Children standing looking at the sun and text reads, start your fostering dream with Verve.

Verve; another way to begin your fostering dream.

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Verve is proud to say there is another way to begin your fostering dream; it is the Verve way. I am pleased to say that this week has been a good week. We proudly have another foster carer who began her fostering journey with Verve approved at fostering panel. I am delighted because she has outstanding skills and experience in caring for children. Furthermore, the Not for Profit Charity I referred her to are delighted to welcome her to their fostering family.

Finally, thanks to the recent Step-Down foster care campaign, approved foster carers are inquiring about transferring over to Not for Profits. The main reason for moving is their lack of support from their agencies; this leads to frustration and can result in placement breakdowns for children.

Sadly, it was a week we lost one of our own…

It was also a week we lost one of our own as Brenda Blackwell, my friend, mentor and former foster carer, sadly passed away. Brenda’s love for her family, her foster children and subsequently, the daughter she adopted will remain with them forever, and for me, it is the best legacy of all. Rest in peace, my friend.

The dream to foster often takes a long time to become real.

I know the dream of fostering, for many people, is often a dream they have held for a long time. Therefore, it stands to reason, the most significant decision you make as you begin your fostering dream is which agency you choose?

However, to make an informed decision about this decision, we often find we enter a world with much conflicting information. At this point, many become disheartened. Sadly they give up, and it is this reason why I set up Verve Recruitment.

Verve Recruitment aims to build ‘fostering partnerships’ and bust myths to clarify the fostering role and the criteria to becoming a foster carer.

Verve’s approach to foster care recruitment is different; we screen in, not out, and the aim is to match foster carers with the right agency/ charity for them; ultimately, creating a solid fostering partnership.

Eventually, these fostering partnerships will give vulnerable children stability in safe and loving homes with foster carers who have the skills children need.

Verve, for us, every negative becomes a positive.

Out of every negative comes a positive is my mantra in life. Verve has given me the good fortune to meet amazing people who either want to be or are existing foster carers; and the most amazing people who have been foster carers in the past.

I have also met people who, sadly, became disheartened, and, thus, they gave up on their fostering dream.

I understood their frustrations because I had enquired into fostering many years ago; however, the time wasn’t right for me. But, it led me to a path where I became a foster care recruitment officer for an IFA.

At this point, I have to confess, I didn’t know the difference between an IFA, LA or Not for Profit; but very soon, my conscience did.

God Bless you, Brenda Blackwell…

In a strange twist of fate, I also realised my foster care dream; to begin Verve Recruitment after a chance conversation with my Mum’s next-door neighbour, Brenda Blackwell.

One day, I was chatting with Brenda, and I spoke with her about my job as a fostering recruitment officer. I told her that I felt a square peg in a round hole as I had begun to understand the differences between agencies.

Thus, my job had started to not sit well with me, and Brenda suddenly started to tell me how she had been a foster carer in her early life. She and her husband had fostered many children and eventually adopted a little girl, her daughter.

I listened as she lovingly spoke about how fostering was back in the days; I had known this woman for years, and yet she had never said anything.

Brenda was typical of many foster carers; she quietly put others first…

And yet, Brenda is typical of many people who foster because it was never about her. She quietly went about her life getting on with it and putting others first. However, Brenda was no pushover.

God helps anyone who came between her and her adored children and grandchildren, she stood no-nonsense, and she loved them; thus, they adored her back.

I told Brenda how wonderful she was, but she said to me, no, you are wonderful for what you do. Why don’t you do this on your own and set up in business yourself; you can do it; you’re not an idiot!

Her words were harsh; however, she said it in such a loving tone, and I looked at her and thought, you know what, I will. Realising my dream enables me to help others realise their dream of fostering and follow the legacy of amazing foster carers of the past.

Rest in peace, Brenda; you are and always will be wonderful.

Verve, I only recruit for the Not for Profit sector.

I knew that there was a better way of recruiting, and it was the Verve way. So, I left my job with the IFA; I cashed in my pension at 55 and set up Verve Recruitment.

However, I would only recruit foster carers for the Not for Profit sector; ( did I mention I used to work for an IFA?).

Through campaigns and ads designed on social media and, before COVID, getting out into the community, I started to recruit people who wanted to begin their fostering journey in my way.

So, instead of screening people out as foster carers, I quietly listen as they share their motivation to foster children to understand their fostering dream.

Verve, I understand your fostering dream.

The first initial contact call to foster is often a call many people have waited to have for a long time. Subsequently, nerves often get the better of them, and they mess up purely because they are anxious, and sadly, they won’t answer a call from you again.

The pressure of that first call is too intense, and this is especially true for people who often put others before themselves; as usual, they are the ones who quietly get on with it and get the job done.

However, they are not people who shout about themselves, and they don’t need to; their life experience and skills in caring for others speak for them.

The first initial call to begin your fostering dream is to enable me to get to know you. I want to understand your motivation to become a foster carer and gain knowledge of your skills and experience caring for children.

Ultimately, the more I know about you, your family and your desire to foster, the better I can represent you and find the Not for Profit charity that I feel reflects you.

Verve, therefore I respect your fostering dream.

Often I speak to people, and they are exasperated with the whole fostering recruitment process. These people usually have exceptional, caring skills, and you know they will become outstanding foster carers, but the process is too much for them.

When our paths cross, I make it known I understand their frustration; they want to begin their fostering dream; however, the recruitment process has turned into a bit of a nightmare.

