Renfrewshire Council

Amy helps foster carers every step of the way

From finding out if fostering is for you, to supporting foster carers through their placements, Amy and the fostering team are always here to help.

Selfie image of a woman with medium length brown hair and glasses Amy Warren has been supporting foster carers for many years as a social worker. She says it's a job where no two days are the same.

"I love working with people that really care, who have big hearts and just want to make things better for children," she said.

"It's always great to hear how they came into the world of fostering and to see their commitment first-hand.

"When a foster carer and child develop a bond, that's important, but providing a safe family base is enough. It might not take away trauma or change the child's behaviours, but you are providing a foundation that will support them to move forwards. It will take time to work through the more complex issues.

"Sometimes it can be harder than you thought it was going to be. But there's lots of support and if you can continue to focus on the positive impact you are having on the child, you will see how even small improvements are helpful. That's stickability."

Amy and the team provide continuous support to foster carers.

"When you register your interest in being a foster carer, you get introduced to the social workers in the fostering team who are with you each step of the way. I really take a lot of time getting to know my foster carers and building relationships with them.

"At first you'll be invited to preparation groups with other potential foster carers to see if you are ready for fostering. Then you will be allocated a social worker, like me, who will visit you at home and get to know you. The process takes about a year on average and it's important to know it can take this long.

"We also encourage foster carers to connect and support each other. Many have found this extremely beneficial. They're there for moral support and can ask each other for advice on certain situations. It's like having a friend who truly understands what you are doing.

"I speak to my foster carers all the time making sure they are doing alright. Once a month, we also have a supervision meeting too. Families see me as an extension of their family and know they can call me whenever there is something they want to talk about, big or small."

To become a foster carer, there are a few basic requirements. You need to be over 21, in good health and have space in your home for a child. Amy explains that on top of that, the most important thing is having a caring approach.

"You need to have a big heart and lots of patience to be a foster carer, but there's training for everything else. Children need to feel part of your family and they also need some extra support from you. One family I work with has a wee girl and they look after like she is one of their own, while being mindful to treat her as an individual. Even though she has different needs from their own children,  she still gets the same level of their attention and commitment.

"You also need to know your limitations and what you can and cannot cope with. Sometimes all it takes it having an open and honest conversation about the way of the world today. It's about understanding what young people do these days.

"Sometimes all foster carers need is to have some information to help them care for a child, other times it's training on things like child therapy, anxiety, wellbeing and screen time."

Anyone can get in touch with the team to ask any question about potentially becoming a foster carer.

"Just get in touch with us and ask us any questions you may have. You can start off with fostering children for short breaks to give yourself time to get used to being a foster carer and we will be with you every step of the way."

To find out more on fostering and if it might be for you, contact the Children and Families team by emailing or calling 0300 300 1199.

You can also read information on fostering and foster care.

Published on Thursday 22 May 2024