Welcome to Beacon’s Fostering Panel – David, Panel Member

Hello, my name is David Decorte and I am an independent member of Beacon’s Fostering Panel as well being a member of Stockport Council’s Fostering Panel.

Before my retirement I was a youth work manager for Wirral Council and I was involved in the wellbeing and empowerment of young people including looked after children. I hope that my experience in these fields will enable me to tell you how a fostering panel works and alleviate any concerns or fears you might have.

Since retirement I have been involved in several ventures, some are community based, but the majority are to keep myself occupied and from becoming bored.

I started by restoring furniture and making items from reclaimed timber with adults who were in the recovery stages of drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve always had an interest in any type of water-based craft so firstly I volunteered as a skipper on a charity’s narrowboat and then became a voluntary lock keeper on the Peak Forest Canal with the Canal and River Trust. I attempt to play golf, I cycle and sail with my friends and I force myself to go the gym. Retirement is a very busy thing!

The reason I became a panel member was that I still have a desire to make a difference to young people’s lives. I also enjoy meeting with people who display the dedication and commitment that is required for fostering.

Before you come to panel you will have had several meetings with a social worker or an assessor to establish your suitability. The very fact that you have been invited to a fostering panel should imply that your assessor regards you as being suitable as a foster carer.

The first thing to realise is that a fostering panel is not an interrogation but a way for independent panel members to ask you about your background, your reasons for fostering, your aspirations and maybe your concerns.

When I attend a panel, I read the background papers and then I really look forward to meeting the prospective carers.

I, as well as fellow members, will not judge you; we don’t care how you’re dressed or what you look like.

Panels I have worked on are always comprised of a friendly bunch of people, real humans, who will try to put you at ease, always with a warm welcome and a smile. Members realise that this is all new to you and maybe a little daunting. You won’t be asked any questions that you don’t know the answer to and you certainly won’t be tested on anything. The panel wants you to be a foster carer just as much as you too want to be a foster carer.

There may be a few questions from panel members about things your assessor hasn’t quite made clear but don’t worry, we’d normally address those to the assessor rather than you.

I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into who I am together with what to expect when you meet the fostering panel. I look forward to meeting you.

Simon, Beacon Fostering’s Director, commented “It is great to have David on our panel given his experience and knowledge. This is through his wider career and also supporting Stockport’s fostering panel. Being local to the agency is also beneficial in helping us meet and support foster carers from Stockport area, Cheadle, Wilmslow, Wythenshawe and across South Manchester”.

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