So, at this point, Verve goes the extra mile, and if it takes a bit longer for me to find the match, then that is what it takes because we cannot lose potential foster carers with experience in caring for children.

Sadly, there are too many children waiting in care, and it is the need for foster carers why our paths have crossed; we can’t let them down; it is simply too important.

So, I quietly get on with it to find the right charity for you.

Verve does not rush the fostering process, and nor do the Not for Profit Charities we represent. Taking time enables strong fostering partnerships to establish and grow, which ultimately leads to less likelihood of your professional relationship breaking down.

As a result, less possibility of children’s placements breaking down. Simply, Verve aims to foster partnerships to provide consistent love and support to vulnerable children when they need it most.

Verve and Sarah. A shared ethos for Not for Profits.

I pushed a leaflet through Sarah’s door, inviting her to a recruitment event in my local pub. We are a friendly crowd in my community, so the pub’s ‘best room’ was the obvious choice for people to get together and have a chat about fostering. Sadly, Sarah didn’t make it to the pub, but she rang me the next day and explained she had worked a late shift; however, Sarah had seen the leaflet on the mat when she got home.

The leaflet said ‘Not for Profit Fostering Charities’, and it was this sentence that had caught her eye. Sarah explained she was interested in the Not for Profit way; could I visit her at home? I visited her the next day, and Sarah explained that she had already been speaking to an IFA; however, she felt they weren’t the right match for her.

Sarah couldn’t explain why, but her feelings were strong about businesses that profit from children in care. It didn’t sit well with her, and therefore, she felt the Not for Profit Charity suited her best.

Sarah; taking time to get it right.

Sarah has an extensive career supporting children of all ages in residential care, and it became very apparent to me her genuine passion for supporting children.

She told me that fostering was something she had wanted to do for a long time, and the leaflet on the mat from Verve led our paths to cross. However, our mutual ethos for supporting Not for Profits ultimately led her to begin her fostering journey with Verve.

Sarah told me she wanted to offer respite initially and get a feel for fostering before fully committing herself. We described it as dipping your toe in the water, or as often quoted, try before you buy!

Sarah had already spoken with her two children about fostering, they were now grown up, but they had been telling her for years to become a foster carer. However, Sarah chose to wait and take her time.

Sarah is a calm and logical person; she is very much her own woman who would decide when the time was right. And, true to form, she was in no rush, and she took her time and did it her way.

Throughout our conversation, I knew the Not for Profit charity I felt was the right one for Sarah; and it was Caritas Care in Preston.

Caritas Care creates ‘outstanding’ foster care partnerships.

Caritas Care is a not-for-profit charity based in Preston representing the Lancashire region, including where Sarah lived. This distance between them is significant; I know how much Caritas Care prides itself on getting to their foster carers if they need help urgently.

Also, I thought her career and life experiences, especially in children’s residential care, would be of interest to them? Potentially, they were a good match and could create a powerful professional fostering partnership together.

So I screened Sarah and sent her anonymous profile to Rebecca Hughes, Fostering Service Manager for Caritas Care, for consideration.

Maybe Sarah’s experiences could help Caritas Care to promote Step Down Foster Care?

Rebecca read Sarah’s profile and could see that Sarah was genuinely motivated to foster children. Sarah also had skills and experience supporting children in residential care to enhance their outstanding services further.

Maybe Sarah’s skills and experiences would help Caritas Care facilitate more Step Down Foster carers? I had never heard of StepDown care until Rebecca spoke to me about it. It was not something we offered as an agency I previously worked for. However, it was not surprising as they also owned residential children’s homes.

Subsequently, Rebecca gave me the seeds for a future campaign; Step Down foster care. For me, the transition for a child who has lived in residential care and ultimately begins to adjust to living in a family home; has to be the most important foster care for them.

Sarah became approved as a foster carer with Caritas Care ten months later. The fostering partnership Sarah and Caritas Care created have enabled Sarah to share her skills and experience of children’s residential care; she now provides training in Step Down Care for Caritas Care foster carers.

Thankfully, this campaign brought forward to Verve three outstanding foster carers who specialise in Step Down care and thus, they’re looking into transferring to a not-for-profit charity!

Verve, creating another way in foster care recruitment.

The path that leads us to where we aspire to have twists and turns; however, we usually get there by connecting with like-minded people. These often chance meetings become the framework of our lives, and they create strong partnerships that can influence our lives and those we meet along the way.

As with all things in life, the relationships we build are only as strong as the team behind them; and this is why I work with Not for Profit Charities.

Every charity I work with have a dedicated team of people who don’t make a lot of noise; they quietly get on with putting others first and ensuring that every child in their care has equal chances in life.

Subsequently, when these partnerships grow stronger with like-minded people with equal passion for supporting vulnerable children, we create a world for a child who has lost trust to believe in us again.

Trust is lost for many children in care because the people they trust to look after them continually get it wrong. It is not arrogance that leads me to say there has to be a better way; I say it because I care.

Find out more about fostering with Verve.

If you would like to find out more about Verve Recruitment, who we are, and we do or want to have a chat about fostering, please get in touch. Fill in the form below with your details, and I will call you back.

There’s no cost and no commitment, just honest advice to establish you and your fostering dream and, hopefully, connect you with a not-for-profit charity to create your fostering partnership.

Many children in care are waiting for foster carers who quietly get on with it. Why not quietly get on with it and find out how to begin your fostering dream with Verve?

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