Fostering has helped us as a family

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Sean has been fostering with his wife, Marette, for many years in Northern Ireland. Marette has always worked in a childcare environment and from early in their marriage they had agreed that fostering was something they wanted to get involved in. In this blog Sean discusses their fostering experiences.

Not everyone has good family support and we thought we would offer help where we could.

At the time we started fostering we had three children of our own aged three, six and nine. We felt the time was right to foster as it would be an easier transition for both our own children and the foster children because they were so young.

Initially we started with respite care but quickly moved to short term and long term care. We have two children sharing our home on a long term basis, one is now 19 and the other is 11, they have both been with us since they were one and a half years old.

Long term placements have provided continuity for the children in our care, it has allowed them to have stability and security as they haven’t had to worry about further moves, they have remained settled in school and have been able to join clubs and teams within our area and become established members. This enables them to build great friendships as well as improving their self-confidence, all of which I believe has been a result of less disruption in their care.

Much the same as with your own family, fostering can be challenging. However, every child is different and kids in care have various issues so you need to adapt and be flexible to help meet these needs, you also have to be patient and resilient.

We have gained so much from fostering – it is very rewarding seeing how the kids have developed, watching them achieve various goals in their lives from doing well in school to participating in various sporting activities or playing for school teams.

Simply watching how they grow and mature is so rewarding.

We have had support from our local trust and other agencies; this varies from practical support from social workers, to support groups and training.

The Fostering Network also offers many varied, fun activities for both foster carers and children. Through Fostering Achievement they also provide invaluable support for learning and development activities such as swimming lessons, music and drama, as well as providing computer equipment and other educational tools.

Fostering has helped us as a family appreciate how lucky we are to have good family support.

Statistics show that children in care can struggle to succeed - it is therefore all the morehow rewarding is it then to know that you have helped a child to fulfil their potential.even a little to break that trend.