Private fostering - the carer's perspective

Being a private foster carer has been one of the best achievements I have made to date. This has allowed me to ensure that two children were not taken from what they know and allowed for them to continue to be happy, whilst not living with their parents. As I am not a close relative and the children would be staying with me for more than 28 days, this is the criteria for private fostering arrangements.

Previous to the arrangement, neither I nor the parents were aware of the notification process and we did not fully understand what `private fostering` meant. It is because of this that we feel the information should be made more widely available and all professionals should be made aware, to ensure they give the correct information to prospective carers at the earliest possible convenience.

The assessment process can be quite intrusive and daunting with health and safety assessments and also social worker visits from both the child social worker and fostering social worker. This made me feel I was being judged on my parenting and as a parent this was difficult. However, I soon came to realise that once the private fostering assessment was completed, the visits undertaken thereafter were to support myself and the children.

I feel that my fostering social worker has helped the placement go successfully as she has done everything within her power to ensure that me and the children were happy. She has supported us in so many ways such as; supporting me to make a successful application to the housing, a referral to the benefit advisor and has been a consistent worker throughout the placement.  She has liaised closely with other professionals to reassure and advise me consistently with any issues raised. I really appreciate the work she has done with us as I feel she has gone above and beyond, to make sure the arrangement was successful.

The children have progressed considerably whilst in my care and I take great pride in being part of this. I will be sad to see the children leave after over 12 months of been with us and I am thankful as the private fostering arrangement has provided stability and security for the children during a very turbulent time in their life.