Sarah and Jamie are one couple who have seen first-hand the difference that a loving foster home can make for a child. The pair, who live in the Midlands, have worked in care for adults with learning disabilities for years, and were keen to work with children with special needs.
“Our friends started fostering with Credo Care, who specialise in working with disabled children,” Sarah explains. “We decided it was something we’d like to do. We’ve got a stable home, lots of space, a fantastic garden, and we just thought, ‘We could do this.’”
Sarah and Jamie got in touch with Credo Care themselves and got the ball rolling. At first, they were worried that they didn’t fit the traditional foster carer mould, being just 26 and 28 – but they were welcomed with open arms.
Their First Placement
After being approved by the fostering panel, Jamie and Sarah took on their first placement – a four-year-old boy called Darren*.
“He’s lovely,” Sarah says warmly. “He has autism and global developmental delay, he’s very cheeky, loves to be outdoors exploring, climbing and getting wet! He has his challenges – he doesn’t communicate verbally, he just makes noises, but we’ve managed to teach him thank you in a sign.”
Sarah gave up work to commit to caring for Darren, and at first she was worried that she might become isolated away from the workplace. However, she says that her social life has never been so full.
“We have these support groups once a month, where you can socialise and talk about things,” Sarah explains. “We organise to meet up and have play dates with the children outside of that. Credo also offer sessional hours, when a sessional worker will come to our house so me and Jamie can go off and have a date night.”
Darren is thriving with Sarah and Jamie. Due to start at a specialist autism school after the summer, Sarah reports that he’s started making new and different sounds, he’s hitting and lashing out much less and reaches for their hands when they’re out and about.
“Before you go into fostering, make sure you have support – I’m really lucky to have a supportive family,” she advises. “Make sure you get the right agency for you too. We wanted to work with an agency specialising in disabilities. And don’t be scared – at first, me and Jay were absolutely terrified! But it is definitely worth it.”