We have a number of carers living all over the county borough, all with varying experience and skills. They have different backgrounds, and become foster carers for a variety of reasons. Here are a couple of examples of why people chose to become foster carers.
Toby and Jill are both in their late fifties and began fostering eighteen months ago. Jill works shifts on a full time basis and Toby stays at home, having been made redundant two years ago. Their two young adult children have 'flown the nest', one to study at university and the other to work abroad, leaving them with an empty home. They had enjoyed the "interesting" years of their own children's adolescence and this had lead them to embark on their "adventure" of fostering teenagers. Toby and Jill currently foster two brothers aged 13 and 15 years.
"Although still relatively early days, we would recommend fostering. We have been extremely impressed with the high level of support we have received from the assessment stage through to approval and beyond. We are approved for 0-18 year olds but our particular interest is the teenagers because we want to give them the support and understanding they need at this difficult stage of their life and to equip them with the life skills they will require before they go out into the world when ready as young adults. We have good and bad days but we know that we have made the right decision. We hope that we make a positive difference to at least one child's life and in exchange we have a fantastic extended family".
Louise and Katy are a same sex couple and have been fostering for five years. They have a twelve-year-old daughter from Katy's previous relationship. Both work full time so currently offer respite care on weekends but due to an imminent change in Louise's career plus the positive experiences they have had during their five years of fostering, they are due to extend their fostering to both short and long term placements.
"We were extremely nervous at first to even make a fostering enquiry due to our sexuality but we were quick to learn that we had absolutely nothing to be concerned about. The social workers from the fostering team and the childcare teams have been very supportive and the children that have been placed with us have not even made any comments about us being of the same gender. We also had apprehensions about becoming a foster family because our daughter had been used to being the only child and hadn't had to share us with anyone else however we now feel that she has benefited greatly from having other children around. We are all now looking forward to the next stage of our fostering career and welcoming more children to our home and family."