An inspirational couple who dedicate their time to help children needing foster care are encouraging others to find out about fostering.
Sharing their story as part of a campaign for Foster Care Fortnight, John and Michelle’s experiences of fostering with Leicestershire County Council over the last two years highlight the difference that becoming a foster carer can make to young people in the county.
With around 700 children and young people in care in Leicestershire alone, there’s never been a greater need for people to consider fostering.
John and Michelle started fostering after their children had flown the nest, leaving them “a little empty”. They say that fostering has once again “filled their home.”
Their fostering journey has covered lots of different placements including accommodating parent and child, emergency care and, most recently, a short-term placement with a child which may soon become a long-term placement.
The foster couple said the foster child they’re currently caring for has added so much to their family and that they couldn’t imagine life without her. Whilst they didn’t set out to add to their family, the strength of the relationship they have built has been so strong, they didn’t want to let it go.
We’ve had four mums and babies living with us and we still hear from and see some of the parents and their children. Knowing that we have played a part in keeping a family together more than makes up for the broken sleep, night feeds, and dirty nappies!
“Helping them improve their parenting skills needs patience. It’s important to remember that they are mum and dad, but we’re always there to step in if necessary to help them learn and improve.”
“We also provide emergency care on the council’s out-of-hours rota. This makes us available at short notice to provide a safe and caring place for children and young people to stay. When we get a call it usually means a child or young person will be with us, to stay, within a couple of hours - sometimes much less!
“Although confused, and often frightened, you’d be surprised how far a warm smile, something to eat, and a comfortable bed can go in reassuring them that they are safe and welcome. Whether they stay for one or two nights or two weeks, you know you have made a difference when they needed it most!”
“If you are the slightest bit curious about fostering, pick up the phone and call!Person:Foster carers, John and Michelle
"Whether it is a mum with her newborn baby, a teenager, or a frightened little boy of ten, the one thing they all have in common is the need for someone to care for them. This means not judging them, listening, investing in them (not financially but emotionally), and just being there for them when they need you.
To mark Foster Care Fortnight the county council is sharing a series of videos focussing on the different ways to foster until Sunday, 28 May on its Facebook page (@FosteringLeicestershire).
It is so heart-warming to hear stories of foster carers like John and Michelle. They are a true inspiration and the positive difference they have to the lives of young people in our county is immeasurable.
“I would encourage anyone interested in fostering to get in touch. We have all the support, training, and development you need to drive positive change in the lives of our children in care.Person:Councillor Deborah Taylor, lead member for children and families
A number of online fostering events to find out more information are being held by the county council’s fostering recruitment team. Anyone interested can register