff at PCC and growing the fostering community. Initially moving from the world of education to study social work was a bit of a shock. The pace of life is very different and learning to write essays after nearly 30 years of barely writing a paragraph has been a challenge! I am so happy though and excited about what the next few years will bring as we grow PCC together.
Will you remain as a foster carer?
Mark & I will still be fostering – we are currently supporting three beautiful young people through the end of their care journey and hope to continue to offer children a space in our home when these guys have left. We also hope to be available to support other foster carers with their placements.
Your foster children are young adults now, how have you found leaving care and ’staying put’?
‘Staying put’ has been an interesting journey and whilst there is a lot that doesn’t work with it we have, where possible, used it to the young person’s advantage. Our eldest foster daughter has gone to university. Agreeing a ‘staying put’ arrangement with the local authority has guaranteed her a place to come back to in the holidays and a much needed sense of security. For us the work continues with her; phone calls (sometimes daily), supporting financially, adminitrively, driving/transporting her and of course having some good well earned breaks from Uni at home with our family.
Would you recommend fostering?
Of course! Fostering is relentless and challenging but so rewarding. Our birth and extended family have learned to include, love and give themselves in a way that no training course, degree or meditation app could have revealed. Whilst there have been many difficult times we all agree that we are a better family, a stronger community and have so much to be grateful for from our fostering. Our foster children have become part of us and we struggle to remember life without them.