Behind Alison’s front door

updated at 1:43 pm, July 11, 2017

“Fostering is a life changing experience, it will test you but it will reward you in so many ways.”

Alison Mear, aged 51 from Bromsgrove, has been a foster carer with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for only five months. After 32 years working fulltime for the same organisation she talks about why she took the step to become a foster carer and the joy it has brought to her life.  She said:

“My interest in fostering began many years ago after knowing a child in residential care who I independently visited as a volunteer from when he was nine to 18 years of age.  At the time I was working fulltime, but after 32 years working for the same organisation when an opportunity came up to become a foster carer I took it immediately.

“FCA were recommended to me by a foster carer I already knew, however I wanted to do my own homework about the agency too.  After reading some good reports online, coupled with the personal recommendations, I decided to make the first step in applying to become a foster carer – a decision that I will never regret!

“The opinions of my close friends and family were also important, as becoming a carer would not only affect me but my wider support network too. My friends, work colleagues and my family know how passionate I am about children and their well-being, so when I said that I wanted to become a carer they all said it’s been a long time coming and wished me luck and offered any support they could.

“My old school friend said that my life experiences, and being slightly older, would benefit young people. I felt particularly passionate about working with older children, those who are sometimes harder to place, particularly through my experience of volunteering with young people in residential care.  

“I currently look after a 14 year old young girl who has been an absolute joy!  She is my first placement and is likely to be with me for a long time until she moves onto independent living.  There are of course many challenges when inviting a ‘stranger’ to share your home, both for you and the likely frightened young person who is coming to live with you.  It’s important to find common ground first and be patient even when some behaviour may be alien to you.

 

“In the most challenging and hectic of times you are never on your own.  I have a senior social worker allocated to me, and there is always someone at the end of a phone to talk to 24/7 if needed. The start of a new placement can be daunting but my advice is to go to networking events with other carers as you learn so much through the experience of others. Take all the training that is offered to you, learn as much as you can and if you are unsure of anything ask lots of questions – you are never alone!

“Fostering is open to anyone. Many people think you can’t foster if you’re single – I’m proof that you can, and people are often shocked that I’m doing it by myself.  I receive comments like “it must be challenging” and “I bet it’s hard”, however I’m lucky enough to have a huge support network around me which I think is really important.  I also manage to fit in a part-time administrative role with hours to work around my young person and school time.

“Time spent with my young person is so precious.  I love seeing her on a sunny evening in the garden laughing, painting, talking, singing, dancing and just being a teenager and most importantly happy!

“Fostering is a life changing experience, it will test you but it will reward you in so many ways.”

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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