I began my career working in a residential children’s home as a support worker. It was during this time that I witnessed the vital work that is carried out to improve the quality of young people’s lives. Whilst working as an unqualified worker I completed my social work qualifications (a scheme which DCC also offer). I started working for DCC in July 2017.
My role involves overseeing the in-house foster service for Devon; a service made up of a network of almost 300 foster carers around the county. We are responsible for looking after our foster carers and ensuring they have all the tools they need to provide healthy, safe and nurturing environments to vulnerable children.
We are also responsible for attracting and recruiting additional foster carers to look after the 750+ children currently in the care of Devon County Council – a number which has been steadily rising in the last few years.
In Devon, we have been very successful at recruiting new foster carers and have recruited an additional 50 over the past 2 years. We have been given the tools to do our jobs well and I feel very well supported in my role. We hold celebration events to share our success which is encouragement to staff and new and existing carers.
As a service we value of carers highly and also seek opportunities to say thank you. For example, every Christmas we hire out the Northcott Theatre for foster carers and their families. There are approximately 500 filled seats and it is wonderful to see the smiling faces of the children. Many of these children have had previous unhappy backgrounds, so seeing them in a functioning family unit is very rewarding.
I find my work both inspiring and a real honour. The skills, experience and qualifications that I have gathered over the years now mean that I can make a real difference and help to deliver excellent outcomes for youngsters who are in need of the services that our organisation offers.
The benefits of Working for Devon are excellent also and I enjoy the flexible working opportunities available. I also love working in such a beautiful part of the country.
Fostering Devon is a family and a community made up of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. If you are prepared to open your heart and your home to these youngsters, then you can make a real difference to their lives.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer, check out the Foster Care webpages.