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Fosterer – Amanda Connolly
Shortly after her approval to be a Hackney Foster Carer, Amanda shared her experience of the application process and what encouraged her to become a foster carer in the first place.
As a teenager Amanda knew she wanted to become a foster carer when she grew up. She saw herself being married, having a family of her own and still welcome children in care into her home providing the love and support they need.
Despite being single, when the time presented itself, she did not let this deter her from pursuing the latter part of that dream. “I’ve always had a really strong social conscience, and the older I got the more I really wanted to do it and to help kids. I was more concerned about being single than I was about being bi-sexual, but my friend advised me to start the process as I had the time on my hands.”
“I choose to foster for Hackney rather than an agency because, I’m in it to help a child, so personally knowing that someone is making a profit from it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Look at the Ofsted reports; you want to be with a provider that supports you, supports the children and that is something Hackney has over a lot of other councils in the area.”
A lot of people thinking about fostering, are often put off by the assessment process which can take up to six months. Amanda described the experience as ‘intense’ but said “I had a great assessor who very much worked at my pace. It was a real revelation for me, I was dealing with things I hadn’t really touched on since I was a teenager and as a 41 year old woman was able to look back and learn from. It also made me realise how resilient I was.” She also shared her surprise that some of the experiences she had been through, rather than being a problem, highlighted how she might be able to emphasise with a child coming into care.
Before the assessment starts, candidates are required to complete the Skills to Foster training devised by Fostering Network. “Skills to Foster was really interesting; it can be quite emotional. Some of the things we were hearing were quite new to me, it’s eye-opening yet I felt very comfortable asking questions”.
“It was very inspiring to meet the care leaver; she was a student who had just graduated. So when you see the product of what a good foster home can support with that’s a real motivational element.”
Hackney is a diverse borough and we need foster carers to reflect this. You need to have a spare bedroom in your property as a safeguarding measure and the patience and ability to implement boundaries in which a child can grow in order to achieve their best outcome.
“The key with any safe, secure environment for a child is love and support and it doesn’t matter what colour, what sexual preference, or what religion you are. We are living in times where, Hackney Council is looking very holistically at how these children are supported, so putting those barriers up wouldn’t make sense for the children in care.”
If you would like to know more about becoming a Hackney foster carer, see what is fostering? or contact us using the details below.