MK Council is one of a number of local authorities suffering from a shortage of foster carers. Marie Gower explains why she loves fostering in the second instalment of our series of columns from Milton Keynes foster carers…
I’m a mainstream carer. This means caring for children on a full-time basis though the length of time will vary depending on the child’s circumstances.
During the past four and a half years my husband and I have fostered over 30 children and we foster up to three at any one time.
Because of our personal experience, we felt really strongly that we wanted to get into fostering and give something back.
The biggest reward has been seeing the children develop. To watch a frightened and anxious child transition into a confident and happy child – to witness this behaviour change is magnificent.
Being a foster carer has also made us better parents – more resilient, more patient and certainly more understanding. Some of the children we have cared for come from difficult family situations and this has taught us to be nonjudgemental.
Another big reward from fostering is keeping in touch with the children after they have moved on. We’ve also developed really strong friendships with other foster carers and those involved in the community.
We’re open and honest in our family and this has helped all the children feel equally loved and important.
Many foster children wrongly believe they have done something wrong – or that they are at fault, and I think it’s very important to address that.
We’ve received incredible support from our supervising social workers and there is always help available.
The training is really thorough and there are ongoing development programmes you can tap into.
You’re also part of a bigger community. There are Facebook groups, networking coffee meetings and excellent events like the True Triumph Awards that celebrate the achievements of children and young people in care.
Why choose to foster?
•Fostering is a rewarding career
•You can make a huge difference to a child’s life
•You will earn a minimum of £322 a week for fostering a child aged 11 or over
If you are interested in fostering a child in Milton Keynes, call 01908 253206 or visit http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/fostering