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“As soon as they walk through the door, they are part of the family.” Kathy, a foster carer from North Essex, helps promote Foster Care Fortnight

Foster Carers Kathy

Thursday 5 May 2022

“As soon as they walk through the door, they are part of the family.” Kathy, a foster carer from North Essex, helps promote Foster Care Fortnight  

A foster carer from Clacton in North Essex is sharing the positive experiences of fostering children and encouraging more people to come forward and foster as part of a campaign run by Essex County Council during Foster Care Fortnight from 9th to 20th May.

61-year-old Kathy has been fostering young people since 2013. She knows that in addition to proving the security of a safe loving home and a supportive foster family, it’s little things like teaching the young person to cook or do the laundry which will help them become confident, independent young adults.   

“One of my young people was 15 years old when she came into our family, and she stayed for five years until just before her 21st birthday. She stayed with us as part of the Essex ‘staying put’ scheme, which supports young people by giving them valuable extra time during which they can be helped to prepare for living independently.

“I encouraged her to look after her room and help around the house and she helped cook and do laundry for herself. These are things we often take for granted, but it’s these small things that make a difference to a young person. They leave knowing they will be ok living independently.

“I find this extremely rewarding because I see them grow and develop so much over the years, and I build long lasting relationships with them because I’ve spent time with them, helping them and supporting them however they needed me to, and I’m still in touch with them now after they’ve moved out.”

Kathy recognises that even though there are challenges, you have to show your foster children support and make them feel heard.

“Foster children do have challenges because they have usually experienced some trauma, but all they need is love, support and somewhere to call home and they look to you to give that to them and that’s exactly what we do. Hopefully they go forward with their lives knowing that they have that support.”

There are 1,100 children in care and Essex County Council is urging more people to consider fostering because more foster carers are needed to offer part-time and full time fostering. Foster carers can be single, married, from the LGBTQ +community or retired.

Essex County Council offers all foster carers excellent local training with an active network of support groups providing opportunities to meet and learn from other foster carers. It also offers 24/7 local support, a dedicated social worker and access to clinical psychologists

Cllr Beverley Egan, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years at Essex County Council, said: “We need more people to consider fostering to help children and young people become confident and independent.

Our foster carers provide a safe, stable, and nurturing home environment to hundreds of young people across Essex every year, which helps them prepare for independent living.

The support provided by Essex County Council enables our foster carers to follow their passion and make a real difference to a young person’s life.” 

Kathy is encouraging anyone thinking about fostering children or young people to pick up the phone and enquire.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing our foster children happy. They haven’t always had the best experiences but seeing them grow, seeing them develop and seeing them happy is the best feeling in the world. You know that it’s down to you, that you are making that difference and helping them grow up and set them up for the future.

“I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t foster. It is a job, but it doesn’t feel like a job. I am stepping into that parental role for these young people. I treat them like I did my own children. As soon as they walk through the door, they are part of the family.”

Find out more by visiting: https://www.essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/fostering.

If you prefer to speak to our friendly helpline call: 0800 801 530.

Pop along to one of our online events and find out more about fostering or visit: How to become a foster carer)