In Your Shoes - Cindy

I’m Cindy, and I’m a foster carer with Carolina House Trust.  I’m married to David, and we have grown up sons.  In January 2020, we enquired about becoming foster carers with Carolina House Trust.  After an initial meeting and discussions at our home, we decided to go ahead, and we attended skills to foster training, then Lockdown happened the following week!

CHT kept in touch with us, and at the end of April, they asked us if we would be happy to proceed with our application virtually, using Microsoft Teams - So we did!  We also attended panel in February virtually as well! (Although this WAS a little daunting, but we were re-assured straight away by panel members)

We would definitely encourage others to proceed virtually if that is the only option, as - unlike we imagined - we feel we really did manage to build a good relationship with our CHT Supervising Social Worker this way.  Our experience with CHT has been fantastic, with them doing everything they can to ensure that the two young people who were placed with us were matched as well as they possibly could be.

Fostering has been life changing for our whole family, and it is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, but we absolutely have no regrets.

Busy Busy Monday!!!

Today is an unusually busy day!

We have a virtual Core Meeting using Microsoft Teams at 10am for our young people, and Supervision later in the day with our Supervising Social Worker

We wouldn’t normally have both of these things in one day, but on this occasion it can’t be helped.

This is our first time at a Core Meeting, and I’m aware that they are not the easiest to organise, as they require lots of people being available at the same time, attending today will be myself and David, the young people’s Local Authority Social Worker, our Supervising Social Worker, the Head Teacher and Guidance Teacher from their schools, the local community nurses, and the young people’s grandparents.

So we are a little nervous and unsure of what to expect.

I say “we” because my husband David now works compressed hours in his “normal” job, so he is available to attend meetings and training with me on Mondays and Fridays.

This particular meeting is being held to discuss the young people’s progress and how they have settled in here with us and at school.

I’m unsure what will be left to discuss at our Supervision, as we will probably cover most things within the meeting, so it will likely be a catch up, some reflection on the Core Meeting, and possibly some recommendations for training

A Day of Reflection

So today is a much quieter day - thank goodness!! 

Yesterday was such a busy and tiring day, but the Core Meeting was very positive and helpful.

After doing the school run this morning, I really just wanted to sink into my chair and watch some rubbish television with a cup of coffee and a biscuit! So I did – just for an hour – and it was bliss!!! I honestly can’t remember the last time I even switched on the television in the morning!!

During Supervision yesterday we discussed Highly Sensitive Children. We completed a short questionnaire, and our Supervising Social Worker recommended some reading material.

The questionnaire was very insightful, and we discovered afterwards that on reflection and given a little time to think, our answers were actually different to what we initially thought them to be, so we will definitely be reading the material he recommended.

The rest of my day was spent tidying up and catching up with washing from the weekend.

After school today, we attend the local indoor trampoline park, both our young people have memberships for here, and we go twice a week! It’s a great fun way of them keeping fit and active without them realising it is actually exercise!!!

Holiday Planning

So I spent most of today purchasing tickets for various attractions for a little holiday we have booked to Blackpool!

With COVID restrictions still in place – this took a LOT of organisation as time slots need to be booked for everything

The young people are very excited though, as they have never been on holiday before or stayed in a hotel, so we want to give them the best experience possible, whilst ensuring we all stay safe.

After school, one of the young people attends a local dance class with a friend from school,  so we collect them both from school, have an early dinner, then drop them off at the class.Then we return home for an hour, usually do homework with our other young person, unpack lunchboxes etc, then return to collect them again. Its lovely watching friendships develop and confidences grow. We also started decorating the garden for Hallowe’en which both young people loved doing! (and so did we!)

*Proper Work Day* (With a Little Relaxation Thrown In)

Whilst the young people were at school, my morning was spent doing “work stuff” – this consists of updating our young people’s weekly logs, checking the training calendar, reading emails, updating my diary etc etc.

I tend to take one day a week to do “work stuff” and this way I never feel overwhelmed.

In the afternoon I took myself off to my craft room for an hour to do a little sewing – this is my escape from reality. I’m currently sewing a patchwork cushion for one of our young people, from her old clothes which were of huge sentimental value to her. I hope she likes it when it is finished. She has helped with the layout and embroidery of it!

Then today after school we have a visit from the young people’s Local Authority Social Worker. One of the young people can be known to be challenging towards social workers, but we have noticed a vast improvement in the 12 weeks they have been with us, and we were extremely proud today as they were not only “not challenging” but pleasant!

The social worker stayed for almost two hours, and after chatting with the young people, we had coffee and updated them on how things are progressing.

Training/Contact Day

This morning, David and I attended Child Protection Training.

This is one of the mandatory courses all foster carers attend at different times throughout the year.

I knew from my childminding years and attending 2 years ago, that this training can be quite harrowing, with real-life scenarios being relayed, but David had never attended this before. The course lasted 2.5 hours, with a break halfway.

Most training is very tiring, but this one especially is.

We had lunch afterwards, then pretty much sat in a daze for an hour collecting our thoughts before picking the young people up from school.

After school, the young people were meeting up with their mum, so we went shopping for “movie food”, as we felt everyone’s spirits needed lifting!

We purchased hot dogs, pizza, popcorn and ice-cream!

We have a projector screen at home, so once we collect the children we will have a movie night in.

We plan something nice to occupy our young people for a few hours after the emotion of their catch-up.