A day in the life of Fostering Placements Manager Kirsty
24 October 2023
24 October 2023
Olive Branch Fostering wouldn’t be what it is without our incredible team! One such team member is our Placements Manager Kirsty, who is responsible for finding foster families for children and young people coming into Olive Branch’s care.
We spoke to Kirsty, to find out more about this crucial role…
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Kirsty, and I’ve been the Placements Manager at Olive Branch for just under five years. I live with my stepsons, my partner, and my daughter.
I love my job, and I think that what we do for children is amazing.
Can you tell me more about what your role involves?
I oversee all of the local authorities in the North West. There are about 500 requests for foster families every week, and whilst not all will be in the area that we cover, there are still quite a lot to filter down. I try to keep children near to their birth homes, where appropriate, to maintain the connection with birth parents and keep the child in the same school.
The job takes a lot of organisation and it can be quite fast paced. For instance, emergency placements are sometimes needed within the hour. I have a big board in the office, with the names of our foster carers and what they’re approved for, like how many children they can foster. The matching process is very important as we want the placement to work. Culture and religion can be another important aspect to consider.
I love to get to know carers.
Sometimes, I’ll bob my head in on training. After they’re approved, I try to get to know them a bit more. I’ll ring up to get to know more, then I put them on my board and ask what age range would be best suited to their household. The more open carers are, the quicker they tend to get a foster child. If a child has complex needs, they are usually better with a more experienced carer, but every referral is different.
Once we’ve identified a match, I send it over to the Supervising Social Worker to look over and approve. I ring the foster carer about the child and give them chance to ask any questions. There can be a lot of back and forth to make sure the family is right. After I have gathered as much information as possible and spoken to the foster carer, I confirm with the child’s local authority. Once their social worker has approved this, I can then ring the foster carer to say we have a match.
It's important to make the foster child feel at ease, so we send over a carer profile that presents information about the foster carer in a fun way. Depending on the circumstances, we sometimes do introductions to settle the foster child in, like going out for tea, having a sleepover, or going for walks. Then, we have an official transition day, when the child moves in. So, I am part of the process from referral coming in until the child walks through the door. Sometimes I also check in afterwards.
I love to hear stories about the children’s achievements.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Every morning, I have a list. My colleague Ellie and I grab a coffee and highlight priorities on this list, like chasing local authorities on a previous offer, updating carers, and going through urgent referrals. The reality is that we cannot help every single child if don’t have enough foster carers. At the moment, our carers look after around 130 children and young people.
My morning can be quite steady, going through referrals and checking locations, but then it can blow up, with phones ringing about emergencies. It’s often all hands on deck when that happens. My days are really varied, and I do my utmost to help a child, even if it’s in the evening. When I’m not there, I pass things over to the out-of-hours social worker.
What do you like most about your role?
My favourite part of the job is finding out how the foster children have progressed and hearing how they’re succeeding. Our foster carers are changing a child’s path in life, and it’s lovely to see this transition. We also have a beautiful, new office.
What’s the most challenging thing about your role?
Knowing that I cannot help every child can be emotionally draining and stressful.
Do you have any advice for someone considering fostering?
Becoming a foster carer can change a child’s life, providing them with love and support.
The children always tend to keep in contact with foster carers, even when they have moved on to independence.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve got a very close-knit family, and I like to spend time with them. I enjoy playing pool with my brother, eating out, and having game nights. I also like being spontaneous and seeing friends. I also try to have a family holiday every year or every other year, it’s important to be able to switch off.
Could you open your heart and home to a child who needs a fresh start and a safe space to call home?
Get in touch with us today.
24 October 2023