Kerri and Cliff’s Story

updated at 8:45 am, August 14, 2017

“If you respect us, we will respect you…..seems to stick in their minds.”

Kerri and Cliff Sim from Worthing in Sussex have been foster carers with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for eleven years.  Keen to encourage others to consider fostering as a rewarding life option Kerri talks about their fostering journey and the positive impact it has made on their life.

“My interest in foster care began when I worked in the childcare and matrimonial departments of a solicitors, typing up court papers, reading court notes, and reading foster carer and guardian’s reports.  I realised I would like to help personally and be on the ‘other side’ rather than just doing the ‘paperwork’.   

“My husband Cliff and I discussed the idea of becoming foster carers with our family and friends who all agreed that we would be perfect for it. I also discussed it with my boss and work colleagues at the time, and how I could make fostering work around my job at the solicitors.  They were really understanding and agreed that I could continue working on a freelance basis whilst I was fostering to fit around the needs of our placements.  My husband Cliff continued to work full-time as an insulation surveyor.

“Impressed from the onset at the level of support and training offered by Foster Care Associates (FCA), it was the only agency we needed to see and began fostering with them in 2006 providing respite care for fellow carers.  One of the great things about FCA is that they welcome carers who have their own birth children.  I fell pregnant whilst one of our placements was with us.  He still lives with us six years later and our daughter sees him as her brother. 

“Be under no illusion that fostering hasn’t been without its challenges.  There have been times when we’ve questioned our decision to foster, and our suitability as a fostering couple.  You often won’t know the full back story of the child or young person placed with you, and therefore maybe the reasons why they behave like they do.  The relationship all boils down to ‘respect’ which is an extremely important word to us – once this has been gained from both sides then you have cracked it!   One of our house rules states if you respect us, we will respect you…..that sentence seems to stick in their minds.

“We once had a very angry lad who kicked off one day, saw red and burst out – nearly hitting me. I stopped him and told him that he was really going to regret hitting me as I would have to call the police and told him to go smash his room up instead – not my face!   This lad is now 25 years of age with his own baby on the way, and to this day he thanks me for that advice otherwise he would have had a criminal record. 

“Fostering takes you through a roller coaster of emotions, but the rewards you get from it far outweigh the difficult moments.  After 11 years its second nature to us and we wouldn’t have it any other way, with all three placements we’ve looked after moulding in with our families, and FCA is always there to help us through the red-tape and protocols when needed.

“All three of my boys have made great achievements along the years.  From overcoming anger issues to one joining the police cadets with the ambition of becoming a police officer – he recently attended Remembrance Day as a police cadet which was a really proud day for us.

“One of my small but proudest moments which I will never forget, was with one of our boys who had severe learning difficulties, and chose not to speak.  He didn’t talk to anyone unless he wanted something, and his speech was very muffled and drowning.  On the times he chose to come home I would purposely act the fool, clown around, be hyper and over reactive which would spin him out.  Well, my plan worked – he started to laugh, giggle, and tell me to stop mucking about and actually spoke to me, and we eventually formed a bond.

“He started talking to me and my husband and began using body language like shoulder shrugs, huffs, nudges.  He had never attended a local authority Council (LAC) review with me, although he was meant to, and his next review was due.  I told him that there was going to be lots of cake and that not to get embarrassed or paranoid, and above all I would like him there because I liked hearing his voice.  He came to the LAC review with a smile, ate cake and talked for the first time to his Independent Reviewing Office (IRO) and really got involved with the whole meeting.  He came to all of the LACs after that as he wanted to know what was being said about him.  The IRO congratulated me on teaching him to talk and not being afraid and was amazed by his new found confidence.

“As a foster carer although some things you experience can be out of your comfort zone, with the appropriate support and training all will become clear.

“If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster carer then make the call – what have you got to lose by enquiring? Involve your family and friends and make sure their thoughts and concerns come first and that they are willing to support your decision.”

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

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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