Michelle is changing lives by fostering, could you?
Carers like Michelle Dow often start their fostering careers by offering weekend or short term placements to a child or young person in need.
Foster carers needed
Could you be a short-term or longer term foster carer with Midlothian Council?
A career without the commute
Michelle, who lives in Dalkeith with her five-year-old daughter, says she would recommend it.
She says: “I chose to do short-term fostering at the beginning because I wanted to gain experience as a foster carer and I also thought it might be easier for my daughter than having someone in the house full-time.”
Foster full or part-time
Michelle, who has been fostering now for nearly two years, offered short-term care to a three-year-old girl. She was also caring for two teenage siblings every weekend.
She says her experience confirmed she did want to become a full-time foster carer. She says: “That was always my plan, to start off doing the short-term before moving to full-time foster care.
“I think the best thing about fostering is seeing the young people ‘grow’. The two teenagers I had at weekends have recently been given full-time placements so it was really nice to see them go to their forever home. The hardest part about the job is saying goodbye.”
Michelle wanted to foster after experiencing disruption in her own childhood for various reasons including her mum being in hospital. She says: “We relied on grandparents and family friends to look after us and if we didn’t have that we might have ended up in the care system ourselves.”
She says she gets a lot of support from the council. Like the children in her care, she has her own social worker who visits monthly and who is on the other end of the phone if she needs to talk.
Michelle, who is now fostering full-time, goes to a support group for new carers and attends ongoing training sessions in subjects such as child protection.
The ongoing training will eventually lead to an SVQ 3 qualification in childcare, which carers can then use if they ever want to pursue other roles in early learning.
It took Michelle just over a year to become a foster carer, from first enquiry to panel approval.
She says: “There are challenges but I’d really recommend it.”