It’s been over a year now since Pauline Price was approved as a Foster Carer for Knowsley and she’s packed a lot in to that year. Being a Foster Carer was something Pauline had always wanted to do and after she sadly lost her husband, Pauline decided it was time she should look into it more. “It felt great when I was approved,” Pauline told us, “it was something I’d always wanted and I couldn’t wait, I had a fleeting moment of thinking ‘what am I doing’ but that soon passed and I was filled with excitement”. As many of our new Foster Carers will have experienced, Pauline received a call to see if she could look after a child soon after she received the letter to confirm that she was a registered Foster Carer. Introductions were soon made between Pauline and the child and Pauline describes this as the moment she knew it was right. “He came for a few hours so I could get to know him. He stood at the end of my path and said ‘Are you sure we’re at the right place’ to his Social Worker. He was thrilled when he saw that I had a dog ‘Jaz’ and he soon started telling me about his toys. We went to the toy shop and he picked a toy for £3 and he was just over the moon with it.”
A year on and Pauline is still as happy as ever, there have been difficult times but Pauline tells us she loves being a Foster Carer.
So what are five important things Pauline has learnt in her first year ?
Support is everything; I’m a single carer so I call on my family to help me when I need it. They have been great offering advice about how to handle situations and I know I can always speak to my Social Worker and ask her for any advice. I enjoy meeting other Foster Carers, their support is always there and it’s nice to hear from them about how they’ve experienced similar things and how they’ve handled them. Training really is worthwhile. I’ve enjoyed training that I didn’t realise would be useful, such as the Health Day. Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that Looked after Children will have different health needs and this gave me great insight into this. I also enjoyed ‘Preparing Children for Adoption’ training; I haven’t moved any children on for adoption yet but feel well equipped after attending the course for when I do. Temper tantrums are a learning curve. They’re probably the only negative thing about looking after children, especially as I hadn’t experienced them before. They’ve reduced a lot over the year because we now work together on other ways to express how he’s feeling such as our ‘find the words game’ where he has to think of the words and pick them out of the air to tell me what his anger and helps him express his feelings. How to see the world again through the eyes of a child; Watching him discovering new things and experience something for the first time is wonderful. I love seeing him so happy, it’s given me a new outlook too. He danced on the stage with Diversity whilst we were on holiday and I was filled with so much happiness seeing him enjoy it. Memories are everything. Making memories with a child is the biggest reward about being a Foster Carer.
We’ve packed so many fun things into this year. From baking cakes to seeing him learn to ride a bike, every day is special. Seeing him ride without stabilisers was wonderful because I was watching his confidence grow too. I share these things with his family and they are so proud of him and enjoy being able to see him.
Pauline’s words of wisdom to new Foster Carers are: “Stay Calm. Listen to what the child is telling you - more often than not they aren’t telling you with words, they’re telling you in other ways, so don’t just listen with your ears.”