Steph is a Supervising Social Worker with Caritas Care. Steph is also a former foster carer with Catholic Caring Services, now known as Caritas Care.
Steph understands fostering, she knows the important things for children and foster carers. Her understanding is that she knows how important it is to take time and get things right because she has been there. Ultimately, she wants to make her foster carers the best they can be, just as the charity did for her.
In this months Faces of Fostering series, Steph talks about her journey as and foster carer to becoming a Fostering Social Worker…
My Fostering Journey with Caritas Care.
I was approved as a foster carer for Caritas Care in December 2000, but, at that time, it was called Catholic Caring Services. I was an approved foster carer with my husband, and we had 3 birth children. We were a fostering family, and almost straight away, after being approved, we had our first placement. We had a young person placed with us, and she stayed with us for 4 years.
We had wanted to foster for a while and had toyed with it; however, we couldn’t fit it in. There never seemed to be a suitable time. Then one day, we just said, do you know what? I want to have a go. So we applied, and it took just ten months to become approved.
In addition, when making the decision to foster, we were in the middle of building our home. We lived in a caravan, so we stepped up a gear, got the house finished, and became approved as foster carers.
At that time, I was working part-time as a Teaching Assistant in a local school. It worked well because I could fit looking after my children and our foster child in and around the school holidays. I had an excellent relationship with my Social Worker; she told me that I should think about becoming a Social Worker myself!
I wanted a change, so I went to University and trained to be a Social Worker.
Sadly, my marriage broke up, and I stopped fostering. I had considered training to be a social worker, and I thought to myself, go and train to become a Social Worker as my former Social worker suggested. I worked out my finances, did without for a while, went to University for 3 years, and eventually achieved a BA in Social Work. I was a qualified Social worker; I was 44 years of age, with 3 children; I was so proud of myself.
After I qualified as a Social worker, I had a couple of jobs and then worked for the Local Authority Fostering Team in Cumbria, I loved my job. However, I saw an ad that said Caritas Care was looking for a Social worker. I had to apply for it; I desperately wanted to give them something back after everything they had done for me. I was delighted when I got the job, and I’m still here, 8 years later, and I love the job and the team of people I work with.
Although the end of my marriage was sad, something good came out of it and I did something I never thought I would ever do. The irony is the job I have now at Caritas Care is the same job as the Supervising Social Worker who advised me to do it in the first place! I feel that I am proof that you are never too old to learn!
My children are now older and settled; however, my two older children would consider becoming foster carers in the future. They know how much I love my job and it resonates with them. I hope I have made them proud; well, I know they are very proud of me.
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.