One day I’d love to foster

There are so many different, diverse people out there who could foster and who would be brilliant at it.

Child and Youth Care Worker Mark Pope values his role within our Intensive Fostering Service so highly, that he hopes to foster in the future.

Mark, aged 32, has worked Kibble for over nine years. He initially joined our charity as part of a university placement, while studying Community Education at the University of Strathclyde. Securing a full-time position on completion of his degree, Mark soon moved to support the children and young people within the Intensive Fostering Service (IFS), where he believed his education would be best utilised.

Reflecting on his role as a Child and Youth Care Worker during Foster Care Fortnight, Mark provides an insight into the support he provides to young people.

Mark said: “As key workers, our focus is on the wellbeing of the young people, and Kibble allows us the autonomy to tailor our approach to each individual. For one of the young people I support, it was important that I could meet him before college to ease his anxiety, where he has now near completed his aeronautical engineering course. It has been amazing to see him do so well, and to feel that I have been able to make a difference in his life.

“I’ve supported a range of young people during my time at Kibble, with a few in particular for an extended period time. I feel like I’m a big part of their lives, seeing them twice a week. It can take time to gain their trust and bring them onside, as many of our young people have had a tough start to life. However, the relationships that we build are the highlight of my job, even though they might still joke that they see us way too often.

“We also strive to offer 24/7 support to the foster carers. It is a very tight-knit relationship between Kibble, social care and the fostering family. At Kibble, we are an extra sounding board for both the young people and the carers, and it is a great help to both parties that we can negotiate the best outcome for everyone. We almost offer bespoke training to the carers, since we know the young people so well.

“There are a lot more young people in need of fostering after the financial and emotional strains of lockdown. The misconceptions around fostering are lessening, and we are actively reminding people that there is space for almost anyone to become a carer.

“I can think of so many people who would make a great foster carer. Someone who is genuine, understanding; just a normal person who can understand that a young person’s upbringing is due to family circumstances, and someone who can offer a fresh start. There are so many different, diverse people out there who could foster and who would be brilliant at it. In the future, I would love to be a foster carer once my daughter has grown up.

“When we pair a young person with a carer, we look at commonalities and shared interests, which seems to work well. IFS gives a good platform for youth care workers and foster carers to bring their own abilities and strengths to the table, and to work together to give the best life to the young people in our care.”