Why I became a foster carer

Me and my husband are currently approved foster carers for Step Up and have been fostering for the past three months.

Motivation to foster

Our motivation and drive for going through the foster carers assessment was mainly because I am care experienced and was in care as a teenager. Some of my past childhood experiences have driven me to want to provide a stable and safe home for children. In particular, black and ethnic minority children as we are aware that there is a lack of culturally responsive homes for those children that holistically meets all their needs (hair, skin care and dietary needs).

Another of our drivers was knowing about the national shortage.

We had thought about applying to be foster carers before, however our children were young and when I looked at my own history, I thought this would be a barrier. I was also not ready to tell my story yet.


My lived experience and professional experience as a qualified social worker gives me the skills to care for children who have been through trauma. In addition, I have a great deal of experience working with children vulnerable to, or experiencing, exploitation, and significant experience in child and adult protection. My husband has worked with children with special educational needs and disabilities (transporting them to and from educational provisions) and has experience in recognising and reporting safeguarding. My eldest son is a Designated Safeguarding Lead / mentor at an alternative provision school. My middle son is a live stream gamer and a footballer, whilst my youngest is training to be a mentor and youth worker. We think as a family we have the skill set, lived experiences and knowledge to support (long term) some of the city’s most vulnerable children within our home.

Me and my husband are both from a Jamaican background. My husband was born in Jamaica, and I am born from Jamaican parents. My personal lived experience is that I am care experienced, have been involved in negative peer groups, offending behaviour, and adverse early childhood experiences. I also have significant experience in working within communities where there are worries about gangs and serious youth violence.

My husband has had experiences of racism when coming from Jamaica to England at the age of 8 and has worked with children with special needs and disabilities transporting them to and from school. He has picked up on safeguarding issues during transportation and been able to report them. He loves sport, in particular football, and can support and engage children in this. We have been active members of our football club and have supported parents with taking children to and from football as well as taking them abroad to Holland on football tournaments.

All these skillsets I think prepare us as a whole family to provide a holistic all rounded approach to children coming to live in our home.  

Challenges of fostering

The challenges I think with fostering are more around us as a family adjusting to having a child in our home that we do not know. I remember my youngest son really putting in a lot of effort, taking our first foster child to the park, introducing him to his friends, involving him in activities etc. only to understand that he was with us for respite and would be leaving after 10 days. When we had our current child move into our home my son asked me how long he was staying; it was like he was reflecting on how much energy he should put in if he was only going to be with us short term. My children are clear that they do not want children staying short term and they only want a child there if they are going to be there always. I guess this is a challenge in itself… what if the child does not want to stay?

Encouraging education is another challenge especially when children have not been actively encouraged to complete homework or understand how to manage and be respectful to teachers at school. Supporting children to understand that they are not the adult /parent and that they do not need to parent themselves but that we are here to advocate on behalf of them. The child we currently have with us really struggled with someone caring and being a parent to him.

Rewards of fostering

Seeing within a few weeks a child’s confidence grow, at first asking what he could have, now helping himself to the food in the fridge (and eating everything out of it). At first, he would only stay in his room now he is sitting at the table for dinner, lying down in the front room watching football with my husband and my sons. Watching the different relationships he has with my sons is great – he is now challenging back and debating in conversation which we encourage.

We use lavender a lot in our home spraying his pillows and bedsheets and burning candles and watching him sleep throughout the night without the lights on.

Excelling in football and chess and watching his confidence grow when meeting new people. Seeing a child’s behaviour change with positive parenting strategies.

Feedback from professionals at school was that he presented as a very unhappy and sad child who did not laugh or smile. Hearing him heaving with laughter from his bedroom and professionals stating that although he does not like school he bounces in and is smiling is wonderful.

Hearing his feedback on us we asked him to write five things that he likes about living with us and five things he did not like. He asked what if there was nothing to write in the things he did not like? It is interesting that one of his five things was that he felt spoiled; we are trying to show him that the way we are with him is what is the expectation of parents whilst explaining to him there may have been reasons why his parents could not do the same to keep the balance.

These are all the rewards just seeing him and hearing that he is happy.

Support and training

We have received significant support from our Supervising Social Worker; and even the assessment process was very positive thanks to our Assessment Social Worker.

The training that has been provided has also been very good and relatable. We had de-escalation training from a trainer who was also a foster carer and he kept it so real. There is lots of training on offer both virtually and face-to-face that we can choose from and some that are mandatory.

Why you should foster

If you decide to invite a child into your home, this is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference to a child’s future and help them develop in adulthood. If you have space in your home and want to make a real difference to children, provide them with a safe, stable, and secure home, this is the role for you! I do not see it as a job just as an extension of my role as a parent. We see it as a great chance to support a child on their life journey, a chance to teach them life skills and, in addition, it has helped our family to really appreciate how they can support other vulnerable children. The ongoing training and support you receive also assists with learning new skills because no two children are the same, so adapting your skills and learning from the training provided is a big help.

What I have also found helpful is the support from other foster carers as, in essence, we have created our own extended foster family!


We are actively recruiting Step Up Foster Carers. If you are interested in finding out more about this rewarding role we would love to hear from you!

Our foster carers receive a competitive financial package as well as ongoing specialist training and support.

Call our dedicated recruitment team today on 0121 303 7575 or enquire online!

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