Sandra's experience as a foster carer
My name is Sandra. My husband James and I have been fostering for about 10 years, ever since our birth daughters were 6 and 7 years old.
Starting our journey
We began our journey with a fostering agency as they were able to pay us a fee to offset the need for me to go out to work. I really wanted to be at home for my children and I wanted to make a difference for some other children.
We started by fostering teenagers. We offered respite and short term placements. Our first placement was a 12 year old boy for just 10 days, then a 15 year old came to us and stayed for 2 years.
However, when she left we were left with an empty room for months and had to make the decision to leave the agency. I spoke to Suffolk Fostering and have never looked back.
I found that we would receive almost the same fee but would very rarely have periods of no one to care for (unless we asked for a break) we could access some brilliant local training and local support groups, which the agency had certainly been lacking.
Our fostering social worker has supported us in every way. There was a new bed when we needed it and equipment for babies from a store cupboard or bought for us. They have provided advice and a listening ear when we needed it as well as referrals to expert professionals.
"Fostering has helped us all develop so much as a family and individuals. I am very proud of my children who have matured into very rounded, grounded and loving young adults."
Working with Suffolk Fostering Service
Fostering for the agency we had to supply all our own equipment training was available but often miles away and there was no mileage paid for attending training or meetings.
We also now have 21 days paid respite, not all agencies offer this! In short Suffolk really do look after us, we feel valued and part of the professional team.
I am so pleased now that Suffolk Fostering can offer similar financial packages to the agencies giving prospective foster carers with some experience of caring for children a choice!
All the children are placed via the local authority and will only go to agency carers if none are available 'in house', so it makes sense to foster for Suffolk.
Fostering has helped us all develop so much as a family and individuals. I am very proud of my children who have matured into very rounded, grounded and loving young adults with an insight into humanity rare for their age.
We are still in touch with most of the children we have looked after and some are still like extended family.
Could you become a foster carer like Sandra?
Get in touch with us to discuss your interest.