Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a foster carer? Or thought about the skills and qualities needed to take on this role?
We want to help answer those questions and show you that foster carers come from all backgrounds and bring a diverse range of life and work experience.
Could you make a child's dream come true? Watch Harry's story:
Our foster carers have taken the time to share their own stories about what it’s like to be a foster carer, describing both its challenges and rewards.
Suzanne Richie, foster carer
I’ve been fostering with Wigan Council with my husband Scott since 2012. Having previously worked in a children’s residential home, I had a great deal of experience in the fostering role. Despite this, I’ve never rested on my laurels and continually strive to further my knowledge and skills.
Scott and I have never ducked away from a challenge and so far we’ve supported over 20 placements. Some of these have been for children with extremely challenging behaviour who would have likely been placed in residential homes if we had not fostered them.
We’re committed to, and driven by, providing safe and stable placements for children who need them most. We also have two young children of our own and so often have to balance competing responsibilities. This does come with its pressures but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We recently supported an eight year old girl who was initially placed with us on a two week interim basis. However, there were subsequent problems with the longer term placement and the girl remained with us for over nine months. This may not sound too out of the ordinary in the context of fostering but the girl had already been in over 10 placements due to her behaviour. This also meant that we were unable to support multiple placements despite this being something we very much wanted to do.
Rather than focus on our own needs we recognised that further disruption and instability would cause untold emotional damage to this girl and we remained steadfast in supporting her to a longer term placement. This meant having to weather a storm of challenging behaviour from the child, as well as the frustrations of our own children.
It’s quite intimidating making the first step and enquiring about fostering, but being a foster carer is so rewarding. We would urge anyone interested in fostering to speak to the fostering team.