BLOG: Becoming a foster carer during a pandemic

Chris and Amanda have been foster carers with Liverpool City Council since March 2020.  They decided to start off supporting children and young people on a part-time basis, but the Covid-19 pandemic encouraged them to become full-time foster carers. Amanda says her work in mental health was a deciding factor.

“Working in mental health, I have seen the impact of difficult childhoods and home lives, not only on children and young people, but also on later life.  Hearing all the stories, I just wanted to be involved in some way in stopping that cycle and helping children early on. 

We were initially approved as part-time foster carers in March 2020 (to fit around working full-time) and first began looking after a 14-year-old boy for just one weekend.  That weekend was extended and due to the pandemic, we have been able to work more flexibly to fit around his needs and commit longer-term.

Initially, we found the uncertainty a bit unsettling and we were unsure about making future plans together.  We realise now that he must have been reluctant to open up and commit to us for the same reason.  So, after a while we decided to change our approach and talk about the all things we would like to do together and from that point on things improved.

It was so nice to see him open  up and become more comfortable with us as time went by. 

When he first came, for maybe the first month he wouldn’t take his cap off or make eye contact and now we don’t even know where that cap has gone!  Now he’s so chatty and has really come out of his shell so much.  We know so much about him already and he seems really settled and happy.

If we compare how he was when he first arrived, to now, it just makes us smile.

Something we hadn’t considered was how much we’d learn from him about different things.  Given his age we can have proper conversations and learn from each other.

Getting to know each other during lockdown has been quite challenging with limited options for things to do together, but we’ve just taken an interest in him and the things he likes and just the small things like walking our dogs together every evening, has really helped and has been a great icebreaker.

We can’t wait to take him on holiday, do more fun stuff together and see him experience new things that he’s missed out on in the past.

If anyone is thinking about fostering, we really recommend speaking to your employers about the support available.  We were surprised at what was available for fostering, we get carers leave and if we need to take time out for a meeting, they are very flexible.

We’ve told people, that it’s by far the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done.  It’s definitely worth looking into.”

If you’re interested in fostering with Liverpool City Council, you can find out more at www.fostering.liverpool.gov.uk or call 0151 515 0000.