Staff & Foster Care Spotlight: Hayley Roberts

Staff & Foster Care Spotlight: Hayley Roberts

You’re now a PCC employee, can you tell us your role and what you’ll be doing?

My new role is titled Apprentice Social Worker. I will be studying with the Open University for 3 years to gain a degree in social work alongside working for PCC. My time will include co-working with the PCC social workers, learning from their experience and observing their practice. You may see me at visits to your home, or virtually in meetings and training. I will also be working closely with Sunny, organsing fostering promotion events to try and recruit new foster carers to PCC.

Why have you decided to retrain and start on a new path?

I am passionate about people and making a positive contribution to the world. Through my previous job in education and in my role as a foster carer I have met many social workers. Some have been – well shall we say – not great! But many have inspired me and been brilliant with children and families. I will turn 50 this year and decided that for the next part of my working life I want to be one of those inspiring social workers who is good at the job and genuinely cares about children. So I took the plunge and challenged myself to essay writing, reflecting on reading and putting it all into practice!

What are you looking forward to in your new role and what are your reflections so far?

I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning about the law and social work, working with the brilliant staff at PCC and growing the fostering community. Initially moving from the world of education to study social work was a bit of a shock. The pace of life is very different and learning to write essays after nearly 30 years of barely writing a paragraph has been a challenge! I am so happy though and excited about what the next few years will bring as we grow PCC together.

Will you remain as a foster carer?

Mark & I will still be fostering – we are currently supporting three beautiful young people through the end of their care journey and hope to continue to offer children a space in our home when these guys have left. We also hope to be available to support other foster carers with their placements.

Your foster children are young adults now, how have you found leaving care and ’staying put’?

‘Staying put’ has been an interesting journey and whilst there is a lot that doesn’t work with it we have, where possible, used it to the young person’s advantage. Our eldest foster daughter has gone to university. Agreeing a ‘staying put’ arrangement with the local authority has guaranteed her a place to come back to in the holidays and a much needed sense of security. For us the work continues with her; phone calls (sometimes daily), supporting financially, adminitrively, driving/transporting her and of course having some good well earned breaks from Uni at home with our family.

Would you recommend fostering?

Of course! Fostering is relentless and challenging but so rewarding. Our birth and extended family have learned to include, love and give themselves in a way that no training course, degree or meditation app could have revealed. Whilst there have been many difficult times we all agree that we are a better family, a stronger community and have so much to be grateful for from our fostering. Our foster children have become part of us and we struggle to remember life without them.

Foster Care Spotlight: Talitha Day

Foster Care Spotlight: Talitha Day

What made you want to become a foster carer at such a young age?

I wanted to help vulnerable young children. I felt although I was young I had a wealth of experience as my family had foster kids ever since I could remember. I also had a baby very young so I had to grow up and I learnt a lot at a young age. 

What would your advice be to someone who was interested in becoming a foster carer?

Do it and if it doesn’t work out at least you can say you tried.

What has felt like your biggest achievement as a foster carer?

Having two children who were in my care from a hard situation. Watching two adoptive parents adopt them and then transition into a family who loved them. I was able to form a relationship with them and still get updates on them and it’s a beautiful journey to watch.

What do you do when you’re not fostering? 

I like to spend quality time with my daughter as a lot of her time is given to the foster kids too. We like to go shopping, cinema and out to eat. I also a few times a year take some time to travel which I love. 

What was your experience of Mother and Baby placements like?

I have found it very challenging not being able to intervene in the way I would do things, instead having to support a mother figure things out for herself. Unfortunately I have not had a placement where the mother was able to keep her baby and this is quite upsetting. My focus is always what is best for the baby so at the end of the day what is right is for them is the best outcome but it is a hard experience.