We’d like to introduce you to Kim, the registered manager for our fostering agency. As part of Foster Care Fortnight 2021 we want to profile our incredible team and introduce Kim to any prospective carers! So, keep reading to find out more about Kim, how she became a fostering manager and what you can expect working with her.
Hi Kim! Can you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone! My name is Kim and I’m a mum of four, grandmother of seven, and the registered manager for asphaleia fostering, a role I’ve had for over 4 years.
Tell us about how you came to be a fostering agency manager
I started my career as a care assistant. I have always wanted to help people and gravitated towards caring roles. Whilst my children were young I needed work that would enable me to raise them at the same time so I would work nights and weekends and work around family life.
One December, I was on the rota to work Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve! You could call that unlucky and it was tough on my family, but it turned out to be instrumental in my move into social work.
Whilst on one of those shifts, I met a social worker who was doing an assessment for an elderly person. We got talking and she opened my eyes to the fact that social work would enable me to continue to play a role helping people and making their lives better, but without the shift work!
I was about to start nursing training and made the decision to go into social work. I became a social work assistant and studied for my qualification in social work. I had the life experience I just needed the qualification, which I achieved in 2007.
I gradually progressed, became team manager and then a registered manager. And the rest is history, as they say!
What were the challenges along the way?
Studying for my qualification and raising children. Oh and working! It was tough. But I’m grateful for the example I was able to set for them that you can still learn and take a new direction at any age.
I remember telling them when I’d passed my qualification – it was a special moment. It also helped me empathise with them when they were struggling with their school work as I was grappling with my studies at the same time!
What do you love about being a fostering manager?
I love making a difference in a child’s life. Knowing we’re helping to keep children safe and helping them to reach their full potential is incredibly fulfilling. I also love working with our dedicated carers.
What do you love about working for asphaleia fostering?
I love that the agency is embedded in an organisation that provides many services for children and young people. Services that our carers can access without delay. Unfortunately there are often waiting lists and delays to access essential support services for young people in this sector so to have swift access to CSE interventionists, ESOL courses, and mental health support is a huge asset.
asphaleia is very child-focused in their approach and we will always carefully consider matching. I don’t like moving children around in principle so we take great care to match well.
I also love our values and our mission. It’s simple but we’re extremely passionate about it; impacting as many disadvantage children and young people as we can.
What do you look for from prospective carers?
Honesty and a homely environment where there is warmth, smiles, and laughter. We can teach you the skills you need and help you develop to be a great carer. But the starting point is a homely home and people that I’d be happy to leave my grandchildren with.
What can carers on your team expect from you?
I will always be honest with them so they know they can trust me and feel safe in the role. I will be reliable and arrive for appointments as I value their time. We will invest in their development because when carers get opportunities to learn I believe in return children are given stable homes.
A big focus for me also is helping carers work from home and also live from home. It’s a tricky balance at times meeting the requirements for a home environment suitable for fostering, but also being able to be yourselves.
My carers can expect empathy and support from me as we reflect on what they’re doing well and where improvements can be made.
What have been some highlights working at asphaleia?
Achieving a ‘Good’ grade from Ofsted was a big highlight! We worked incredibly hard for that. I’ve got fond memories of the socials we have done with our carers and their families; including a Bake Off event and a BBQ on the beach.
What is your vision for the next few years?
We want more foster care families to join our team. We will always be a close-knit team where everyone knows each other and can feel supported. I also look forward to some more socials post-COVID!!