Foster carers from Sarratt and Bushey have been speaking of their experiences to mark Foster Care Fortnight.
Daphne (pictured) from Sarratt, has been fostering for 36 years with her late husband Terry. They have fostered more than 185 children. Many of them return to see Daphne and are still part of the family.
Daphne said: “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to change a child life. It’s like watering a flower and then watching it flower and thrive. I just love fostering. Fostering is my life and passion and I never want to give it up, it would leave a huge void in my life. Children need emotional warmth and I just want the children to feel loved and to receive unconditional love.
“I totally understand how things in a child’s life affect their behaviour and I look through the behaviour, and see a frightened, vulnerable child. It’s amazing to be able to build on a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
“A teenager we fostered 22 years ago turned up at my house a few weeks ago and asked if I remembered her. The lady, now in her 30s, wanted to thank me. We now plan to meet up when the lockdown is over.”
Carole and Mick from Bushey have been fostering for 29 years and have dedicated their lives to caring for children. They are currently fostering two sisters aged six and nine, and have been busy keeping the girls entertained during the lockdown.
They said: “The children bring laughter and energy into our home and we just love fostering. Home-schooling has been fun, the girls love doing arts and crafts, etc. We also have a paddling pool and trampoline and a big garden to play in, so they have lots to do. The girls get on well and play together which is a bonus, so the lockdown hasn’t been so bad at all.”
Throughout their years of fostering, the couple has been supported by their five children (one of who is adopted – they are now all adults) and six grandchildren. It has become a huge part of their lives too.
Any resident wanting to become a foster carer must be over 21 years old and have at least one spare room at home. Foster carers will receive unrivalled 24/7 support, local training, generous pay and allowances.
To find out more, call 0800 917 0925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering.