Sisters encourage others to support foster carers
When you meet sisters Jan and Paula, it’s hard not to notice the close bond between them, which has been made even stronger through fostering and supporting each other.
While both sisters now foster children and teenagers full-time, they have also fostered part-time as support carers on weekends and in school holidays.
Now the sisters want to encourage more people to apply to become support carers to allow children in care to experience something new and to help full-time foster carers to have a break.
“At the end of the day, fostering is like having a job for people, so they need to have a holiday or a break for themselves. If you’re doing the same thing every single day then you need that break from it, and that’s where support carers come in.” says Paula.
It was Jan who began fostering first and in the last eight years has fostered over 30 children. Paula felt inspired by Jan and decided to start fostering part-time as a support carer, while being continuing with her full-time job. She was able to support the children that Jan fostered, enabling Jan to spend quality time with her own family and grandchildren.
“As a support carer I really, really enjoyed my time, it was a special time once every four weeks and I got lots of pleasure out of that.” Says Paula.
Jan adds “When I talk to the children that I’ve got in foster placement, they look at support care as like seeing an auntie, they look forward to going and it’s a highlight in their week because they can do activities that they don’t normally do with me.”
This Foster Care Fortnight (13-27 May) the Council is looking for people across the county to foster part-time to support full-time foster carers and potentially as an entry to doing full-time foster care one day.
When it comes to being a support carer, Jan has words of encouragement for people interested.
She says “If you’ve got a spare room and you’ve got a bit of time, support care is the one. It really is. And you are valued so much by foster carers, there’s not enough support care for the amount of foster carers that we have.
“You need to be strong, you need to set boundaries, but you know what, you can have so much fun. There are some hard times but it’s not all negatives, they’re outweighed a million to one when you get that child that says thank you.”
To hear more from Jan and Paula, watch their story by going to our fostering page www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering
For those interested in finding out more about support care and other types of fostering, the County Council is holding an information evening on Wednesday 15 May, 6-8pm at Oxton Village Hall. This is an informal drop in session and a great opportunity to hear from and talk to foster carers and their social workers. There will be a short presentation at 6.30pm, free refreshments and information to take away. There’s no need to book, just stop by to find out more about fostering with the Council.
For anyone who can’t attend the Oxton evening, visit the Council’s website to read all about fostering and to watch Jan and Paula's video at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering or call 0300 500 80 80.