Zak wants to be a superhero…

Zak is 6 and a real chatterbox and loves being around other people, especially playing outside. He’s a whizz on his bike and can do some ‘wicked’ tricks on his trampoline. Zak loves going to the soft play centre as a treat after school.

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Tina and her children foster

For Tina the decision to become a foster carer was a simple as;. ‘I like children, I had two already and felt I had a lot to offer. I could do it so why don’t I?’ Tina has been a foster carer for over 5 years and has fostered six children. In the first couple of years she took short term placements so she could see if fostering was right for her and her children. ‘You worry; what if they don’t like you or the kids don’t like them?’

 

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Olivia wants to be a chef...

Olivia is 8 years old and is a bubbly character who is always laughing and singing. Olivia’s foster carers describe her as “very bright, sweet and beautiful”. They add that Olivia has a good sense of humour and charms them with her funny little sayings. Olivia enjoys music, singing and dancing and since being in foster care is becoming much more confident in trying new things, she has developed an interest in cooking since being with her current carers and enjoys spending time in the kitchen.

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Susan fosters older children

‘I enjoy their company from just having a chat to taking part in activities together.’ Susan is in her late fifties and has been fostering for five years.

‘We were concerned that our religious beliefs would mean we wouldn’t be approved as foster carers, but thankfully this is not the case. Because we have been especially non-judgemental, patient and firm but kind, young people who have some behavioural problems have been able to thrive and be happy in our home. It is a safe calm place away from school which helps those who struggle there.’

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Louise fosters teenagers

Louise lives in Stockport, Greater Manchester. She has been a foster carer for seven years. After a career in nightclub management and time spent as a sale manager she decided that she needed to do something with her life that was more aligned with her personal values.

This led to becoming a foster carer; more specifically a foster carer for teenagers.

“I really enjoy mentoring people,” she explains. “In every job I’ve ever had. I love watching people develop. And with that in mind I thought I’d give fostering a go.”

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Stacey and Dave talk about being foster carers in our film

Hear about what it's like to foster first hand; "The amount of people who would come up to me and say 'Oh I could never do that!'

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Mary fosters older children

Mum of three Mary always thought her first year in fostering would mean caring for a baby or child with special needs.

But when she was offered the chance to foster a nine year old boy, she and her family decided age didn’t matter – and say it’s one of the best decisions they ever made.

'Sam fitted in really well right from the start which was good. Everyone in the family adored him and he made new friends very quickly in this new area,' said Mary who took Sam in on a long-term placement. He will now stay with her until he reaches adulthood.

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Anne and Peter foster siblings

‘We had a five bedroom house so had no excuse for not having enough room!’ Anne and Peter are foster carers for a brother and sister. Anne worked with children but felt that she wanted to do more with her skills.

‘We enjoy seeing the children develop and grow and knowing that the changes we are seeing in their behaviour, their attainment at school and their personal values are largely down to us and our providing consistent care.’

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Debbie has her own children and fosters teenagers

It’s about rewards and goals. Make the goals a bit higher each time, and persevere. Fostering is challenging but you know what – it’s rewarding as well. Some young people come to you with nothing, they’ve never had anything. They’ve never had any routine before. To see them flourish is fantastic!

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India wants to be a beautician

Like most teenage girls India spends a lot of time on social media. She’s very into make-up and spends hours watching You Tube videos and blogging about beauty tips from her often untidy bedroom. India’s foster carer says day to day life with her is like a roller coaster with the big highs and low lows of teenage life. She’s helping India pursue her ambition of being a beautician helping her focus and get the grades to get onto a college course.

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Sheila gets support from her local authority

Regular visits, being part of a team and personalised support for both Sheila and her foster son Tom* – that’s the benefits of fostering for Salford City Council. 

Sheila, who began fostering four years ago with a private agency, said the support she now receives from focus in comparison to the agency is excellent.

“My cousin fostered so it was always something I wanted to do and went to the same agency they were with,” said Sheila who lives in Manchester.

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Chloe wants to go to college…

Chloe has very few family members and lost her mother when she was a baby. Like lots of teenagers she loves Justin Bieber and seeing her friends. She’s not keen on being found out when she’s been fibbing about why she’s back late or the spicy food her foster carers enjoy.

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Lauren and Danny foster teenagers

Lauren and Danny have been fostering for almost five years and are currently fostering an older child and a teenager as well as having a six month old baby of their own. Both placements they have are long term, “they’re part of our family,” and she feels their baby has helped “cement” the family and the given the boys a role as older brothers.

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Lauren and Danny foster teenage boys

Lauren and Danny have been fostering for almost five years. They currently foster an older child and a teenager and have a six month old baby of their own. Both placements they have are long term, “they’re part of our family,” and having a baby has helped “cement” the family and the given the boys a role as older brothers.

