The best people to tell you about fostering are our current foster carers.
When we meet people who are thinking about fostering we ask them to talk to one of our foster carers. They can tell you all about our agency and how we can support you to foster. Our foster carers are excellent and we like to shout about what they do and how they make such a difference to children’s lives.
We listen to our foster carers and we always make decisions with them, not apart from or against them.
Sunflower Fostering likes to include foster carers with changes in the agency, whether it’s changing paperwork, developing a group or something as big as changing our name – we always consult with our foster carers.
Our recent re-branding included consulting with a group of foster carers and the final decision came from them. When attending the preparation training many years ago, one of our foster carers wrote a poem about fostering and we’ve used this ever since.
Julie & Graham
Graham and Julie have been fostering with Sunflower Fostering, for 11 years
“We considered fostering for many years but thought that, as we had a family of our own we maybe had enough to deal with. But when we both started work at an organisation that ran children’s homes we realised that nationally there must be many young people needing foster homes. This really affected us, so we approached Sunflower Fostering with a view to becoming foster carers”.
Neither Graham or Julie believe that the lack of foster carers is due to a negative view of the profession, but maybe a lack of understanding about the positive impact being a foster carer can have.
“Fostering can be really hard work at times but it’s just the best work we could ever do.”
They also say that fostering had a massive impact on their lives and the life of their now 17 year old daughter, who learned to accept that sharing her parents hasn’t altered her importance in her family. The understanding and maturity that she has developed through her experiences of being part of a foster family makes them immensely proud.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to see the differences that we make to the young people we foster but we know we’ve made a difference. The relationships that we have established are forever, they have a place in our hearts and our lives. We are looking forward to the wedding of our first foster child and our second is due to become a father soon, it’s an exciting time and we know we’ve played a part”
However, it’s not just about the positive impact fostering has on the foster children or carers but the child’s natural family too. Graham mentions that: “One of our foster children was so tiny, so withdrawn and lost when he first came to us but we gave him our time and our family and he initially gave us a headache! He has flourished though and quickly grew.”
”He established a circle of friends and did well at college. Importantly, his family acknowledged the change in him and said that they believe that fostering allowed them the time and space they needed to work on the issues that caused the family breakdown in the first place.”
Both Graham and Julie believe that everyone should give fostering a try!
“Fostering isn’t about being qualified or experienced, that comes with time and the support of a good fostering agency. It’s about caring, sharing your home and family, and opening yourself up to the range of experiences it brings. It’s a privilege to be invited to play a part in young people’s lives and we won’t be giving it up any time soon!”
Becki and Rik
Have their own children and have been foster carers with Sunflower Fostering for 3 years
Becki and Rik were approved as foster carers in April 2014. They have two children aged 9 and 7 so a good match and careful risk assessment was very important. Becki and Rik provided respite to gain experience before being matched with a young person through the Pathway Service.. When asked for feedback for their foster carer’s Annual Review, the young person wrote:
“I feel like I am at home now, just at home”
Quote from Becki and Rik Skingsley:
“Sunflower Fostering is extremely helpful and supportive and we feel like the whole team are more like friends, which has meant they understand us as a family, enabling the team to be excellent at the matching process. Having a young person who came through the Pathway meant we had an extensive handover and transition period as well as amazing support from the residential staff. Fostering has changed our lives, but it has been a good change and we are glad we chose Sunflower Fostering”.
Hi my name is sunflower,
To look after me I will need sunlight
To encourage me to grow, I will need water
To develop to my full potential, I will need feeding
I may need support whilst I’m growing.
Nurture me and I will flourish.