“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."
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.
"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."
"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."
“After my husband died nearly 7 years ago, naturally, I was all over the place emotionally. When a childhood friend, who was already a foster carer, suggested that fostering might be a good option for me, I took a long time to consider it. I just wasn’t sure if I could handle getting close to someone and then watching them leave. But I knew that I had so much more love to give.”
"He was a very troubled little boy when he arrived; utterly confused and scared. The consequence of that was emotional outbursts. It was heartbreaking to see.
What really brought it home was when he said to us that if his own mother got rid of him then he wouldn’t expect anyone else to keep him in their home, no matter how much they loved him. It was actions and not just words that he needed.”
Janice had a busy career in the city but had always wanted to work with children. After the birth of her son she wanted to stay home with him and fostering was the perfect fit.
“Fostering isn’t all hugs and smiles - it can be incredibly challenging. But that certainly makes it more rewarding. You don’t need to be special to foster. But it does makes you feel special."
“I had always been reluctant to foster a child with disabilities as I didn’t feel that I had the relevant experience.
Little did I know though, my first experience of fostering would reverse my opinion emphatically.
Toni is the main carer and initially felt apprehensive about looking after a child with disabilities. The couple agree that it’s the best thing they ever did.
Tony says: “I quickly got used to the child and their individual needs. Plus, I have amazing support from Essex County Council. First aid courses, a caring social worker and plenty of support groups have all boosted my confidence and bolstered my experience.