Aimeé is a countywide children’s project worker for the Fostering Recruitment Assessment Team and Therapeutic Fostering Team for Essex County Council. She has worked for the local authority for 11 years and as part of Sons and Daughters Month she shares her perspective of fostering.
I am incredibly passionate about working with children and young people. I have worked within the Special Educational Needs and Children with Disabilities Team and Children and Families Directorate and volunteered during my career with various charities and organisations.
Working with children and young people can be so rewarding. In particular when working with sons and daughters of prospective foster carers. Working through what fostering might be like for them as a family can be eye opening and enlightening. This may sound cliché but I learn something new working with children every time…including interesting lingo!
Supporting sons and daughters through the application process can bring great responsibility in ensuring their views and opinions are heard clearly by parents and professionals. I aim to make sure that any apprehension, worries or concerns raised are addressed and supported pre panel by myself and the assessing social worker in a sensitive manner with applicants. Sometimes resulting in postponement of panel or closing of the application.
The sessions take place within the family home and I use many different resources when working with children, these include board games, books, quizzes, statistics, and generally speaking to one another.
Over the years I have tailored the sessions to support the families that I work with at a pace they are comfortable with and materials which can be adapted according to their fostering needs, i.e. fostering a child 0-2 years, teenagers and asylum seeking children.
I cannot speak highly enough of all the hard work our sons and daughters in Essex put in to making fostering placements work for our looked after children. They never cease to amaze me with how empathic and warm they can be when fostering can bring some real challenges. They are truly amazing!
We have just enjoyed recognising and celebrating their achievements, hard work and successes during the half term week with an event at a trampoline park exclusively for sons and daughters.
I can certainly say that as a team here in Essex we are strong advocates of foster carers and very passionate about the work we do and I am proud to share that our Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team has been shortlisted as finalist for Team of the Year, Children’s Services at the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2016 on Friday 25 November.