Fun times, holidays and 'seeing our girl in her prom dress': Mum reveals her highs as a foster carer
A Stockton-on-Tees mum has revealed her foster carer highs - just days before an event aimed at people who might be interested in following her lead.
Julie, of Eaglescliffe, has been fostering for more than 17 years and has seen many highs and lows during that time.
Fostering is something she and husband Paul "thought about for a long while" before making the decision to commit.
But it turned out to be the right decision, and in Julie's own words, the couple have "never looked back" since.
"We've had challenges over the years," she said. "But the highs have more than compensated - seeing our young people progress to independence, having fun times together, enjoying holidays, seeing our girl in her prom dress. We've had many proud moments and much happiness from fostering.
"We've learned new skills as we've gone along too, and the biggest high is knowing you are trusted - the young people come to you for advice, and you're significant to them. We are 'home', and even now some have moved to independence, they come back to us regularly."
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added: "Fostering makes a huge difference to the lives of children and young people in care. But another dimension of fostering which isn't always so obvious, is how it transforms the lives of foster carers and their families, and that comes through loud and clear when you listen to Julie's experiences.
"Many of the foster carers we work with say fostering is the best thing they've ever done. I'd urge anyone who's thinking about it to get in touch with us!"
Why do children need foster carers?
Children may need foster carers because of family crisis, because their parents find it difficult to cope or because they are suffering abuse or neglect.
Fostering provides children with safe, stable and loving families when they are unable to live with their own parents.
Placements range from respite and short-term to long-term, and some may even lead to adoption.
What kind of support do foster carers get?
Foster carers receive a lot of help, including full preparation and training, ongoing professional support and guidance, and access to local support groups. They receive a generous weekly allowance to cover costs too.
Where can I find out more?
The Council is holding an information session for prospective foster carers on Tuesday, May 22 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Jim Cooke Suite at Stockton Central Library.
And remember - foster carers come from all walks of life!
If you believe you have the commitment, skills and experience to offer a child a positive experience of family life, please attend the session, or request an information pack.
A social worker and one of our foster carers from Norton will be on hand to answer your questions.
To register for the event, or if you can't make it but would like an information pack, call the Council's fostering service on 01642 526218 or email email@example.com