Category: Blog

5 reasons to become a Foster Carer in 2021 #whywecare

Foster Care Fortnight 2021 has come at an interesting time. The UK is slowly easing itself out of lockdown but there’s still a lot of recovery ahead.

This is certainly the case with some of the most vulnerable children within our community. Many young people may have been stuck in difficult environments and are now in need of a stable environment. As a result, Foster Carers are in higher demand than ever.

 With that said, 2021 is the perfect time to consider starting your foster journey. Not only because you can make an impact to those who need it most, but also as it’s a great vocation and career opportunity with many more benefits than you may have thought of…

Shape a child’s future as well as your own

Every child you care for will be different. They will come to you with their own range of challenges that you will help them tackle. You will be able to give them a stable environment, helping them grow into better people through your care and support.

There is also scope for further career development into a wide range of areas related to children’s services and fostering. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll have the opportunity to get involved in recruitment events and training to further your own development and help others like you get into fostering.

Work from home

While becoming a Foster Carer is so much more than just a job, it’s important to consider the professional side of getting involved. It is possible to carry on working outside of fostering, we also have many full-time carers.

With COVID-19 highlighting the advantages of working from home, such as time and money saved commuting and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  Fostering allows you to reap these benefits whilst making a difference. If you’re looking for a career where you can welcome a child into your home, fostering is for you.

Access to a diverse support network of fellow carers

As a Foster Carer with Enfield Council, you can rest assured that you won’t be alone. You’ll be supported every step of the way by our team of social workers and other members of the children’s service.

You’ll have access to the large community of foster carers within Enfield and neighbouring boroughs who can help you through your own journey. You won’t just have a child joining your family, you’ll be joining our foster care family.

Expand your family

Welcoming a child into your home will not just have a positive impact on yourself, but on every member of your household. We often see that other members of a carer’s family get a lot out of the fostering experience.

If you have sons and daughters, they’ll play their part in making the new child feel at home.

Variety and flexible fostering options

There are a variety of different fostering options available that could be perfect for your situation. Traditional long-term fostering is perfect if you’re looking for continuous placements with children from a wide range of backgrounds needing stability. However, placements through respite or short-term fostering could be the perfect opportunity for you to get into fostering and provide vital support to parents or long-term foster carers. There are also unique options such as Parent and Child fostering, where you can foster a young parent and their new child.


Want to start your journey into Foster Care? Get in touch today by emailing fostering@enfield.gov.uk or call 020 8379 2831. You can also submit an official enquiry form here. Our team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get started with your enquiry!

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Djahida and Sofiane – what to ‘foster’ means to us

Two lovely images of foster carers Djahida and Sofiane with their three daughters and son.
Enfield foster carers Sofiane & Djahida and family

Our foster carers Djahida and Sofiane have cleverly taken the letters from ‘FOSTER’ to piece together what this means to them over the couple of years they have been fostering with us.

Family is the most valuable and loving part of anyone’s life. As parents to four children, this has been the most rewarding aspect of our lives. We have a strong desire to do what we can to help children have a better future, so we looked into adoption. However, we then heard about fostering. When we found out more we realised this would be a great opportunity in caring for more than one child and being involved in changing the future of more families in need of support too.

Our family is hard working and consistent. Myself Djahida and my husband Sofiane have been dedicated to fostering from day one. Our four children have been a great support and very encouraging too. Meriem is the eldest of our children, followed by Hadjer, Soumeya and then Yahya, the only boy amongst his sisters. Naturally, he gets extremely excited when we foster a boy. An outsider might think that we have our hands full with just our children, but in fact we work as a team to welcome other children into our home and make them feel part of the family.

Satisfaction of becoming a foster family was unmeasurable. We had many doors closed in our face as we do not have a spare room. However, when we contacted Enfield council, this soon changed and everything was made possible. Enfield has opportunities to foster from 0 (new-born baby) to three year olds. Children of this age can share a room with the foster carers and our bedroom is large enough to accommodate this set up. We have had endless amounts of training and support too. This has made us more confident in our role as a foster family and has definitely made us more knowledgeable. 

