What's it like to become a foster carer?

Becoming a foster carer gives you the opportunity to give a stable and loving home to a young person who may have never had that - it can be an amazing way to change a young person’s life. However, even if this is something that interests you, you may not know where to begin or what to expect. Clare and David are currently in the process of becoming Break foster carers and spoke with us to give an insight into what the process is like.

‘Me and my husband, David, thought about becoming foster carers for a few years, however at first our 12 year old daughter wasn’t too keen on the idea. However, a bit of time passed and she became more and more interested until she changed her mind. At the end of 2019 we decided to seriously look into it.

We went to the county council to find out more, and in that process found Break. We met with someone to talk about the process and they were absolutely brilliant – they were really honest, gave us lots of information, and left us with a lot to think about.

We were told about respite fostering, which is where a child in another foster placement will go to another family for a weekend every six weeks to give their primary foster family a little break. It’s a bit like being an auntie or uncle – you’re a consistent presence in their life until they’re not in foster care anymore. We thought this would be a brilliant option for us, so decided to apply.

Our main concern going into this was how our daughter would cope, however the team at Break have been so supportive of her thoughts and feelings and have been so friendly – it has made her feel much more relaxed. They’ve really involved her and made it fun and much smoother – they’ve even set her some homework to do (which she enjoyed)! She feels very much a part of it.

'It’s a really big process to undertake that sounds very daunting and verging on intrusive, but the people at Break are so lovely and helpful that it hasn’t felt like that at all, instead it has actually been much more interesting. I think it’s the unknown that puts people off, but we’ve felt really supported throughout.

The actual process has involved us having weekly meetings with someone from Break to discuss different topics, for example family history, family members, pretty much your life history! You go through a lot of very personal things. My husband and I also had to get six references each, go through training, and get medicals.

We have always felt we can ask any questions we needed to, we’ve had the opportunity to speak to other foster carers, and it has all in all been an enjoyable process. We’ve never felt rushed – we have gone through the process at our own pace and it has been possible to work around both mine and my husband’s work.

Our final panel is set to be in July this year. We are so excited and so grateful for all the help we have had from Break during this process. It has made it all so much easier and we can’t wait to become foster carers.’