Sara, Head of Operations
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. Next up is Sara, Head of Operations at Carolina House Trust.
How long have you been working at Carolina House Trust?
4 years and 3 months
How long have you been supporting foster carers in one way or another? How do you do this?
I have worked with foster carers for 27 years in various social work jobs. On my first working day as a frontline social worker, I got hit on the head by a trainer that had been thrown by an angry parent as I removed a young person and drove them to a foster carer’s house. Now I try and support the CHT foster care team so that the staff have all the learning opportunities and resources to provide a high-quality service to our carers, their families and the young people.
What is your CHT or foster care career highlight?
The highlight for me working with CHT is seeing the young people enjoying the community events and having fun. During lockdown the photos that have been sent in have cheered everyone up.
Have you had a low point? How did you overcome it?
Prior to working with CHT, I was part of a Serious Case Review team that involved foster carers and it emerged that so many professionals had failed to protect a young person who was in their care. After that, it was the case that the learning formed complete changes in the way that people worked – which helped to get me through some of the negative issues that had arisen.
What would you change about foster care?
I haven’t liked some of the recent press articles that have focused on negative issues which aren’t based on facts. I would like to raise the profile of fostering so that everybody realizes what a fantastic but difficult job carers do.
What challenges have COVID-19 and lockdown brought to how you provide support? How are you overcoming them?
Strangely the lockdown has forced us to embrace technology and in some ways staff and carers have grown closer. A real challenge for me is not criticising the grammar of staff, like I usually would, as I am trying to be extra sensitive just now.
What has been the funniest moment of your CHT or foster care career?
Lots of funny moments when I worked in local authorities but I don’t dare share them with you. At CHT there is lots of fun each day – although after 4 years Gill still hasn’t worked out when I am joking with her.
What do you enjoy doing when you have some time to yourself?
I watch Neighbours when no one else is in as otherwise I get ridiculed for my TV viewing choice.
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 used to work in Child Protection and was involved at the start of a young person’s care journey. Now I am lucky enough to see on a daily basis the positive impact that fostering can have.
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.