Time and commitment is what has made everything possible. We take the time to fully understand each child as an individual. We give them the chance to communicate their needs and work hard to meet those. When we had the exciting opportunity of bringing home a new born baby, our children were over the moon. They all wanted to give their time and be involved. This made our family bond stronger, made us more organised and efficient from the experience too. Our commitment to fostering brings happiness to our home, and the satisfaction you get from knowing you are helping to change young lives is indescribable. The work and commitment we put in to supporting their upbringing is always recognised by Enfield council who will always point us to appropriate training where relevant.

Experiences in fostering are endless. Every day is a new adventure. We have made some of the best memories, not only with the foster children but with our own families. We have learnt a lot about each other. We have discovered qualities about one another that we never thought we had. Everyone is very calm, patient and welcoming. Our children love being role models for the children we bring into our home. This can be the little fun things like copying them when it comes to sitting at the table at dinner time or the big sense of responsibility and accomplishment when they see the children happy. We also had the best chance of learning about other cultures so that out foster children do not lose their identity. Not only is this beneficial for them, but very educational for us as a family.

Reward is something we see every day too. It is amazing to see the positive impact that we have on the children. These are things like, giving the children a routine, helping them to eat properly using a knife and fork, washing their hands and controlling a tantrum. These things may seem small to some people, but to us and the children we foster, it is a great achievement. We have had the chance to make incredible changes and sometimes in a very short space of time. A good example was seeing the change we made within a two day placement with a young boy who was afraid of water and refused to have a bath. We came up with a solution to change this and make it a fun experience for him. We did this by having a water fight in the garden, once the young boy became confident with being in contact with water, we were able to bath him with no problem.

Fostering has been the best choice we have made. Making changes and seeing the rewards is something we can never really describe. You have to be a part of it to feel it.  So what are you waiting for. Please get in touch with Enfield Council to find out more and hope to see you soon.

Categories: Blog

Meriem (16) – my essay on why fostering is important

Foster Carers Djahida and Sofiane with their daughters
Meriem front centre

Delinquent. Troubled. Neglected. What do all these words have in common? They are all words used to stereotype and confine youth in the foster care system.

Imagine constantly being surrounded by kids who live with their parents and have people to call mum and dad. But you know you have to go back to a home with people who are just there to help out. This makes you feel self-conscious and ashamed of your identity when you’re really no different from anyone else. Children in care often struggle with the decision of revealing that they are in foster care. They wonder how the person will react after they’ve told them and if they would be treated the same afterwards. Growing up in the foster care system can be difficult, but is nothing to be ashamed of.

The media has always portrayed youth in care in a negative way. They are either poor and disadvantaged children or miracles because they’ve somewhat succeeded. For example, let’s look at the movie ‘Annie’. It’s about a poor and unprivileged girl who succeeds because she was taken in by a wealthy man. Nobody sees that she’s actually tried to make the most of her situation and be the best she can be. 

Did you know that John Lennon, a member of the Beatles, actually grew up in foster care? Even people who are respected worldwide and are looked up to have been in care. This shows that the stigma of kids in care isn’t always the truth. Lennon went through a tough childhood after his mother neglected him yet he still coped with it all and grew up to be in one the most influential boy bands in the world. Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe and Nelson Mandela are others who were also in foster care.

There are over 100,000 children in foster care in England. The reasons for children being placed in care are domestic abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, parent’s medical/mental health, or parents struggling to cope with their child’s behaviour or disability. However, the main reason for children being taken away is abuse or neglect followed by family dysfunction.

You’re probably wondering, what’s really the point of this speech. Well, what I’m going to tell you is why we need the foster care system and how everything would be a mess without it.

