Life as part-time foster carers with Bradford Council
Hazel and Michelle became foster carers at the beginning of 2021, since then they have fostered six children between the ages of 6 and 14 years.
Fostering was something the couple had discussed for a while, but decided to look into further when their biological children had left for university and they felt they had the time, patience and love to give to children in need.
Hazel said: “We knew we wanted to help children in our community, which is why Bradford Fostering was the best choice for us, we never considered using an agency.”
“We went into fostering with an open mind, we found that it worked for us because we know that each child and situation is different. We haven’t really had any worries or doubts since becoming foster carers."
“The application process was very thorough, but it was easy to get through thanks to the support we had throughout, any worries or queries we had during the assessment were answered straight away."
“We received a lot of support from our supervising social worker, as well as the Bradford Fostering Facebook group for approved foster carers.”
Becoming respite foster carers
Becoming respite foster carers was the right decision for Hazel and Michelle.
“We’re respite carers, so we only have children on a weekend. We didn’t have to make many lifestyle changes, but we made sure that our spare room was decorated and ready to welcome a child or young person.”
What is respite care?
Respite carers offer support to full-time foster carers by looking after the foster child for a short period (such as during a family emergency or to provide a break for the foster family). Find out more about the different types of fostering.
Despite the limited face-to-face contact during COVID-19, Hazel and Michelle still had a lot of contact with their dedicated Supervising Support Worker (SSW) via calls and video calls and were always at the other end of the phone to answer any questions.
“They made sure that we were aware of any dates we had for meetings and made sure we could work them around our daily lives.”
The best thing about fostering with Bradford is the support we get from other fostering families and from our Supervising Support Worker.
“The fostering community in Bradford is very friendly and welcoming, we haven’t been able to meet anyone face to face yet due to COVID-19, however there is a Fostering Facebook group, with lots of support and advice from experienced foster carers, as well as the admin for Bradford Fostering on there.
We have had a few online training courses done via Facebook, and everyone is very friendly and makes you feel at home.”
All Bradford Fostering foster carers receive extensive training and support throughout their fostering journey, designed to identify weaknesses and build on existing skills.
Hazel said: “We did two Skills to Fostering workshops. These were a great help as they gave us an insight to fostering.
“In one of the workshops, we had a couple of experienced foster carers who shared their stories with us, as well as a few children who were in the care system.
“They explained how being in care made them feel, including the positives and negatives of care.
“There are many online courses done via Bradford Council that are offered to us”
What is the most rewarding thing about being foster carers?
“As respite carers, we have our weekends planned for the children we care for. We try to do things that involve us all.”
Hearing a child laugh during their time with us or seeing them smile is so rewarding, this is often better than them saying thank you!
What advice would you offer people who are considering becoming a foster carer?
“We would say just do it! Don’t overthink it, every situation and child is different. Listen to the child you are caring for, involve yourself in their conversation. Take note of their favourite things to do, films they like to watch or foods they like to eat. Make the time you have with the child fun for everyone.
“Before starting out, we would recommend considering whether you have the time, patience and of course the energy! Plus it helps to be a great listener.”