The theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #whywecare, and we think it’s the perfect hashtag to celebrate fostering in the UK. Working within the fostering sector takes an exceptional kind of person. From the army of foster carers working across the UK who provide loving and nurturing homes to our young people and children to the office staff searching to find a perfect match for a family and child; caring is at our heart.
When we founded Affinity Fostering in 2013, we had a very clear set of goals. Having worked extensively within the fostering community, we wanted to ensure that our service was welcoming, friendly, and professional. That anyone we dealt with, be it a new foster carer taking their first steps to welcome a child into their home, or a social worker arriving to work for us, would be nurtured and supported in the same way we nurture and support the young people we look after. Put simply, we decided that we would always care.
The route to becoming a foster carer isn’t one that’s taken lightly. It isn’t an immediate decision that you want a potentially sometimes grumpy teenager inhabiting your spare room. It’s something that grows in you. It’s a feeling that there is something more that you can offer, an intuition that you could be a person who encourages a child to be all they could and should be.
Fostering requires no formal qualifications; you don’t have to turn up at an interview with pictures of your successful children (you may not even have children of your own), there’s no need to flash a marriage certificate under the panel’s noses. All you really need is to show us that you care and that you are ready to learn how to care more.
So, here’s how Affinity Fostering cares about the members of our family. All our foster carers go through extensive training and support to prepare them to welcome children or young people into their home, and we provide support for the children who already live with them. Our carers have access to dedicated social workers and support networks whenever they need them, and our senior team makes sure to catch up with our carers regularly.
For the young people in our care, we work very hard to ensure that they are placed in a household that meets their needs and will provide them with the support they need; they have a young-person led Voices group that helps them with the opportunity to empower themselves and speak out. And then there are our activity days, from visits to theme parks and horse sanctuaries (yes, we care for two adopted donkeys too) to virtual cookery lessons and independent life skills training where we work to prepare young people and children for adulthood.
And by doing all of this, we show #whywecare. It’s because we believe that every child and young person should have the opportunity to reach for Affinity and beyond. That’s why our mission statement is “Enhancing and Empowering Young Lives”. It’s really that simple. If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer and want to find out more about the process, get in touch, and we’ll have a chat.