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Shona Shares her Experience of Working & Fostering

Shona, 34, is a primary school teacher, and alongside husband Andrew, she’s been fostering since 2020. Shona loves fostering, and balances working full time alongside raising her two foster children and her birth son.

January 23 2024 - 4 min read

There are lots of lovely children who need a loving family. It’s all about accepting the children for who they are

Over the last few years, the number of foster carers across Scotland has been declining. In 2022, more than 400 households deregistered as fosterers and the number of new families signing up has been declining year-on-year which means there are fewer foster homes for children who need a loving home.

Shona, 34, is a primary school teacher, and alongside husband Andrew, she’s been fostering since 2020. Shona loves fostering, and balances working full time alongside raising her two foster children and her birth son.

Based in Glasgow, Shona’s family has a wonderful dynamic, she believes that there needs to be more awareness around foster care in the community to make a difference to Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people, she said: “People often think children go into foster care because they can’t behave but in reality, it is often through no fault of their own.

“There are lots of lovely children who need a loving family. It’s all about accepting the children for who they are regardless of the baggage they are carrying and giving them an opportunity to grow without judgement.”

Working and fostering:

Alongside fostering, Shona also works full time as a primary school teacher which she loves. She’s found that a career in teaching provided her with transferable skills which have benefited her as a foster carer. She said: “I think both jobs complement each other, for example, the training that I do at school helps at home and likewise, the training I receive as a foster carer is really helpful at school.”

Organisation is key as a teacher, a mum and a foster mum - and arguably more so when you’re doing all three. “I like to plan things ahead. We have a calendar on the wall with each person’s schedules. It’s all about being organised and planning in advance so you know what’s coming up,” Shona said.

As Shona demonstrates, when you get the balance right, working and fostering can be harmonious. According to The Fostering Network’s State of the Nation Foster Care Survey, of the 287 Scottish fosterers who answered the question, 36.2% of foster carers work full time, part time or are self employed alongside fostering. Working and fostering isn’t right for everyone or ever looked-after child - but your fostering team can help you make an informed decision.

A strong support system:

Shona has a great support system in her husband, Andrew, the team at Fosterplus, and her family and friends. The couple complement each other’s schedules and strengths to run their household.
“Our social workers have been there through the whole process. They are always at the end of the phone and you know that they will always support you with anything you need.

“They also host regular days out, parties, and celebrations for the children such as Halloween and Christmas parties, summer events and many more. At these events, you get to know other foster carers and develop a network of people who are going through the same things as you.”

According to Shona, having a ‘good support network’ is vital. She said: “I think it’s expected of you to take on all the responsibilities once you become a foster carer, but it doesn’t have to be all on you all the time. Grandparents and my sister treat my foster children as their own and always find a way to help out… As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and that’s never been so true!”

Shona’s inspiration: 

Shona’s mother was a foster carer for almost 18 years before she was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer. She was fostering the two boys currently in Shona’s care but luckily Shona and Andrew were there, taking on the role of foster parents when Shona’s mum sadly passed away.

Fostering is a rollercoaster ride and there are several bumps along the way but Shona said: “It’s the little things that are most rewarding because you can see how far they’ve come.”

Shona encourages anyone who wants to take up fostering to go for it. She said: “As long as you are realistic with what you’re taking on.

“I think it is an alternative way to have a family and to give something back. It is such a fantastic and rewarding thing to do!”

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