Foster care is all about resilience, compassion and having a heart big enough to embrace unknown challenges. For one of Compass’ foster carers in particular — we’ll call her Sue to protect her identity — the journey began just over five years ago. Sue has kindly agreed to share her experience, delving into a day in the life of a foster parent, and discussing the insights she’s gained along the way.
Why Sue Became a Foster Carer
Before embarking on her fostering journey, our featured carer was a close protection officer for years. Her role primarily involved keeping famous people safe and ensuring security at nightclubs. Having this background equipped her with invaluable skills in conflict resolution, communication and maintaining a secure environment – traits that seamlessly translated into her role as a foster parent.
Sue was first inspired to foster through her mother, who has been a foster carer for over 20 years. Her sister also fostered for a while, and watching the positive impact they had on their kids led to her wanting to care for children in need. It also enabled her to receive direct advice which has helped her along her fostering journey.
What Is a Typical Day in the Life of a Foster Parent?
Sue’s day begins like everyone else’s. The alarm rings at 6am to help her prepare for the busy day ahead. Her foster children then wake up around half an hour later, and she begins to iron their clothes and prepare their breakfast as they get ready for school. The eldest then takes the school bus at 7:45am, while the others go to breakfast club at 8.
With the children at school, our foster carer spends her time running various errands. This includes a number of things such as cleaning the house, doing the washing and going food shopping. She then dedicates the after-school hours to cooking dinner, taking one of the children to Scouts, and spending time together watching telly. Once the children go to bed at 8pm, our carer gets some well-deserved rest, as she takes the time to wind down and relax, before heading to bed at 10pm. This schedule may seem overwhelming to some, but for Sue and many other foster carers, every effort is another step towards creating a safer and loving atmosphere for a child.
Who Do Foster Carers Turn to When Things Get Hard?
The journey of a foster carer isn’t navigated alone. Our carer highlights the support she received from Compass, including therapy sessions and a present social worker. In one particular instance, one of her foster children went through an incredibly difficult time after dealing with trauma. Not only did Compass provide her with the help she needed, but they also took essential steps to keep the child safe.
“Compass are good as gold, I have to be honest,” Sue said. “I had therapy sessions with them, the Local Authority was brilliant as well. My social worker from Compass is also amazing. She’s always at the end of the phone if I have to pick it up for anything, she’s brilliant. Yeah, Compass have helped in a lot of ways. They talk to the children if there are any issues, they help me as well with all sorts of different things, telling me what work to carry out, so it’s been really good. I’ve got to give it to them, the Local Authority as well as Compass. They work together really well.”
What Are Some of the Best Parts of Being a Foster Carer?
As is common in most foster parent stories, the highlight is without a doubt getting to witness the children grow and flourish. When asked about the growth of her foster children, our featured carer beamed with pride, with the very topic giving her chills. She told us about how the eldest girl excels academically, and how her middle boy had had a rough start but was recently nominated as Deputy Head Boy in school. Her youngest child has come a long way with their spelling — every story a direct reflection of the profound impact of love and guidance.
In many foster carers real-life stories, you’ll likely hear about similar achievements. After all, although it can often be challenging, foster carers put all of their energy into the kids in their care. From helping them thrive at school, to creating a familial bond, it’s important that every child feels secure where they are.
“The way I see it is everybody comes with some sort of baggage, whether in foster care or not” Sue said. “So you’ve just got to work with that. At the end of the day, you’re in foster care for a reason. So as long as you can provide love and look after them and keep them safe, I think fostering is a very good thing.
Embracing the Role of a Foster Carer
A day in the life of a foster parent is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the power of compassion, and the importance of a stable and loving environment. Through her long journey from close protection officer to loving foster parent, Sue has shown the critical impact of creating a safe and nurturing environment for children in need. This is the heart of what we do at Compass, and we are truly proud of all our foster carers’ dedication to their roles. So if you ever find yourself wondering “what’s it like to be a foster parent?”, our carer’s story encapsulates that reality — a reality of growth, sacrifice and unconditional love and devotion.