Tabatha’s Blog: 10th November
My name is Tabitha and I have been a foster carer for 6 years.
The young people I have been privileged to meet have often been hugely affected by their life experiences and just want to feel safe. It is fascinating to see what they develop into when you assist them to find their voice! The results may not always be what you like, as they normally need to work through a lot of anger.
Since working for the Compass Group, I have provided a long term home for two sets of siblings, have offered respite for various young people and have supported two young people who were not in main stream schooling to return.
We are proud to be foster carers!
I have had my patience tested this week by professionals. It’s hard when you are a Foster Carer not to speak out about difficulties you face and the frustration at not being able to do your job effectively.
It’s always a good idea to get as much information as possible about the children and their lives before they arrive and triggers to behaviour is something that you will need to know in bucketfuls if you want the placement to work. We agreed to have two very traumatised siblings arrive this week after very scant information was available. They were distressed and proceeded to wreak havoc at night. Two evenings of this is enough for our household and the straw that broke the camel’s back was when G asked if we could send them back and get some good ones. Even the cat has hidden for three days!!
I understand that there is a limited budget and people are overstretched but time and time again children get the short end of a very small straw by the system. In an ideal world, when overstretched Local Authorities invest the extra public funds into an Independent Fostering placement they should be willing to ensure that the children are equipped with what they need to thrive.
Fostering works best when there is an objective and holistic approach taken to the care and support of Looked After Children and when information sharing is open and honest and everyone works in a solution focussed way. I have come to decide that I cannot change the practice of others; I can only change what I do.
G has been struggling at school and the staff are working with us to jointly engage in a plan to get her to desist from disruptive behaviour. We are eternally grateful to the first year teacher who has to manage her disruptions every afternoon; the teacher looks shattered.
As carers we are in tune with G and fully understand her verbal and non-verbal cues (Her body language and what she does not say). We respond to where she is at or how she is able to cope to any given situation and get amazing responses from that. Not every child would thrive in our home but we are proud of the re-parenting we have managed to achieve and she is a pleasure to be with.
I can honestly say that I have felt listened to and supported by Compass, they are there for me when I need them and cover my back. They provide a welcome ear when I am ranting on or feeling a failure and support me to work through my frustrations and have a more positive outlook. They trust my professionalism and advocate for me when I am unable to get the support I need to do my job.
As I write this I am scratching my head and wondering about head lice with my bruised arms! It’s very rock and roll being a foster carer!!
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