My employer helped me become a foster carer

I was a social worker for Bradford Children’s Social Care when I met the child I now foster. I was aware the child had been through some tough times and needed a permanent foster family to look after her and my husband thought it was a good idea as well, which is great as he is actually her main carer and I still work full-time.

I spoke to the Fostering Service Manager about becoming a connected carer, a Family & Friends carer as they are known in Bradford. I wasn't sure I would be allowed to become a foster carer for Bradford as I worked in Children’s Services, but the senior management team were very supportive.

Once we’d expressed our interest in fostering the child, it was really important that everyone involved in our assessment and in the child’s care, were mindful of the potential for conflict of interest. I was also a little worried about being assessed by colleagues I continued to work with, so Bradford Fostering organised for the assessment to be done by an independent social worker.

Because I’d heard about the new policy Time Off for Foster Carers, I asked for some time off so we could be assessed during work hours. The policy also meant we could both attend the Skills to Foster preparation training course together. I also got some time off to attend the fostering panel, so I didn’t have to squeeze it in to my lunch hour!

I felt really supported by the Council during my assessment from the very start – it made me feel that Bradford Council was acknowledging my status as an employee who also fosters. The policy gave me that extra layer of support, that meant I could attend all the planning meetings for my foster child’s move. I felt that I had got the Council’s full support to be able to provide my foster child with a permanent home for the rest of their childhood and beyond.