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Fostering in Essex news

Maria and husband
Full-time mum Maria Ledgerton has been looking after foster children for seven years since the youngest of her two children was 15.

It was a radio interview about fostering on Dream 100 that sparked her interest. Having adopted her niece, now 25, she already had a positive relationship with social services and knew fostering could be the job for her.

Following the interview, it wasn’t long before Maria, 46, and husband Phil, 55, were caring for their first foster child – an eight-year-old girl who, backed by the Ledgertons, has excelled at school.
Foster carer, Paul, with toddler
For more than a decade, South Essex foster parents Paul Ilett and husband Gerry Murnane have changed the lives of children in their care and now they are urging others to give a child a home.

In 2020, up to 500 children in Essex are expected to come into care. Essex County Council needs new foster carers to help change these children’s lives.

Paul and Gerry have seen first-hand how welcoming a child into your home and hearts can turn a young person’s life around. “One of our foster children has been with us for seven years. She’s now 17 and is at college.
Kerry Thacker with family
New mum Kerry Thacker is living the dream, she has a baby, a loving partner, a home and two loving parents… the foster carers who turned her life around.

Kerry, from Dunmow, is now 28 but she was 13 when she was taken into care because her mother, who had mental-health issues, could not look after both her and her younger brother.
Debbie Barker, foster carer
Braintree couple Debbie and Gary Barker had already raised their two daughters but decided their parenting days were far from over.

So, six years ago they turned to fostering and because it has been such a positive experience, they are urging potential foster carers to come forward.

In 2020, up to 500 children in Essex are expected to come into care. Essex County Council needs more foster carers to help transform these children’s lives.
Fostering parents with daughter, Ellie
Many people thinking about fostering are concerned about the potential impact on their own children, and this can act as a barrier to becoming a foster carer. But here at Essex County Council we frequently hear from foster carers that their sons and daughters benefit hugely from being part of the support network offered to a fostering family.

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.”
Statistics to show age of foster carers with Essex County Council. 69% are over 50yrs old
Recent figures released by Essex County Council reveal that foster carers aged over 50 make up 69 per cent of the total number that are fostering through the council today.

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.
Poppy smiling
Poppy Heslop, from Harlow, was left with a massive hole in her life following the death of husband Tony and it was only when she turned to fostering a child that she found a way to fill it.

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.
Darren and Helen with certificate
Inspirational Harlow foster parents who have changed the lives of thousands of children in Essex by opening their hearts and homes have been celebrated at a special awards ceremony staged by Essex County Council.
Kali and Shiv at the awards ceremony
Inspirational foster parents Kali and Shiv, who have two children of their own, won an award for 'Working with Special Educational Needs [SEND] children to have a good life’ at a special awards ceremony.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Essex County Council, flanked by foster parents.
Essex County Council has officially launched its drive to find 100 more foster carers with the start of Foster Care Fortnight this week.