Many people don’t realise that they could be the perfect person foster a young person with Royal Greenwich. You are eligible to foster with our borough once you have turned 18, as long as you show you are mature, able provide a nurturing, stable environment and have a spare room. Foster carers can be mixed or same sex couples, as well as single people (with or without children).

Here are some stories from real families who have successfully fostered with us.

  • A white, Christian married heterosexual couple.

    "As a couple, we felt confident that we could offer children a positive experience of being in a family environment, seeing how healthy relationships function at home between adults and children. We wanted to provide a safe and secure home for children and young people who couldn't live with their families by becoming foster carers with our own three children.

    "My partner and I have been fostering for three years and have experience in a range of placements. These include: - emergency placements, where a child has come to stay with us at very short notice, and for just a few days - short-term sibling placements, that transitioned from foster care to adoption - short-term placements that lasted for a number of months - weekend or week-long respite care, which is for children and young people who stayed with us instead of with their foster carer, for a planned period of time, when the need arose

    "There have also been periods of time where we have not had any children living with us, waiting to see what might arise. These have been some of our most challenging fostering experiences so far because there is so much need for flexibility and willingness to agree to placements that don't actually end up materialising!

    "We are a white British Christian family within a very diverse community and have had children from a variety of ethnicities and faiths come and live with us. We chose Royal Greenwich because we wanted to support their work in caring for children and had heard about the good training and high levels of support they offer. Since joining their team, we have found this to be true.

    "To be approved as foster carers, we underwent a rigorous and demanding assessment and training process, with the required level of disclosure that we expected. We enjoyed building a relationship with our social worker and felt increasingly confident that, as she got to know us, she would be in a great position to advise and support us through the process.

    "There were weekly evening preparation groups that we found really informative, giving us good insights into: - what fostering would involve - what would be required of us as a family - the changes we would need to embrace - the kinds of issues we would need to become more aware of once we were looking after children who were not our own

    "They also gave us a chance to connect with other foster carer applicants, and this has led to friendships with foster carers who have continued to encourage and support us after approval.

    "It has been good to get to know carers with much more experience than us across the fostering community and we are able to seek their advice via the Greenwich Foster Carers Association (GFCA) WhatsApp group and support groups. The annual training programme continues to sharpen our skills and knowledge and enables us to explore topics that are of particular interest to us.

    "Ongoing support from social workers has been very helpful in our experiences as foster carers. The monthly supervision sessions are a good way for us to keep in touch with how things are going, even in periods where we have not had any children placed with us. A lot of empathy has been also demonstrated when we have chosen to take a break and prioritise the needs of our own family."

  • A heterosexual couple.

    "David and I have been foster carers for almost five years now and we are active members of the fostering community. We have cared for babies through to teenagers. Our Mockingbird hub was launched in February 2019, with eight ‘satellite families’ who have mainly pre-teen children.

    "As hub carers, our main task is to provide emotional and physical support to our satellite families 24-hours a day, seven days a week. We have one day off a week and one weekend off a month. We see our families regularly and are on hand for all emergencies relating to their foster child. We do not take over but work alongside our families to give emotional support and advice at what can be a very tricky time.

    "The Mockingbird Family Model is about relationship building and we do this by meeting together once a month for some ‘Mockingbird family time’, which is usually on a Sunday. This time can take many different shapes; for example, one week we could have a discussion about hygiene and, in particular, the importance of keeping clean, or a discussion about the qualities of a good friend. We usually play a couple of games and the children and carers have an opportunity to share any good news they might have. This is followed by sharing a meal together.

    "Once a month, we have a children’s activity which could take the form a fun day out, cultural learning (such as a visit to a museum), or a craft and play day session in our home, so the children have opportunities to make and build friendships. The adults meet for a monthly coffee morning, which may involve training, discussions, or sharing good practice.

    "Children often come over for sleepovers so that we have an opportunity to build a relationship with them and they have an opportunity to spend time together, building their relationships. Our constellation is still in its infancy, but as time goes by we hope our ‘Mockingbird family’ will grow stronger in relationship and trust.

    "We are enjoying our journey as hub carers because it gives us an opportunity not only to make a difference to our own placement but also to the children in our constellation."

  • A single foster carer.

    "I am a single carer with a 19-year-old daughter living at home with me. As a foster carer, I am a baby carer; this means I look after babies from birth, going up to three-year-olds. I don't have a spare room, so babies sleep in my room, where I have two cot beds, so I can take care of twins or siblings when it’s required.

