Foster Carer Profile – Plymouth Parent & Child, Sibling & Respite Fostering
First names, ages and location –
Debbie (57) & Chris (70). We live in Plymouth.
Current / previous jobs –
Chris is one of the directors of a local publishing company but also supports Debbie as the main foster carer.
How did you get into fostering?
We had for a number of years acted as a host family for foreign students and apprentice footballers from the local football league team. This gave us valuable experience in not only sharing our home, but also dealing with young people of many different nationalities and cultures.
Why did you do it at first?
After discussion with our four birth children we felt we had a large, happy home that we could share with other young people, offering them a safe place to live in a family setting.
How long have you been fostering?
Have you only worked with the Fostering Foundation, if no how have FF compared with other IFAs / the Local Authority?
We have only worked with FF, but are aware from other foster carers who are with LA or other agencies, that we get five star support.
Please tell us what working with FF has been like?
We’ve have been incredibly well supported throughout our time with Fostering Foundation and genuinely feel that we are part of a big family and that we all pull together in the best interests of the children in our care.
What has been the most challenging things about fostering?
Not being able to make a difference as quickly as we would have liked. Dealing with teenage issues such as sexual exploitation, self harming and mental wellbeing.
What has been the most rewarding things about fostering?
Seeing young people overcome their often traumatic backgrounds to gain confidence and achieve their full potential.
What type of fostering placements have you provided?
Placements for Parent’s with their children, teenage boys and teenage girls, together with a number of emergency respite placements for other carers.
Please tell us about some of your experiences.
We have looked after many children including siblings and individual children on both a long term and short term basis – until they were 18 and beyond. Also children who have successfully returned to live with their family all of which – have been very rewarding. We have worked alongside schools to support young people who have missed out on education, in one situation enabling a young person to go on to an apprenticeship. We have cared for a young person with very complex needs who needed to move on to more specialist facilities, but he remains very important to us and we remain in regular contact.
What would you say to anyone thinking of fostering?
It is at times challenging, but incredibly rewarding in terms of the impact that it has on the lives of young people. With the right support from an agency such as Fostering Foundation being a foster carer is being part of a real team effort.