We have been working from home for a few weeks now following requirements to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. The kitchen table has become my office – this has its pros and cons as you are nearer the kettle but likely to have a cat wander across in the middle of a Zoom meeting!
A typical day starts with a check through emails, website live-chat, voicemail and Facebook messages from fostering applicants. We attempt to respond to all requests within 24 hours so this is a priority for the morning. Some people are at the very early stages of finding out about fostering but others have done lots of research and have some very specific queries!
We have a short daily team meeting at 9am with my colleagues in the admin and placement teams. It’s really nice to be able to see everyone face to face and check in with them.
First call of the day is to a lady who has 2 spare double bedrooms and is looking to retire from teaching within the next few months. We discussed the possibilities of caring for sibling groups that need to stay together as this is something of great importance for due to her own history of being a child growing up in care whilst separated from her own sibling.
Next is a call to lady who is not sure if she can foster as she is a single person (of course she can!). She has a spare room, works part-time and can work very flexibly from home when needed. She has volunteered in a school and has her own young adult children, so has relevant experience of supporting children. Lovely lady – wanted to have a look at our information brochure and have a follow up call next week.
I then leave several voicemail messages to other applicants and send out brochures if we have their email addresses. We currently have a lot of interest as people seem to be reassessing their priorities whilst at home due to the pandemic and looking at making a change for themselves as well as supporting the children in their community.
One of our applicants has contacted me to advise that they would like some support to access their online application form that we have sent them via an email link. We arrange a time for a call to talk them through it – happy to help!
Several more follow up calls and which, after a brief chat over the phone, lead to 2 potential households requesting a ‘home visit’ for a more in-depth conversation with a social worker from their region of the UK. Usually this would be an actual visit to them in their home so that we can see the fostering bedroom etc but due to current social distancing requirements we are doing this via Zoom or similar!
The rest of the day is filled with follow up calls and admin tasks, but I am in a good routine despite not in the office environment and just carrying on as normally as possible
by Lynsey Dobbs – Senior Recruitment Officer, UK Fostering