Valerie has been a Foster Carer for two years and has fostered a number of children from Waltham Forest. She shares her story of why she became a foster carer and what the experience has been like for her so far.
I have been a Waltham Forest foster carer for two years. I have cared for seven children aged between five and 18 and currently have three children.
I considered fostering for a long time and once my birth children had grown up and had gone to University I had the space to do this. I had a lot of experience of working with young people through parenting my own children and the youth department in my church.
I was and still am a Sunday School teacher. I have always lived in Waltham Forest and wanted to help on my own door step, there is so much need within our own community. A few of the children I have fostered have gone to schools that I attended as a young person and it’s been good to be able to go back to them for meetings.
I found the process of becoming a foster carer really good. My dedicated Social Worker would visit around once a week and we'd explore my background and look at the realities and challenges that children in care would face. She also gave me homework. This really prepared me well.
Fostering is rewarding because you are giving a child a chance at a new good beginning and even just a smile from them makes it all worthwhile.
As young people grow they will see and appreciate what you have done for them. I have ongoing training in my role to ensure I am the best carer I can be and can deal with any issues that may come up. In my home I have one to one talks with my foster children and group talks. I aim to create a homely environment and bring normality to the lives of children who may not have had that before.