Foster carers and young people, working with Slough Children’s Services Trust, are sharing some of their thoughts about fostering, as part of Foster Care Fortnight. Some of Trust’s Foster carers have produced blogs, to be published over the next two weeks, which they hope will increase understanding around the need for fostering and the rewards it can bring, as well as breaking down some of the most common myths.
Teena Wilcock is a fostering advisor with the Trust.
“Foster Care Fortnight is a great national campaign, which gives us another opportunity to highlight the fact that there are many children in need of a loving home locally. We’d like to thank our foster carers for telling their stories and hope they inspire others to find out more. And, if you are interested, please get in touch for an informal chat with one of the team.”
Mandy Foley, from Cippenham, has been fostering for eight years and wants people to know that you can foster as a single parent.
“I’d mistakenly assumed that I’d be unable to foster as a single parent. How wrong I was! Over eight years I’ve fostered 17 children, whose placements have ranged from one night to more than two years. I’ve had a number of jobs over the years, working in accounts, as a childminder and at a nursery, but fostering is a job that makes you feel proud and is definitely my best one yet!”
Sofia Sattar, from Slough, has been fostering for a year and knows that faith can really help with fostering and is certainly not a barrier.
“I would definitely say my faith as a Muslim has been a key factor, with the sense of community spirit and ‘giving back.’ My current foster child practises a different faith to me and I support her in doing that, with no problems. The best thing about fostering has been having a child join our journey and experience family life.”
Denise Chappell is a mum of three, who runs her own business and started fostering at the age of 24. She is passionate about the impact fostering has had on her own children.
“Being part of a fostering family makes my kids the amazing little people they are. They are kind, patient and they get that we’re not all the same and we haven’t all had the same chances in life.”
Connie James has been fostering with her husband, Keith for more than 30 years and says there’s a lot of support for foster carers.
“My husband and I still foster in our 60s, which helps keep us young, and while we have good health we feel that we can help many more children. While fostering for SCST we have been well supported and feel they are also part of our large family.”
Des and Sam Cox live in Bucks and are keen to emphasise that foster carers, as well as children, really gain from the experience.
“There’s nothing better than having a bigger family and, for us, it’s a chosen family. We’ve been fostering for almost 10 years now and it’s given us so much, really enriching our lives. We’ve grown as people and we see things from a very different perspective.”
Some young people were also keen to share the benefits they’ve experienced while in foster care.
Denesh is 18 and has been with his foster carers for four years.
“They’ve become like family and they’ve changed my life. Thanks to their love and support, I’m now training to become a mechanic.”
Jen is 20 and was 12 when she first met her foster carers :
“They were, of course, complete strangers but I settled in fast and always had my needs met. I’ve never felt alone, have always felt comfortable and always had someone to speak to who will listen. I think being a good foster carer is about being able to build trust and create a family feel.”
The Trust works with some incredible foster carers who really do change young lives for the better, and there is a real need for more people to come forward. The friendly team provides full training, 24/7 support and generous payments. For more information please contact 0800 0730291 or visit www.scstrust.co.uk/fostering. The full blogs will be published over the course of fostering fortnight, which runs from 13 – 26 May.