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.
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.