Three placements now under our belts and they were all under 5 years old, which we were happy with. We had talked about moving for a long time and we decided that now would be a good time to upgrade and buy somewhere bigger. The question was where? We spoke to our Supervising Social Worker and explained what we were thinking. Working for a Local Authority meant that we would be limited to where we could move to. We would have to think seriously about our next move. Then, out of the blue we received a call from somebody we had been part of our training team. He had left the Local Authority (LA) and was now working for a small Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) as a Training and Recruitment officer. He asked if we would be interested in moving to the IFA. He explained that training, support and finance would be a lot better than with the LA and, as IFA Foster Carers we would be taking placements from anywhere around London as the IFA had arrangements with a number of Inner and Outer London boroughs as well as County Las around the M25. It didn’t take long for us to decide to take the step from LA to IFA and we then had to go through the procedure to transfer, which was quite straight forward and was handled very professionally. We were introduced to our Supervising Social Worker and it meant we could then focus on moving. We had found a lovely 4/5 bedroom house on the outskirts of London and it provided an ideal facility for Fostering and, more importantly, a lovely family home for us and our own children. It took a few weeks to sort out our new home and organise where everything would be.
We had our room, our boy’s room and two rooms for Foster placements. The fifth room was downstairs so didn’t really lend itself as a Fostering room so we put a bed/settee in there with a TV and a computer for the kids to use. It was up to us to say when we were good to go. So after a couple of weeks we spoke to our SSW and told them we were ready to go. Within two hours we had a respite placement on their way to us, a twelve year old boy. He was under an Outer London LA and was of Asian heritage. He was a very quiet and polite young man and made friends straight away with our own boys. They all disappeared into the spare room and played PlayStation for a couple of hours and he was settled very quickly. He had no on-going health issues, talked properly and seemed very happy. We weren’t fully aware of his background but as it was only respite we were not fazed by this. We had the contact details for his fulltime carers who were LA Foster Carers not with our agency. So we had two weeks with this nice lad and we had him all ready to go when his time was up. We had organised with our SSW the collection arrangements for him but his own LA Social Worker hadn’t been picking up calls and neither had his Foster Carers. So we ended up keeping him for another week whilst our SSW sorted out returning him to his full time Foster Carers. It was quite sad to say goodbye to him but we did end up providing respite care for him on a number of different occasions.