Advice & Guides
Food for Thought

‘Do You Have Ketchup?’: Young People Interview Potential Foster Carers

The journey to becoming a foster carer with Compass has various different steps!.

The final stage of your fostering assessment journey is the fostering panel, where a recommendation about your suitability to be a foster carer is made.

Usually, our panels are led by individuals who are care-experienced and/or have a range of skills and experience in childcare, fostering, social work, health and education. However, on this occasion, we thought we’d try something a little bit different.

Instead of standard fostering panel members, we invited some of our very own young people from the North to conduct a mock panel!

New applicant foster carers, Nikki and Andy, agreed to sit down with our young people C, S, L, G, and T and answer a range of questions about fostering, in order to determine whether or not they would make good foster carers.

Below are some of our favourite questions from the mock panel, alongside Nikki and Andy’s answers!

Why do you want to be foster carers?

“We cannot have our own children and because I (Nikki) worked in a school as a teacher I thought it would be good to look after children in my home and give them a good start. I (Andy) would really enjoy having children in the home and I will still be at work, but I can be flexible so I can attend meetings or events.”

If you could be any animal or bird, what would you be and why?

“I (Nikki) would be a Robin because I love Christmas and love the red breast and it brings happy memories for me. I (Andy) would like to be a dolphin because I am not a good swimmer, and I would like to learn to swim.”

What would you do if a child did not like a food?

“I (Andy) would try and cook something different and if they hated it, I would ask them why, but we would always encourage a child to eat healthily but with some treats.”

Do you have ketchup in your house?

“Andy likes ketchup and I (Nikki) like brown sauce so we would have lots of different things in our cupboard.”

If a child was going through a rough time, how would you help them?

“We would let them know that we were here for them and give them some space and maybe leave some little notes to say we are ready when you are to talk, and we would try and do it in a nice way and we would ask if they wanted to write it down and let us read it so that we could talk after. We would just make sure that they knew we are there for them at all times.”

Following the interview section of the panel, our young people met in private to discuss Nikki and Andy’s answers. They worked together to identify any strengths or areas for development that Nikki and Andy might have.

Nikki and Andy’s strengths included enjoying football, wanting to make children happy, understanding sexuality and gender, talking to people, and understanding how to calm children down.

Their areas for development included not always being able to cook the right food and not being good at gardening.

After much discussion, our young-person’s panel came to the unanimous decision that they would recommend Nikki and Andy for approval, stating they would make brilliant foster carers!

In their feedback to Nikki and Andy, our young people said:

The panel commented on Nikki and Andy’s ability to answer questions well, their openness and flexibility, their willingness to do training and the great support they would provide a child.

Any child would be excited living with you, and you will make them feel wanted and welcome and so happy and you will care for them really well.

We’re sure Nikki and Andy left feeling much more confident for their real fostering panel, and we wish them the best of luck.

We are so proud of our young people for asking some wonderful questions, which we will absolutely keep in mind for future panels!

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