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Kelly and her family foster teenagers and young children

Also teenagers will always remember you and the help you have given them when they become adults. That means a lot.
Letting teenagers into your home helps them to understand what it’s like to be in a loving family. The teenage years can be difficult enough as it is for young people, and those in foster care need to be shown a positive family experience to see how it can help them. As a foster carer myself, I think fostering teenagers is even more rewarding. Teenagers need as much love, care and protection as the little ones do.

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Karen fosters teenage girls

Karen and her husband have been fostering for 12 years and in that time have cared for over 70 children of varying ages and backgrounds.

‘We were originally thinking of adoption, then decided to try fostering first and never stopped,” explains Karen. “We enjoy it so much, especially the variety – every child is different with different problems and needs.”

Karen and her husband are currently fostering three teenage girls, including 17-year-old Amy, who has been living with them for three and a half years.

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Diana fosters babies and children

Diana had some preconceptions about being able to foster; “I’m a single woman with no birth children of my own. I was in my late forties and although I had a good job I’d never worked directly with children.”

“I remember the day I received the call offering my next placemen. I said yes and she arrived two hours later! She is now my beautiful seven year old daughter. She has overcome most of her problems now and I am so proud of her.”

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Gill and Roger foster teenagers

Gill and Roger are 44 and 54 years old respectively and have children who are now teenagers. They decided the time was right to share their home with other children who are in need of a safe and happy place.  They really want to do all they can to make a difference to a young person’s life, and have now been fostering for 1.5 years.

Not everything was plain sailing when their foster daughter first came to live with them, it took some time for their whole family to become accustomed to their new situation.  However, the family worked together to adjust to everyone’s needs.

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Maya wants to be a vet…

She is an incredibly caring little girl who loves playing ‘mummy’ to animals and younger children. Her carers’ two dogs are her ‘babies’.

Maya is much quieter and more serious than her brother Zak and is doing very well at school. She plays the viola and is even learning to speak Polish! Drawing and crafty activities keep her entertained for hours. Many of her pictures are displayed proudly in her carers’ kitchen. She loves playing outside with her friends and we’ve heard she can ‘swim like a fish.’

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Conor wants to be a mechanic

Conor takes a lot of pride in his appearance, but he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty when it comes to cars.  Now he’s in Year 11 he’s keen to leave school and get trained up as a mechanic. He’s struggled growing up in an environment where his sexuality wasn’t always accepted.  Coping with bullying and depression has meant he has missed quite a lot of school and is no longer in mainstream education.

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Elle Mae’s parents foster

Elle Mae was then an enormous help in preparing her foster sister for the transition to her adoptive family. She made her an audio photo album as well as a memory box full of tactile things so that the little girl could feel them and remember the special things that she loved to do.

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Kelly and David foster local children

We are foster carers for Bury Council.  We have been approved carers for 2 1/2  years however previously we were carers with an independent agency.  We decided to transfer to Bury Council in July 2015 as we were keen to have more regular placements and develop our fostering career.

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Leona and Chris foster children with complex needs

Leona and her husband Chris have been fostering children for over eight years alongside their two birth children.

“We always knew we wanted to foster,” Leona explains. “My husband was given up for adoption as a baby and had a really positive experience. We had so much to offer and have both always loved being around children so we thought we’d give it a go.”

Both Leona and Chris’s own children and foster children have special and complex needs.

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Kim talks about being a foster carer in our short film

Hear about being a foster carer first hand; "You can achieve what you want to achieve!

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Josh wants to make the team…

Josh is part of a special sports club and enters competitions at a regional level. He’s been in foster care since he was little. When he arrived with his current carers he didn’t speak and had some challenging behaviours. His foster carers have received training to help them create routines and boundaries that give him a sense of security.

Josh’s foster carer says; ‘What stuck most were his eyes. They appeared dull like a candle with an odd flicker. Now over the years his eyes are shining bright and have a beautiful sparkle.’

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Oliver and Tyler want to be games developers

Tyler mostly wants to do what his big brother is doing and looks up to him as a role model. He’s actually more into dinosaurs than computer games but will sit with Oliver when he’s on his Xbox and much to his brother’s frustration always wants to play too.  Oliver loves science fiction and playing Minecraft.  His autism spectrum disorder means that he’s keen on structure and consistency and is happy to spend lots of time on his own, often learning and experimenting with how electronics work.

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Imran wants to be a sound engineer

Imran  has been in foster care for four years and music is his outlet.  He is very into fashion and likes going to gigs with his mates. Writing music gives him a chance to get his frustrations down on paper and he often writes about his experiences growing up in care. To help him work towards his ambition his foster carer has encouraged him to take part in talent shows at school and he’s also gone on a course to learn DJ skills. His foster carer hopes that one day she’ll be able to see his dream of working on X-Factor become a reality.