The foster care system is stereotyped to be a horrible and monstrous system that rips children away from their parents, when in reality the system actually helps removing kids from the danger of their own home.  Children from new-born up until the age of 18 have been living in conditions that are so horrid you can’t even imagine. No child should have to go through that. Without foster carers where would these children go? They could end up on the streets or worse, be placed into a children’s home, which can be very traumatic for a child. Foster carers provide a safe and loving environment for these vulnerable children so they can have the chance to live how they should have before. These kids haven’t been given an opportunity and deserve to be given one as much as we all do.

I actually didn’t really know much about foster care or what wonders it can do for a child up until about 2 years ago when my parents made the best decision they could have and became foster carers. Being able to bring in babies and children into our home and giving them a chance is the best thing we could ever do. I’ve seen how traumatic life can be for children even at the age of 2 years old. A toddler once came into our care and on the second day of her being in our home, she already called my mum ‘mama’, just treated the word like any other. She came from her house all dirty, she ate with her hands and wanted to sleep on the floor because that’s all she ever knew. My family managed to make a difference in her life and help her change in under a month. That was only one child so imagine all the others who are still in those conditions and perhaps worse. We kids don’t realise how privileged we actually are to be loved and cared for by our own parents. Let’s all be grateful that we’ve got a roof over our heads and can share it with our families.

I hope today I have managed to change your view about fostering, and in the future you may choose to help those children who have not done anything wrong to be in care and give them a chance to live their lives. Thank you.

Kahina and Khaled – Fostering together with our children

Kahina and family May 2020

We always had fostering in the back of our minds but when we became parents to three children we were not sure how that would fit into our lives. At the same time, we were still feeling this strong urge to do something to help children in our neighbourhood who for whatever reason are not receiving the love, care and support they need. We saw fostering as a way to help families and especially the children in those families whilst they access the necessary help to overcome the problems they may be experiencing.

A close friend who also has children had just been approved by Enfield Council. She spoke about the excellent support she was given throughout the assessment including the opportunity to speak to other fostering households already fostering and managing families of their own. She also explained how her children’s views about fostering were explored and taken into account too. This together with details of the ongoing support structure from the fostering service and other foster carers at Enfield gave her the confidence to take her interest forward. This in turn inspired us and made us think that the perfect moment we are waiting for may never come so just go for it. And so we did!

Starting from the very first contact with Enfield Council’s Fostering Service we have always felt supported. We were always kept in contact with and moved through the assessment stages at a pace we were comfortable with. Following our approval our dedicated supervising social worker has been an excellent source of support. There for any questions or concerns we may have and also providing us with up to date information, the sharing of best practice and any recommended training courses relevant to our placements.

This great level of support and training helped us develop very quickly the skills and confidence to meet the needs of the children in our care. So, if we come across any challenges we see these as rewarding opportunities as you work with professionals and the family to meet the child’s needs and find solutions. You get to be very close to the children, even if it’s just for a few days, so saying goodbye is always a sad time but you take comfort in knowing the incredible impact you had and your ability to provide so much more than just stability and a good support system.

We have been fostering now for a few years and cared for several foster children between the ages of 0 (newborn baby) to 10 years old. These were placements for immediate care (emergency), taking over another carer’s placement for a while (respite) and for a specific period until the child moved to a permanent home (short term). We have been really impressed by our children’s positive and accepting attitude to having a number of different children in our home. They get involved where they can, talking and playing with the foster child, so they do not feel lonely. These are wonderful moments and we feel this experience will help shape them into being the kind and caring people we want them to be.

So, we can definitely say fostering transforms lives. Not just for the foster child but for the foster carers and their families too. It would be great if we can have more foster carers in Enfield continuing to make this positive difference. We always encourage people in the borough to consider fostering. We tell them about our amazing and rewarding journey and that they will have the chance to make a real difference to the lives of children in foster care. We also let them know about the great fostering allowances, excellent 24-hour support and fantastic training opportunities. You are definitely looked after and certainly not doing this on your own.

Enfield’s children in care need you so please take the same step we did and find out more about fostering today.

