Susan’s Story

Archived: Posted July 29, 2016

“Fostering is the most rewarding and fulfilling feeling”

Susan Ellis from Choppington, Northumberland has been a full time foster carer with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for the past two years.  During this time Susan has looked after several different fostering placements, including disability, short term and respite care, and describes her experience as a foster carer so far as being emotional and extremely rewarding.

After working full time in mental health within a community NHS team, anSusan Ellisd bringing up a family of her own, Susan is now a full time foster carer and wouldn’t look back.  She said:  “I have held a longstanding desire to foster but there were always responsibilities like bringing up a family, looking after elderly family members and just letting everyday life in general stop me. I’m sure this is the case for many people considering to foster, we allow things to get in the way but I am so glad now the time is right.

“I worked in mental health for more than 15 years.  Working with people who had suffered a challenging past, through no fault of their own, made me decide that I had so much to offer young people who were going through a difficult situation.

“I started looking into fostering with the local authority and then with FCA. I also gathered information from friends who had fostered. Once I had gathered all my research I decided to go with FCA as I felt the support offered was invaluable and much needed. As a single carer I knew that I would need a good support network.”

When asked about who she spoke to about her desire to become a foster carer, and the reactions she receives from people, Susan explained:  “I discussed fostering with colleagues, friends and family and received mixed reactions. My family were totally on board and very supportive whilst my colleagues however, were very wary at first. After thinking about all the advice and weighing up the pros and cons I decided it was time and I felt I could help make a difference to a young person’s life.

“Some people think I’m mad and don’t understand it, while others think it’s wonderful and are interested in knowing all about my experiences as a carer and are really supportive.”

Susan talks about the challenges she has experienced since being a foster carer and explains just how important the support she has received from FCA has been along the way.  She said: “It can be very challenging as a foster carer, not just the everyday challenges that comes with looking after a young person but also the system can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. However, I have always received excellent support from FCA.

‘’For example, my last placement had really complex needs and the FCA therapist was able to give great advice and support and was able to identify with the problem. I would not have had this sort of support elsewhere. My supervising social worker is also very supportive – I always know if I need anything at all she is available, as well as out of hours support whenever I need it.”

When asked what her best fostering moment has been so far Susan describes the transformation of her current fostering placement under her care.  She said: “The young person I have at present came to me with a lot of complex needs. When we first met her attendance at school was poor and she often struggled in class, and at home she was challenging and required a lot of help with tasks. However, over the past eight months, having worked with her on her emotions and behaviour, she has managed 100% attendance every term and outbursts at home are now much shorter and less frequent too. 

“Just knowing that this young person is thriving and becoming a beautiful, mature young lady has to be one of my favourite memories.”

Susan offers her best advice to new foster carers and those thinking of fostering.  She said:  “I would probably say never expect too much from the young person at first. In time they will learn to trust and appreciate you, just remember they may have come through a traumatic time and will need to adjust. Keep in touch with your social worker and support network.”

Susan sums up her time fostering so far as being rewarding and fulfilling, and said: “I have been fostering now for two years and even though it has had its emotional and stressful times I would say I have never regretted making that decision to foster. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling feeling knowing that by just changing my life style, and committing to doing this, I am making a difference in a young person’s life.”

 

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
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