Kathleen, Supervising Social Worker
During Foster Care Fortnight 2020 we are sharing stories of how foster care transforms lives. By sharing the stories of people who have had their lives transformed by foster care, we pay tribute to the wonderful work foster carers are doing.
We will share thoughts from foster carers, staff, Board members and young people who have experienced foster carer.
First up is Kathleen, one of our Supervising Social Workers at Carolina House Trust.
How long have you been working at Carolina House Trust?
Coming up for a year.
How long have you been supporting foster carers in one way or another? How do you do this?
I’ve worked alongside foster carers and attended training and events with them for many, many years. This is the first role I’ve had that I wear a fostering hat and not a residential hat – the heartbeat is the same, because it’s the same kids.
What is your CHT or foster care career highlight?
I get lots of CHT highs – I am continually reminded and amazed at their ability to care for the individual; for me, for my colleagues and my carers.
Have you had a low point? How did you overcome it?
There’s been times during the lockdown where I’ve had feelings of helplessness and like I should be out there dressed in PPE and taking on the virus head-on, but then I’m reminded of the important work we are doing at CHT, as a community, to look out for each other and I feel blessed because this means I also don’t put my own family at risk.
What would you change about foster care?
As someone who’s heart has been beating for residential for almost 20 years I would like to see closer connections with the residential sector both to learn from and to help it develop.
What challenges has COVID-19 and lockdown brought to how you provide support? How are you overcoming them?
The biggest challenge is compensating for how much we all, foster carers and staff, get out of just being together – the moments before/after training, the welcome we get when we visit carers at home and the office ‘banter’. It’s amazing how much energy this gives me and I’ve really missed that. I’m not sure I’ve overcome it, I’m just banking on lots of visits, cakes and hugs on the other side.
What has been the funniest moment of your CHT or foster care career?
More fun, than funny. But one of our kids, D chasing J with an elf around the house as we sang Christmas songs, was just pure joy and fun with a couple of teenagers.
What do you enjoy doing when you have some time to yourself?
I’ve been in lockdown on my own for 8 weeks now – there was a time when that would have felt like an unbelievable gift. I love the water, I love a good book, I used to love Corona beer but most of all I love to travel and people.
The theme of Foster Care Fortnight this year is ‘’Foster Care Transforms Lives”. How has being immersed in the world of fostering changed your life?
I’m quite surprised by the level of governance of foster carers and how this is very well matched with developmental needs. There’s a discourse of how the current registration system of social care workers is not fit for practice. I think how the development and support of foster carers has been transformed over recent years should lead the whole sector of children and families workers; residential workers and social workers alike.
About Foster Care Fortnight
Foster Care Fortnight 2020 is taking place from Monday 11 to Sunday 24 May.
The Fostering Network’s theme #ThisIsFostering provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the incredible work foster carers are doing, especially in such unusual circumstances. The overarching message of every Foster Care Fortnight is ‘foster care transforms lives’. Foster care makes a difference to the lives of fostered children and young people, but it also has the power to change the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.