Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

The many joys of life as a foster carer

Foster carer, feature writer and photographer David Bocking talks about his experience fostering for Sheffield City Council.

One of the first thing a Foster Carer learns is that foster children don’t officially go by that name anymore: our children are called ‘LACs’ or ‘Looked after Children'.

And boy, are they looked after — at the last count our current child has been regularly seeing over a dozen brilliant NHS professionals over her first year of life.

She has a number of health problems, but like most babies with additional needs is ignoring them whenever she can and getting on with gurgling and bashing things together.

When a child becomes a LAC, foster carers are telephoned by the ‘placement team’ and told as much as is known about the child’s health conditions and general situation before they decide whether to take on that particular child, or not. There’s no pressure, and the social workers who make the call just aim to find the right carer for each particular child.

We’ve had to say no to a child on one occasion, which felt hard, although it was definitely the right decision for him and us. Foster carers have to think about our own family and working situation, and in this case we realised it wouldn’t have been the right option for the youngster.

The placement officer stressed it was fine as she had other foster carers available, and it doesn’t alter the likelihood of future placements.

Once a child is assigned to us, our job is to hustle for her in the world of health and social care like we would our own baby.

That means hospital appointments and discussions with doctors where we have to advocate for our baby and try and ask the right questions for her, relating to both her needs now and potentially for her future when she’ll have moved on from us.

There are also regular home visits from a variety of specialists with bags and paperwork following each other in and out over the same day. All good for the baby’s socialisation, it seems, and she seems happy enough showing them all her new teeth.

But with so many people involved with her varying dietary, speech and physical issues her diary does gets complicated and I sometimes struggle to remember who’s in charge of what.
Does her physio really need to see her ‘How Many Times a Day Am I Currently Vomiting’ chart? Does her speech therapist need to know her bowel habits? It can’t do any harm.

Baby and I recently attended her ‘LAC review’ which is where her Independent Reviewing Officer listens sagely while varying professionals discuss her progress and consider her future while she bangs on the desk and throws her toys on the floor.

She’s doing well, everyone concluded. She grinned and blew them all several impressive raspberries.

David Bocking is a foster carer for Sheffield City Council. For more on fostering in Sheffield.

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

All children removed from Rainsbrook

17/06/2021

All children are to be removed from Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, the Lord Chancellor has announced.

Robert Buckland has confirmed that work is underway to move all children from the privately-run Secure Training Centre amid serious ongoing concerns about safety and performance.

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “Six months ago, I demanded that MTC take [...]

Read Full Story

Response to 'Case for Change'

17/06/2021

What the children’s services sector said about the independent review into children’s social care.

ADCS

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services President, Charlotte Ramsden, said: “This review is a once in a generation opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change for the children and young people who need our help and support to thrive. The case [...]

Read Full Story

Children’s social care system likened to Jenga tower held together with Sellotape

17/06/2021

Children’s services often intervene with vulnerable families too late, the independent review into children’s social care has stated.

The government’s main focus should be on supporting the resources of families and the wider community to keep children safe as close to a family environment as is possible. While decisive action still needs to be taken [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram