As part of Foster Care Fortnight 2021, we caught up with two of our most experienced foster carers to ask them all things about fostering.
Since first becoming foster carers back in 1999, Yvonne and Paul have gone on to foster seven different sibling groups.
Here is what they said when we asked them to give us an insight into what it is like to be a foster carer.
Why did you decide to become a foster carer?
We always wanted to foster but the time needed to be right. Some of our children were all grown up and making their own choices in the world. So we had a lot of room in our house and also room in our hearts to do what we always wanted to do - to be able to make a difference to all the vulnerable children that need our help.
What is the most rewarding part of being a foster carer?
Watching the children make progress. It may be 2 steps forward 1 step back but to watch them make progress over time with their smile and laughter says it all. Plus, being able to trust, love, and live life to the full while watching what they want to go on to do in their future.
Why do you think it is important to keep siblings together in foster care?
The bond they have for each other is important for their wellbeing, and to be able to have a close family member with them while they go through all the ups and downs that life deals them.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a foster carer?
You need to have room in your heart and house and plenty of understanding and patience. You need to be able to shed quite a few tears as each and every child that comes to you, no matter what their reasons are for being in care, will take a bit of your heart and leave you with many happy memories. Fostering is the most rewarding ‘job’ they will experience, even with the most challenging of children with the most difficulties, you can't help but love them for who they are.
Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, delivered by leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network.
It has taken place every year for almost 20 years, with the campaign showcasing the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers. It also supports fostering services to highlight the need for more foster carers.
Every 20 minutes another child comes into care needing a foster family in the UK. Every day there are about 65,000 children living with 55,000 foster families. In Neath Port Talbot alone, around 300 children are being looked after, many of these are brothers and sisters.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer or would like to find out more information, contact the Fostering Team by calling 01639 685866 or emailing email@example.com . Alternatively, check out the information on their website: www.npt.gov.uk/fostering