Eileen & Mick’s Fostering Story14 May, 2018
“Living an organised functional life is the biggest reward anyone could wish for.”
Eileen and Mick share how becoming foster carers has changed their lives for the better.
Eileen and Mick opened their door to their first foster child 10 years ago. Since then, they have cared for five young people and have no intention of giving up.
Talking about the decision to become a foster carer, Eileen, explained: “I was a looked after child from the age of 11-18. Mick and I always had a house full of children and missed the laughter and noise when our own children grew up and left home.”
Mick was a youth worker along with Eileen, and had always seen the positive impact fostering can have on children’s lives due to caring for his nephew for five years from the age of nine.
Eileen and Mick fostered two teenage girls who both wanted to have babies. Eileen accessed health promotions and used a cyber baby to give them an understanding on parental responsibilities and how hard it is to care for someone other than themselves. Eileen added: “It worked for my eldest foster daughter who was 26 when she eventually had her first baby and was in a very secure relationship.
“There are so many positive outcomes and differences made to these children’s lives I could talk for hours on the subject.”
Mick waves proudly at the pictures of the children he and Eileen have cared for which occupy the free spaces in their home. Eileen talks about the many rewards she’s faced during the last 10 years.
“There are so many rewarding parts to my job, the list is endless. You see them reach their potential, start to feel safe and secure, watching their self-esteem grow.
“Seeing our children living an organised functional life is the biggest reward anyone could wish for.”
Having spent the majority of their lives working with children, Eileen and Mick still face many daily challenges, helping a child settle and feel safe. Mick added: “When a child comes into your home, they are frightened, it’s a completely strange environment to them with different rules and we are complete strangers.
“You wonder if you are getting things right, you have to get to know the child and how to deal with their anxieties.
“However, we are not left to face these challenges alone. We have fantastic support from our supervising social worker and the team at ISP Sussex, everyone involved with ISP make us feel at ease and have always made the process straight forward for us.”
Eileen and Mick swear they wouldn’t swap their roles as foster carers for anything. They both said: “If you have patience, resilience, an ability to understand others, a good supportive family, lots of love to give and can be non-judgemental you are well on your way to changing a young person’s life.”
It’s estimated that fostering services need to recruit a further 5,900 foster families in the next 12 months in the UK. If you’d like to learn more about the role of a foster carer, then please get in touch with our friendly team – we’d love to hear from you.
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