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Ruth and Geoff
Essex couple in their mid-60s urges residents to become foster carers, no matter their age.
While thousands of parents and guardians were waving off their young adults to university last month, the moment was particularly heart-warming for Ruth Archer and Geoff Stokes who faced the same milestone in their foster daughter’s life.
Essex County Council is today urging more people like Ruth and Geoff to consider becoming a foster carer. By providing a safe and nurturing environment, Essex foster carers are enabling young people to reach their full potential. For some, that may be giving them stability to concentrate on their studies, and for others, it can be instilling confidence in them to pursue their own happiness.
The couple from Rochford, who have been fostering for two years, credit their life experience to helping their own foster children who have had a traumatic start in life to develop into young adults, helping them to reach their potential and transform their lives.
Debbie
Essex foster carer Debbie urges residents to choose fostering as career, no matter what age you are.

While thousands of parents and guardians were waving off their young adults to University last month, the moment was particularly heart-warming for Debbie Finch who faced the same milestone in her foster daughter Lauren’s life.

Essex County Council is today urging more people like Debbie to consider becoming foster carers. By providing a safe and nurturing environment, Essex foster carers are enabling young people to reach their full potential. For some, that may be giving them stability to concentrate on their studies, and for others, it can be instilling confidence in them to pursue their own happiness.

Debbie from Basildon, who has been fostering for 21 years, credit’s her life experience, her family’s support, and the training by Essex County Council to helping her foster children who have had a traumatic start in life, developing them into young adults. Together they helped them to reach their potential and transform their lives.
Jo in her kitchen smiling at the camera
“Offering supported lodgings has totally enriched my life. I wake up every day and feel alive because I know I am helping young people” - Jo Chisholm
Fran
Children in care have often missed out on their childhood through trauma and neglect, many have also played a parenting role to their younger siblings and parents. Through nurturing and support foster carers can help a child to heal and give them a second chance at childhood. Single foster carer Fran, has been fostering for over 30 years. Fran currently fosters two girls aged 9 and 18. Fran is keen to provide her foster children with nurturing parental support so that they can focus on being a child again.
Fran said: “She had so much responsibility at such a young age. It breaks my heart to hear that she would often resort to begging neighbours for food. She even learnt how to ration food for them, ensuring that when they did have food that it lasted."
Debbie and Alison
Over the past year, there has been much concern across the UK about the impact of Covid on children’s physical and mental wellbeing. They have had disrupted routines, time away from school and missed opportunities to physically interact with friends due to the pandemic. Although only a temporary pause in childhood experiences, there is much concern over the long-lasting impact this period of increased anxiety may have on our young people. It has also highlighted the tragic fact that many children go hungry, unless fed at school.
Susie with her husband and daughter
Susie Williams, has been providing supported lodgings for 6 months to an 18-year-old. She explains why she wanted to get involved.

“Young people in care need support up to the age of 21, so that they have that transition to independent living.

"It’s more than just providing a home and support for independent living though. At that age family support and nurturing is still incredibly important. Especially when they may have suffered significant trauma and neglect or abuse. They need to be nurtured to achieve their goals in the future."

LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week

Wednesday 24 February 2021
Paul
Next week is LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week and we wanted to celebrate our foster carers from the LGBT+ community for the incredible care they provide to our children.

Our carers come from all walks of life, all genders and all ages because we know that what’s important is that they can offer the care, security and stability that a vulnerable child needs.

Read Paul and husband Gerry's story of fostering here.
Georgina, her husband and their daughter Martha taking a selfie
Georgina and her husband have the help of a respite carer, who looks after their disabled daughter for 14 nights a month. Read their story to find out the difference respite carers make to families.
"When Sally and Barry fostered Martha on respite, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Sally is an absolute angel; she means everything to us and we class her as another mum to Martha. We have three other children, Jonah (18), Oscar (14) and Tabitha (9). Plus, we both work so can’t give Martha attention all the time. Sally and Barry can give Martha that 24-hour care she needs implicitly."
Barry and Martha playing with tablets on the sofa
Meet Sally and Barry, respite carers for a young girl with disabilities. They talk about the joy they get from supporting another family through fostering.
"We have now been fostering for four years and have looked after five children with disabilities, always for respite care. We are specialist Fee-paid Short Break Carers which means we look after children who require a high level of support and have more complex needs. 12-year-old Martha has been with us for three and a half years now. She really is a part of our family and we know she sees our house as a second home."
Martha with her parents Georgina and Alistair
The impact of COVID-19 has been overwhelming for us all, but a year of restrictions and lockdowns has seen the pressure facing those living with disabled children increase even more. One such family is the Tweeds who have a 12-year-old daughter Martha, with disabilities. Mother, Georgina said: “My husband and I were at breaking point in our relationship - and indeed as a family in general. When Sally and Barry first took Martha so we could have a respite break and she could have the 24-hr care she needs, it felt like a weight had been lifted. It meant we could spend quality time with our other three children and give them the extra attention they need and deserve.”