Potential foster carers across the county are invited to Leicestershire County Council’s virtual ‘find out about fostering’ events.
Since January, the council’s information events have been running online, meaning that the application process to become a foster carer is now almost entirely virtual.
Cat, 48, has been a foster carer for nearly 4 years and is currently caring for a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old, the ninth and tenth children she’s looked after.
She transferred from an independent fostering agency to Leicestershire County Council in 2020, completing the application via a series of video calls.
Cat said: “The process is very simple, very straightforward. Our meetings were over the phone and it was actually more efficient this way as there was a set finish time that we stuck to.
“We had been through the fostering approval process before which made things more straightforward, but it was much, much easier completing the application virtually. You could fit meetings into lunch breaks, whereas you couldn’t face-to-face. I would say it’s better, as you have some flexibility in that way.
“Our social worker was fantastic, she was incredibly thorough and always acknowledged everything, replied to emails quickly and followed everything up. Anything we needed; she was there.
“We did our DBS checks and Form F over FaceTime and WhatsApp and moved onto Teams for some meetings. We are used to technology and found it quite an easy process. Of course, there were still some face-to-face visits, to assess our home for health and safety. It’s so important to make sure there are no risks, so this has to happen in person.
“Our decision panel was virtual too and they were lovely. You’re all in the same situation – one woman even had her dog jumping up! There were a few technical issues, but we were made to feel comfortable and by the time you get to panel, your social worker should be confident you’ll be approved.”
Cat described her overall experience of fostering as ‘really positive’. She added: “Fostering has its stressful moments – it’s a 24 hour a day job – but the most rewarding thing is the tiny achievements that you’ve played a part in. My 9-year-old daughter is so proud to be part of a fostering family, she tells everybody! We moved a little boy onto adoption just before his first birthday and, as well as my daughter, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
We’re incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of all of our foster carers, who do such a fantastic job.
Sadly, the number of children in care has risen during the pandemic and we need to expand our fostering family to make sure the most vulnerable children in the county are looked after. If you could offer love and support to a Leicestershire child, our team are waiting to hear from you and support you through the application process.Person:Deborah Taylor, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for children and families
The next ‘Find out About Fostering’ events will take place online on Tuesday, 23 February and Wednesday, 17 March at 6:30pm. Register your interest at: https://form.jotformeu.com/203524489333356
Foster carers come from all walks of life and can be married, single, LGBT+, homeowners or renting, religious and from any cultural background. The only requirement is that applicants must be over 21 and have a spare bedroom and be willing to consider how they could open their heart and home to a young person.
To find out more about fostering, visit www.fosteringleicestershire.com or call the team for an informal chat on 0116 305 0505.