Asma was approved as a foster carer in 2007, since approval Asma has cared for a number of young people and has also had one continuous placement. Asma is a flexible foster carer, she understands the importance of being available to accept placements at short notice. Asma has been awarded “Carer of the Year” and is well known to the staff at Sunbeam as someone who is dedicated to the children she cares for.
Asma has raised her own children as a single mother, she has also had past experience of working with children within a nursery setting where she was a play leader, “I was a play leader in a children’s playgroup for many years where I encountered children from all walks of life and also worked with many children who had disabilities or learning difficulties.”
Becoming a foster carer was a natural progression for Asma as her adult life has centred around children and providing love and care. Asma’s own children offered her support and encouragement when she decided to become a foster carer. “The decision to become a foster carer is one that I made along with my family – without the support they have given to me, this really would not have been possible.”
Following her approval Asma took advantage of the training provided by Sunbeam to expand and develop her skills and knowledge prior to her first placement being offered. Asma explains, “we were very well prepared and quite eager to get our first placement. We were given training which highlighted and outlined certain procedures, health and safety requirements and safer caring for young people.” Asma’s first placement is still in her care, they have thrived in this close, loving family and are very settled. Asma and her family have shown a true ability to embrace children in their family unit, they are able to offer them stability, encouragement and love. “
Asma has also cared for a number of other young people and has experienced many different challenges, this includes working with unaccompanied minors. Asma has also been able to care for young people whose ethnicity is different from her own, “Although the placements are matched as close as possible to the carers sometimes, this is not possible. So as a carer, you need to be prepared to care for a child/young person who could be different in terms of their culture, languages and religious beliefs.”
Asma’s own children play a vital part in the home, they are able to offer her practical support. Her children were adults when she was approved and they were also able to take advantage of the training on offer, “My own children experienced a great deal of change which was to benefit us going forward. They are all at an age where they were able to attend training sessions set by Sunbeam, and they feel they have greatly benefitted from this. Everything from challenging behaviour to first aid has been covered and they are always willing to take part in any future training that will become available.”
Asma’s experiences have provided the motivation she needed to become an excellent foster carer, she works well with professionals and colleagues and enjoys attending support groups where she can share and learn with other foster carers. Asma has stated, “Fostering is a rewarding experience as it allows you to actually make a difference for a child/young person. I feel happy being able to make such a difference whether it is for one day or several years. It is hard work and although it can be very challenging at times, ultimately foster carers are blessed with an immense sense of achievement.”