Dijana, Brighter Futures for Children’s fostering recruitment officer tells us what makes a great foster carer

Dijana has been a dedicated fostering recruitment officer at Brighter Futures for Children’s Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) since August 2020. She has bags of experience in children’s services so we’ve taken the opportunity to ask her what she looks for in a new foster carer.


Firstly, how do you pronounce your name?

Thank you for asking! I always tell people it’s ‘De-ar-na’.


What is your experience with children in care and fostering?

I feel really strongly about supporting young people. I have always felt fuelled to work in children’s services and I care really deeply about young people having good, strong foster carers and solid homes.

At Brighter Futures for Children, I have worked in a variey of roles and in different teams and departments, including the team which works to find foster homes for children when they come into care. This has given me a really good understanding of children’s needs, which I have brought into my role as fostering recruitment officer with BFfC’s IFA. I know how much we need more local foster carers in Reading for the children and young people in care here.


What is the most common question you get asked?

Lots of people want to know if they can foster if they don’t have a spare room…the short answer is no. Every child who comes into care has been through something and they need a space of their own for down-time and to reflect.

However, you can still do something to help! We need resource workers. These are the brilliant people who can help foster carers out by doing the school run, taking a child to have contact with their birth family and being around if, for example, a foster carer is unwell.

The other thing you can do without a spare room is offer short breaks. Now, this isn’t strictly looking after children who are in care. This is actually supporting a family in Reading who have a child with special needs. It means that mum and dad can have a day to recharge their batteries and the young person can have a fun day out and make new relationships.


What is the most important thing you look for when someone gets in touch about becoming a foster carer?

MOTIVATION! I want to know the reason behind why they want to foster. If their heart and their motivation is in the right place, I honestly believe that everything else can be built on that strong foundation.


What other skills and qualities do you think are important in a foster carer?

A little bit of resilience is always good. Being eager to learn…being warm, understanding and getting that every child comes into care with their own story, and that the same is true of their families too. I also really like people who like to see other people do well, whether that’s watching a child develop or encouraging another foster carer. A positive attitude and always being able to bring it back to why they became a foster carer, to do something good for a child.


What experience does someone need to become a foster carer?

I actually think having a varied life experience is one of the best things a foster carer can bring. It is important to be able to bring all the things you’ve been through into the mix. That could be your own parents divorcing when you were young, looking after an unwell family member, having a different cultural heritage or coming out as gay. Or it could be helping someone else through some of these life experiences.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not been a parent yourself, as long as you have had experience of looking after or working with children and can understand different age groups and behaviours. And if someone gives me a call and they haven’t got this experience, it doesn’t just stop there. I can work with them to link them up with local youth volunteering organisations so they can go away and get that experience and then come back to us when they’re ready.

It’s all about motivation more than experience for me.


What would you advise someone to think about before becoming a foster carer?

I would encourage anyone to think about the impact it would have on their family, for example their partner or children, and their life and support network. I think doing a bit of self-reflection is always helpful too.


How would you describe the fostering team at BFfC’s IFA?

I think the fostering team here is absolutely wonderful. There is a lot of collective experience from fostering, across children’s services and on the front line, which means there is a lot of skills and knowledge. None of us lose focus and we keep the child at the centre of everything we do.


What would you say to someone thinking of calling you about fostering today?

Welcome! Pick up that phone!


picture of smiling recruitment officer

Thinking of fostering? Get in touch

If you’re considering fostering, Dijana is just a phone call away. Dial 0118 469 3020 today and speak to her about whether fostering is the right path for you and your family. You can also contact her here and wait for us to get in touch.