    "Before becoming a foster carer, I worked as a nanny for 28 years; I decided to go into fostering as nannying had lost its sparkle for me. I felt fostering would be so much more rewarding (and I love a challenge) and that is exactly what I have found. All through the good times and the bad, it’s extremely rewarding.

    "My supervising social worker is great, and I feel we have a good working relationship; she is very supportive. I belong to a ‘Mockingbird hub’ (which I have only just joined) I have been very impressed with it so far.

    "The hub carers I am working with are really supportive; we get a weekly call, monthly coffee mornings, and one Sunday a month we all get together with our placement children and do an activity. I don't have a placement at the moment because my baby moved to his ‘forever family’ (adopted) last week.

    "I have been fostering for nearly four years now and have moved two sets of twins and a baby into adoption, and the transitions were amazing...heart-breaking for me but wonderful for the new parents and babies. The adoption team do an amazing job of planning the children’s move and it works so well.

    "Royal Greenwich has support groups to meet every foster carer’s needs and I found the training very informative. We have the Fostering Task Group and I love doing this as you get to help other carers out with children of different ages and it's just a nice change when you are a baby carer. I absolutely love the highs and lows of fostering and the support you get from fellow foster carers and anyone in the fostering team is exceptional."

  • A mixed heritage married couple.

    "My name is Maria, I am married Robert and together we are full-time foster carers. Robert and I are one of four Mockingbird hub carers in Greenwich. We started fostering for an independent fostering agency (IFA) in 2012, before we transferred to Royal Greenwich in 2018.

    "We chose Greenwich instead of other boroughs closer to us because we looked after one of their young people and the fostering team we worked with gave us good wrap-around support that made sure the young person’s needs were met. Also, the support we got from Greenwich gave us the tools needed to keep the young person safe in our care. So, when it was time for us to move-on, we decided on Greenwich.

    "The assessment process was daunting, but the team worked with us and they were very thorough. When we heard about the Mockingbird Family Model we were very excited because the concept is so similar to how we raise children in Africa and most parts of the world. Back home, as an individual, you don’t raise your children by yourself. The concept of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is a practice that is common everywhere you go.

    "So, when I heard about Mockingbird, it resonated with me. Not only did the concept take me back to days as a young person growing up back home, or as a young mother bringing up my children, the concept is also similar to the system we use to reach out to the grassroot members in my church, whereby the needs of both old and new members can be met.

    "Our Mockingbird constellation is unique because we have the children’s home linked to us as an adoptive family and we also have several fostering families who we provide support to. To be honest with you, we were terrified when we were informed that the children’s home would be part of this constellation, as we thought the needs of the young people would be so high that we wouldn’t be able to manage - but I tell you what, the children’s home has been a blessing since we launched!

    "Before we launched the constellation, I shadowed some shifts at the home to get to know the young people. All members of the team and the manager have been amazing and have been a rock to this constellation. They host us once a month, for our coffee morning, with the young people setting the table before we arrive and baking us cakes and brownies. What else can you ask for?

    "Getting the young people to engage with the group activities within the hub was a bit slow at first; as we all know, teenagers love to do their own thing. So, as a hub, we started taking the activities to the young people at the home and they did engage. We provide basic life skill sessions, like baking, cooking and needlework, and we have been surprised at how interested they are in sewing!

    "It was interesting to see teenagers show interest in small things like stitching clothes when they get ripped or stitching a button when it comes off a shirt or a skirt. These are basic things we do as adults and its important they know how to do these things because one day they will grow up and live independently."

  • 21, daughter of a foster carer

    "I’ve grown up with my mum, happy healthy and safe. You can take that for granted until you see the other side of it - when you see children that do need help. It’s quite sad, but being this side of it and with fostering you can help, you can help make that child’s life better. It’s nice that we can be a part of that, that we can see them grow every day.

    "It’s definitely eye-opening, because obviously with fostering you get all these young children in care and you don’t realize that these things actually go on.

    "It’s literally only ever been me and mum in the house, so to then have another child - and she was just a carer - all of a sudden it got very noisy and very busy. It was quite weird having a little person to look after.

    "You take things for granted growing up. Not that I’ve always got everything I’ve wanted, but having these little ones, you don’t take things for granted as much because not everyone can have what I had.

    "It’s important to have a lot of conversation. We spoke a lot about it, and mum wouldn’t of done it if I wasn’t happy to do it. Even when we have got placements, mum is always checking I am ok. Communication is key."

We are lucky to have a diverse population in our borough and this is reflected in the young people who need foster families. We place great importance on ensuring a child has a sense of belonging and cultural identity in their new home, so individuals from a range of backgrounds are invited to apply, so we can match ethnic, religious, language, social and cultural needs.