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Isle of Wight foster mum encourages others to consider fostering

Susan Mitchell has fostered children and young people since 2008. In her time as a foster carer, Susan has worked with several different agencies and local authorities but joined Five Rivers Child Care after moving to the Isle of Wight in April 2021.

Susan said: “I was a childminder for 22 years, but I decided I wanted to give children in need, a home. I had such a lovely upbringing and I wanted to give that to children and young people that really needed it.

“I have twin girls of my own who were around 12 years old when I started fostering. Initially, I did worry about how my girls might be impacted, as my children are my priority, but I went through my assessment and told the fostering provider I first started working with about the type of fostering I was prepared to do. I felt reassured when I learned about the matching process and that each child would be right for my family.

“The assessment period took around seven months and although it was hard because of the amount of information required, at the same time it was a relatively easy process. During that time, I also had meetings and lots of training. It took around three months after passing the assessment before I was matched with my first child.

“The first night was scary because it was a new experience and you want to do a good job, but I took lots of advice from other foster carers about how to handle the first night with a new child in your care. My initial foster placement stayed in my care for around five years and since then I’ve fostered many children and young people including siblings, emergency placements, parent and child placements, refugees, and children waiting to be adopted. I’m classed as a therapeutic foster carer because I’ve undertaken a lot of training in how to talk to a child, how to listen, and about the potential triggers. It’s difficult but I really enjoy it.

“When you’re a foster carer you do mandatory training every three years, such as first aid, but I’ve enjoyed all the training so much that I’ve chosen to do additional training, most of which takes place while the children are at school. This is something that Five Rivers offer, and it has really helped me develop my skills. That’s one of the main differences between Five Rivers Child Care and the other agencies I’ve worked for, the training is excellent. I also work with brilliant social workers and there’s a great network of people that support you and are always there to talk.”

People from all backgrounds and communities can be considered to become foster carers but they must be over 21 years of age. This includes single people, co-habiting couples, LGBTQ+ couples, and people living in rented accommodation. A spare room is also needed for each child.

If you are interested in learning more about fostering, contact our carer enquiries team on: 03452 660 272


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