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Thank you to sons and daughters of our foster carers

October is Sons and Daughters Month. We want to take this moment to recognise the vital contribution the children of foster carers make in welcoming fostered children into their homes.

During Sons and Daughters Month, all fostering services across the UK have been celebrating the valuable role children play in ensuring successful fostering placements.

Many people say that the potential impact on their birth children is one of the major barriers to becoming a foster carer. However, as our foster families confirm being part of a fostering family is a wonderful and rewarding experience.

Japhet whose parents have just started fostering, said that he feels he can be someone his foster-brother can relate to, while Vashisht and Sara both spoke fondly of the support network available to families and the enduring friendships they have made. Meanwhile sisters Meriem, Hadjer and Somaya are incredibly excited to have a young baby enter their home.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Achilleas Georgiou, said: “The sons and daughters of foster carers play an important role in making successful fostering placements. Their contribution is valued highly by Enfield Council’s fostering services and we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. If you have considered welcoming a child into your home but are concerned about the impact it will have on your family, come and speak to our team who can talk you through the process.”

Browse the additional pages on our website for more information about becoming a foster carer. You can also subscribe to Enfield Council’s newsletter on education and children’s services.

Categories: Blog

Lee and Sharon – 18 foster children in 18 years

We have been carers for nearly 18 years and fostered 18 children in that time, some for only a matter of days and others for longer. We have cared for children from birth to ten years old and currently have one child living with us along with four of our six children.

We started considering fostering when Sharon wanted a change of career from banking but still wanted to be at home and around for our own children. Our youngest was three years old when we were approved and took our first placement. We had a friend who was a foster carer, which set the seed of an idea,  and whilst already being active in our local community, running a local sports club and being a school governor, we approached Enfield Council to enquire about fostering.

The process was fairly straight forward and very interesting. An initial meeting, some training to start to prepare us for what was to come and then an assessment where we took a look at us as individuals and a family to understand how we could support the children in our care. This was supported by our own dedicated social worker who took us through the process and whilst our own social workers have changed over the years, our social worker is a person who we can talk to and get support from whenever we need it. We can also get guidance and help from the diverse group of fosters carers in Enfield, directly or via regular support groups.

Fostering can be challenging however the rewards far outweigh any difficulties that may be encountered. Seeing the difference in a child that will not have not had the best start and knowing you have helped make that change and set a new course for the child is priceless.

We are committed to fostering as a family; our children, family and friends all play a part to improve the lives of the children we care for. We have also made some amazing friends on our journey so far.

We are using our experience to support Enfield Council’s fostering team to set up some introduction sessions in our home where people we know can pop along on an informal basis to get more information. It will be a great opportunity to ask us and our supporting social worker any questions to help them take that first step towards an amazing opportunity to give children in need a better future.

 

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Phil and Sally’s Amazing Fostering Journey

Enfield Council foster carers go above and beyond to give children and young people a safe and secure home, making a big difference to their lives. As foster carers Phil and Sally explain:

“We do not have children of our own, so it seemed natural for us to become foster carers so that we could help lots of young people by giving them a secure and loving home and being their advocate.

“We have been foster carers for just over a year now. During this time we have seen several foster children stay with us. We take children aged from birth to 18, and whilst some placements may be for a short time, for example to give a parent respite, some children stay long term as they cannot return to their families.

“Being a foster carer does present some challenges, but it is immensely rewarding. The hardest part is letting them go.

“You take a little person into your life, and you help mend them and set them on the road to adulthood feeling loved and valued.”

“In the relatively short time we have fostered we can see how foster care doesn’t just transform the lives of children and young people – it also enhances the lives of foster carers and their families too.”

“It would be great if more people would consider becoming foster carers with Enfield Council, the support we have received from social services is excellent, and our application was brilliantly handled.”

Enfield Council needs to recruit more foster carers who can help bring a sense of family and belonging to vulnerable children and young people, so please contact Enfield Council’s fostering team today and help transform the life of a young person.

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