One such case is Ellie Carlin, now 19, whose parents started fostering when she was five.
Ellie said: “I understood mum and dad were doing an amazing thing. It was like having another brother or sister, they felt part of the family.”
In North Essex, 73 per cent of County Council carers who live there are over 50; empty nesters who are using their life experience to look after vulnerable children. Now the council is urging more people like Lorna Broadhead, from Colchester, to come forward.
After going through a bleak period of grief, which included giving up her job as a dental nurse, Poppy started to think seriously about fostering, after a close friend who was a foster carer suggested she would be good at it.