Fostering young people and teenagers in Bradford
Since becoming a foster carer for Bradford Fostering, Tracy has fostered 7 children between the ages of 7 and 17. Hear Tracy’s story:
What inspired you to become a foster carer?
Like many foster carers, Tracy wanted to give back to her local community and help children in need.
“We had so much to offer and give. Our own children were older and we still hadn’t stopped being parents. We wanted to support our local authority and local children.”
The application process
“The application was straight forward. Our social worker guided us with ease through the whole process; it really helped us think about our own experiences and how we could use and adapt them.
Allocations were our main worry but working with the social worker team and prep group really put it all into perspective for us.”
To improve her knowledge and skills, Tracy has taken advantage of the various training and development courses offered to Bradford foster carers.
From the initial Skills To Foster training to emergency and paediatric first aid classes, there are several options for carers to enhance their knowledge and aid their development.
“I am currently working with the NSPCC for internet safety with a young lady I currently have in my care. We have explored mental health services with another young lady, which was really good too.”
“We had really good support from our assessing social worker, who really pushed us to think about our experiences from parenting our own children and how we put that into practice with a foster child.
The prep group was brilliant as we got to meet some young adults who had been through the care system and also talking to some experienced carers.
After our assessment, we were supported by a wonderful social worker who had experience in looking after a family friend, so she understood some difficulties that we were experiencing.
All the carers that I have come into contact with are really nice and happy to share their experiences.”
What is the most rewarding thing about being a foster carer?
“Giving a child a new experience and sharing that with them.
I have managed to guide a teenager through their GCSEs with good grades and prom with no drama. I find it all rewarding.
We have a static caravan and what really makes me smile is watching them run on the beach with no care in the world."
Do you have any favourite fostering moments?
“Biking 18 miles for an ice cream; playing board games and laughing till you hurt; prom dress shopping and standing in tears with my husband at how beautiful they look. These are just a few moments in our 8 years of fostering.”
What advice would you offer people who are considering becoming a foster carer?
“Don’t beat yourself up if the placement isn’t working. We have all been there and as difficult as it is to say it’s not working, it was the best option for us.
There are days that will feel like groundhog day but that’s OK too.
When you are all laughing and having a really good day, it reminds you why you do this."
What things do people need to consider before deciding to foster?
“The impact of the rest of the family and that this isn’t a 9 to 5 job.”
Finally, what is the best thing about fostering with Bradford?
“Good support and a good team of social workers.”