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A day in the life of Fostering Recruitment Officer Gemma

Here at Unity Foster Care, we’re a small but determined fostering agency. We pride ourselves on really getting to know our foster carers, making sure their fostering experience runs as smoothly as possible, and letting them know we’re always on hand to support.  

When you enquire to find out more about fostering, your journey begins by speaking with our Fostering Recruitment Officer, Gemma.

We sat down with the lovely Gemma to find out more about what a typical working day looks like for her.

Hi Gemma! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Gemma, and I’ve been the Fostering Recruitment Officer at Unity Foster Care since September 2022. Prior to this, I worked in the NHS and private healthcare sector, theatre scheduling and working closely with consultants. When this opportunity came up at Unity Foster Care, I was excited about working in a whole new way, being out on the road and learning. At home, I have two teenagers and a fabulous dog!

Can you tell me more about what your role involves?

I am responsible for recruiting new foster carers and handling any new enquiries from people who may be interested in fostering with Unity Foster Care. I work closely with these people through the whole process, right from the start of the first phone call, to when they become a foster carer, assigned to their Supervising Social Worker,  All new enquiries come through to me. I make first contact, have an initial chat with the individual, then I book and attend a home visit, going through the application packs, before assigning an assessor. 

What does a typical morning look like for you?

My mornings usually start with going through all the new enquiries that have come through overnight from people interested in becoming a foster carer. This is can normally be anything from one to 12. I don’t tend to ring people too early, so I normally start calling people mid-morning. I tend to ask those who’ve enquired, a couple of questions to get to know them a little better and explore their next steps.

What does a typical afternoon look like for you?

As well as bringing new foster carers onboard, I am involved in the retention of existing carers, so I often get together with the Unity Foster Care management team to decide who needs a retention visit or additional support.

I work closely with the participation team too, so I get involved with events and supporting wherever I can. This includes working on the Children’s Achievement Awards, which will be taking place later in the year.

Throughout the week, I’m continually responding to enquiries and questions from current and potential foster carers.

What do you like most about your role?

I love helping and the fact that I am playing a tiny part in the turnaround of a child’s life.

The best part about my job is doing home visits. On average, I make about two to three home visits a week, working around foster carers and being as flexible as possible to make things easier for them.

I also enjoy working with people who are so passionate about the same thing. Everyone is really driven, and it’s infectious to have those kinds of people around you.

What’s the most challenging thing about your role?

The most challenging thing sometimes can be getting through to people. I work very flexibly, including some weekends, to make things easier for the foster carers and potential foster carers. However, not all online enquiries answer the phone. It can also be challenging when I receive enquiries from people who haven’t done their research, or if they haven’t disclosed everything during the application process. For example, one person may be keen to foster but then you find out their partner doesn’t feel the same way.

Any positive stories to share?

Recently, my first recruits were approved. This was a nice feeling because three that I’d brought through from start to finish were approved. Then, another couple were choosing between Unity Foster Care and three other agencies, and I was delighted to find out they really wanted to go with us.

Any advice for someone considering fostering?

Do your research. Find out exactly what fostering entails and speak to your family to make sure you have that extra support. It’s also important that foster carers are prepared to work collaboratively with the fostering agency, and that they keep that in mind from day one.

The great thing about Unity Foster Care is that we really do get to know our fostering community, so you can be confident you will be well supported. We know our foster carers so well that we even know how they take their tea!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to work hard and play hard, whether that’s socialising with friends or watching Netflix. I also enjoy family holidays.

Our team work hard to find the perfect placements for each child, and continue to expand every day!

Becoming a foster carer is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding roles you can take on, but we understand it’s a big decision to make. It takes a kind, caring and patient person to be a foster carer, and our amazing team work hard to provide a safe space for children across Yorkshire and the North East!

Interested in becoming a foster carer for children in your area?

Get in touch, and speak to Gemma!

Children and young people are at the centre of everything we do at Unity Foster. Our aim is to have a positive, lasting effect on children’s lives and to work in partnership with parents, the local authority and other agencies to ensure we achieve the desired outcome for the child or young person.