Faces of Fostering – Anella, my ‘self-imposed limitations’ and being ‘too young to foster’?

Faces of Fostering – Anella, my ‘self-imposed limitations’ and being ‘too young to foster’?

‘I have wanted to foster children in some capacity since I was a teenager, but I had ‘self-imposed limitations. I convinced myself that to be taken seriously as a foster carer, there was no point in starting the assessment process until I was at least thirty.

‘I thought agencies wouldn’t take me seriously when I told them my age; I felt there would be a stigma to me fostering because I was only 28.

Maybe fostering children would be for an older person?

Perhaps children’s families would think I was too young?

Perhaps I won’t have the skills and experience agencies needed to support children as a younger foster carer?’

‘I have a decade of care experience working with children of all ages in residential care settings’.

These children have additional needs and are of varying ages; every child is unique, and I love working with them. I thought to myself, I have experience caring for children, I have lots to offer, and I have my youth, so I began inquiring with agencies. I approached my Local Authority and asked about becoming a respite carer; however, I found they were too rigid. They focused on what I couldn’t offer at that time based on my age rather than what I could’.

‘I found my inspiration for fostering on social media…’

Whilst researching fostering on social media, I came across a young foster carer on Instagram. ‘I read the woman’s story and thought, ‘OMG; she’s doing it; so, I can!’

‘I followed her on Instagram, and she inspired me. I let go of the ‘self-imposed limitations’ that had prevented me from starting my fostering journey and set out to find the right agency for me’.

‘After my first chat with Caritas Care, I instantly felt they were the right agency for me. Caritas Care is an open, friendly, informative, and Not-for-Profit agency, which is crucial. I had previously worked for Barnardo’s, another Not-for-Profit children’s charity. The experience holds a special place in my heart. I began the career I love, supporting children and young people, which ultimately led me to Caritas Care’.

‘I approached Caritas Care in early 2019, I was 28 years of age, and it took less than six months for me to become approved. I was providing respite care for young people a month after my approval’.

‘I didn’t find the assessment process stressful at all; in fact, it was great. It was very in-depth, and I had spent a long time researching, so I knew what to expect; I found it all extremely exciting.’

‘My social worker was very engaging and positive with me, from the beginning, right to the end.’

When I became approved as a respite foster carer, I was working part-time. I have two weekends off every month, so I have two different young people I care for once a month. This care is often done at weekends and during school holidays; however, when COVID came, I was happy to provide regular respite whenever Caritas Care needed me. Sadly, respite voluntarily ceased for one of the young people I cared for during the pandemic; thankfully, it continued for the other. My partner actively supports me to provide the respite, and he helps with transport on days out because I don’t drive.

Click here to enquire about fostering with Caritas Care

Rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

Special thanks to Verve Recruitment for their support in helping us find more foster carer for more children.

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