Have you ever wondered how young people in care are matched with their foster families?
Two of our foster children, S (14) and L (10) found themselves asking this very question. S and L have been with their current foster family for over a year now.
S and L wanted to know how they were matched with their current foster family, and what kind of things are taken into consideration when placing a young person into a foster home.
To find some answers, they sat down in an interview with Michelle and Jazz from one of our regional Family Finding Teams, who oversee foster care placement matching. Here are S’ thoughts on the interview, in her own words.
I am S and I am 14, and my younger brother, L, is 10. We have been in foster care for a couple of years now and we were matched and placed with our current foster family 16 months ago.
We are both happy and settled in our foster family. We have a close bond with our foster parents and siblings, and we will remain here.
Earlier this month my brother and I got the opportunity to meet the matching team at Compass. Between us we asked several questions about what their jobs entailed.
L: “Do you look at the children’s hobbies, and try and match them? For example, I like sports.”
M & J: “Yes that is particularly important, as it will make a good match.”
L: “Do some carers just want children of certain ages placed with them, for example 5–10-year-olds?”
M & J: “Yes, they do because all children and families are different and it’s about taking into consideration their needs.”
At this point, L noticed the biscuits in the office and became more interested in how he could get his hands on those. So, I managed to rustle up a couple of questions.
S: “How do you pair families?”
M & J: “We look at location, school, friends and siblings to see if we can keep them together or not. We look at the whole situation and try to find somewhere the children will be happy.”
S: “What information [about the child(ren)] do you get from Local Authorities, and do you feel you get enough information?”
M & J: “Yes we get a good amount of information to go on, and it will be things like, the child’s history, their interests and hobbies, their favourite foods, and dislikes, medical and support needs, if they like pets.”
S: “Do your pairings always work?”
M & J: “We go by referrals sent to us and then look for the carer. It does not always work, as some young people will not always settle, or feel comfortable.”
S: “Where would the child go if they felt the family was not right for them?”
M & J: “They would speak with their social worker.”
S: “Has the technique you use to pair your children with the family been around a long time, or has it been updated?”
M & J: “It has been around for a long time.”
S: “Do you feel you do well with your pairings and what areas could you improve?”
M & J: “We do think we do well, but there is always room for improvement. We always look at the child’s needs as the priority, as the children are especially important.”
At this point I was impressed with the team and have a new level of respect for how much work everyone must do.
We loved meeting both Michelle and Jaz. They had a great energy, and it was clear they were passionate about matching the children with the right foster families, taking into consideration many different things.
Michelle and Jaz were brilliant and fun and made us feel at ease. L even managed to charm them out of a packet of biscuits!
What really stood out for me was that everyone wants our placement or family to work, and I came away knowing we are important.
Thank you, Michelle and Jaz, we enjoyed meeting you both.
Love from S and L xx
If you think you could make a difference to the life of a young person, and are interested in becoming a foster carer, you can get in touch with us here.
You can also find more about what the role of a foster carer entails here.