What does it take to Foster for Barnet?
Sonia and Martine tell us what it’s like to care for children in Barnet.
What first interested you in becoming a foster Carer?
We wanted to make a positive impact on children’s lives and chose to foster with Barnet after doing a lot of research. We chose to foster with Barnet when we realised they offered the best overall package. From the training programmes and support networks, to having friendly social workers who work for them.
What has been the thing that has surprised you most about fostering?
Nothing surprises you when you expect the unexpected! However, it does surprise you how resilient children are. Along the way, we have had really positive experiences from children getting awards for sporting achievements and flourishing in new schools and colleges.
What has been the highlight of fostering for you so far?
My partner and I have a lot of fun with the children and young people that we look after. As well as giving them a loving, caring, safe and stable home life, we allow them to be children and give them exciting opportunities, while setting routines and boundaries. We get a lot of satisfaction from fostering especially knowing we have made a positive impact on young people’s lives.
What advice would you give to a new foster carer or someone considering fostering?
If someone was thinking about fostering, we’d tell them to have an open mind and be prepared to learn a lot about children and childcare. It’s not easy at times, but there is so much support within Barnet Council, you always know someone can help if you need it. Also, Barnet knows the flexibility a foster carer may need. If you work hard for them, they will work hard for you.
What’s your experience of fostering teenage children and siblings?
We’ve been fostering for nearly 9 years and have fostered siblings for the past 6 years. Our current placement have been with us for 5 of those years and have achieved some amazing feats. From Jack Petchey awards and Police Cadets, to horse riding awards and swimming badges we’ve seen them all! We’ve had teenagers in our care and have enjoyed fostering these young adults. It’s hard enough being a teenager in general, so it’s super important for teens to have a stable environment especially where they can study for their exams. Barnet’s virtual school is on hand to assist with extra tuition for children who have missed vital bits of learning throughout their lives. It’s a department which specifically supports the child’s educational needs.
What’s it been like during Covid-19?
We have a young person at college who is getting a lot of online work sent to them despite them doing a practical based course. We have managed to help them fulfil their assignments. Our other young person has been allowed to go into school at times as we manage the local Trussell Trust Foodbank, also Martine is a Primary School Teacher, so we’ve been rather busy during lockdown. We have managed to stay safe during this time as we are working closely with local businesses who have donated PPE to our Foodbank which we have been crucial in keeping us and our young people safe. Our children have both helped at Foodbank which has been brilliant in helping them understand compassion, a sense of duty to other as well as being self aware for safety.