“It’s such a positive thing to be working with these teenagers. They have often had many chances taken away from them already and experienced much disappointment. They often crave some stability and routine. I love showing them that there is a better way and instilling some self-worth in them, so they can have a happier life”.
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 young person needs.
Read Paul and husband Gerry's story of fostering here.
Fran Barzoukas from Basildon is urging people to think about whether fostering could be a life-changing opportunity for their own future.
“Being a foster parent has very much enriched my life for the better. It’s not always easy, but l wouldn’t change it for one minute. You often want to change the world but when you foster a child you often end up changing their world. And your own”.
Police Constable Stuart Sheridan, aged 32, has been in the foster care system since a baby. When he was 7 years old, he was taken into care by Fran Barzoukas from Basildon.
“I distinctly remember feeling terrified when I first turned up. Fran just seemed to get it though. She made a real effort with me even though I was probably very difficult. My favourite memory was being treated to a Burger King. It’s sometimes the smallest gestures which have the biggest impact”.
Josh, now 24, was with other foster carers until the age of 13 when he went to live with Colchester foster parents Iain and Karen Cameron.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now without them.....
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.
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, 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.
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.