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Macie, Callum and Lottie want to be dancers

Macie, Callum and Lottie like most siblings would hate to be separated but that doesn’t mean they always want to do the same thing. 

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Sean and Karen transferred from an agency

Sean and Karen had previously fostered for a private agency but transferred to Bolton because they felt that only a Local Authority could offer them the professional support they needed when fostering teenage boys.

Previously Sean has cared for a high profile unaccompanied minor who had come from Afghanistan, Gulwali Passarlay. Gulwali has gone on to write books about his experiences detailing his journey fleeing from the conflict that had claimed his father’s life.

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Barbara takes mother and baby placements

It is a big responsibility accepting a mother and baby into your home but there is so much value in doing it.  You become their mentor; the person they need to be able to trust and rely on.  It can be quite scary at first, for all of us.  Inviting new people into your home, for it to also become their home, means they need to feel comfortable, relaxed, safe and secure. They need to feel free to use domestic appliances, you need to make sure you don’t feel as though you are losing control in your own home - it’s important to get the balance right.

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Ian and Kevin foster primary age children

Ian and Kevin applied to Leeds after attending an information evening. They had a positive home visit and undertook the fostering assessment process. Ian and Kevin were new to Leeds so the Assessing Social Worker introduced them to local carers and discussed how the council could support them. Ian and Kevin were approved at panel to care for one child of primary school age.

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Jack and Emily want to be rockstars…

When Jack was six and Emily ten their mother died, their father became unable to cope and they were neglected. Jack and Emily went into foster care with a local family who already had a younger child. Their lives were turned upside down and they became shy and struggled at school. Neither of them was keen on trying anything new and they weren’t confident in their own abilities.

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Jackie and Bob transferred from an independent agency

Jackie and Bob are a married couple in their 50’s who have been together for over 30 years and have two grown up sons. They have previously run successful businesses, including a pub, restaurant and shops. They are very family-orientated, and like to be kept busy, so fostering seemed like a perfect lifestyle change when business commitments were making their work-life balance tip in the wrong direction.

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Susan fosters babies

Susan combines fostering newborns with her job as a gym instructor. In the 15 years she’s been a foster carer she’s had around 10 placements, initially she fostered toddlers and but now mainly takes babies from birth; “It’s important that to develop their brain in that first year and rewarding seeing them meet all their milestones.”

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Diane fosters teenagers

Diane is a single foster carer living in Blackpool and has been fostering for 15 years.

She became a foster carer after watching a close friend foster children for many years and really admired what they were doing, so decided to give it a go.

Diane particularly enjoys the challenges and rewards that come with fostering special and complex needs children and teenagers.

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Jenny is fostering five children

Jenny, 52, who has fostered with Warrington Borough Council for two years, said: “Before my husband and I got married, we said we wanted three children of our own and to adopt a child too. Which I know is quite unusual to have that mind-set from the outset, but I think my childhood had a big impact on that decision. Terry had a very happy childhood, but my world turned upside down at 14, when my mum passed away.

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Jason and Nikki are short term foster carers

Jason Brooks and wife Nikki, recruited in the last fostering campaign in 2010, have fostered ten children since becoming foster parents. The couple, who have two birth children of their own, Declan and Ellie, are short term foster parents for children who come into care and need a short-term solution to domestic or parental issues.

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Alec and Kenny foster teenagers

This LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week Alec and Kenny tell us why they're #proudtofoster

Alec and Kenny were inspired to become foster carers through Kenny’s work with children with behavioural issues, knowing that many of the children he worked with came from difficult backgrounds and now foster Matthew, a 16 year old with severe learning disabilities.

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Ginny and Peter are fostering five children

Ginny and her husband Peter have been fostering children for the past 14 years.

Ginny grew up in a family that fostered and after meeting Peter they both decided that fostering would work well around their full time jobs.

They are currently fostering five children between the ages of 2-16 alongside a child of their own and have had a variety of foster placements over the years, including short and long term and children with special and complex needs.

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Jenny is a short break foster carer

Jenny became a foster carer following a career in Human Resources and has been a short break carer for three years starting off fostering part time but now as a full time career. She was looking to make a real impact on someone’s life and as a foster carer she enjoys making a real difference not only to the lives of the children and young people but also to their families.

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Nichola and Gary have fostered babies and children

Nichola and Gary Wood, both aged 35, have been fostering for five years. Nichola said: "Our own children were growing but still felt we had more to give, plus my job at the time was a nursery assistant so I knew I loved that role of looking after children. I love watching them progress in confidence and self-esteem, and the feeling of pride when their relationship positively develops, it is such a rewarding role.

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