Southwark Life - profile on Foster carers
The last year has given some of us the time to think about new opportunities or careers, and helping others. Providing care for local young people is a wonderful and rewarding way to make a real positive difference in your community. As a foster carer, you'll be supported and guided by our team of dedicated professionals to develop your skills and knowledge. Our foster carers build long-lasting supportive relationships with each other and their local wider community.
If you enjoy looking after children and could find the time and space in your life to welcome a vulnerable child into your home and family, then we'd encourage you to come forward and contact us. We'll support you in exploring the options and consider whether now is the right time for you.
Children and young people in Southwark need single people and families of all ages and backgrounds who can offer fostering and shortbreak care.
If you'd like to get involved supporting young people but you don’t currently have the time or space to commit to full-time fostering, then perhaps you could offer short-break care. Short-break carers support local families by offering one day, or a weekend a month of care, for a local young person with a disability.
We spoke to Southwark residents who changed careers to support children and young people to thrive. Read how Shelly and Bryleigh make a difference to the lives of children.
Bryleigh has recently been approved to foster with her partner after living in a fostering household growing up.
“I can’t imagine not fostering after growing up in a full house. Lockdown gave me the chance to sit back and reflect. There’s so much more to life, and now is my time, the right time for me to give back to the community. No one size fits all and every child is different, so you have to be prepared to adapt to them. You have to put yourself in their shoes and try to be empathetic and understanding of what they’ve been through. Change is unsettling and can bring up suppressed emotions. I’m always 100% honest and transparent. It’s different to having your own child, but becomes normal life quickly. You need to be flexible and open to change. Boundaries and routine are key, and great organisational skills really help. It helps to be non-judgemental, resilient and persistent. Expect the unexpected!”
Foster carer Shelly worked for the Met Police before becoming a foster carer almost 11 years ago. She adapted the skills she used as the police to deal with conflict while staying calm and patient.
“I’ve probably looked after over 50 children; when I open my front door they become my extended family. When you understand some of the difficulties and trauma they’ve experienced, you want to help. You have to remember it can be daunting for a child first walking into a new home, but they start to trust you, and when you see that first smile or they reach out for a hug, that’s when you know you’ve had a positive impact on their life. Skills you already have are transferable. You need patience and resilience - but there’s training available and you’re not alone. Fostering is brilliant - to see children smile is worth it.”
Page last updated: 19 April 2021