Fostering case studies
Read what our amazing foster carers have said about fostering in North Lincolnshire and find out how life changing fostering can be – for both you and the children you are opening your homes and hearts to.
For more information or to discuss any issues you may have please contact the Fostering team on 01724 297024 or complete our online form:
Sue and Mark Carpenter from Scunthorpe had talked about fostering on and off throughout their marriage, but as they began bringing up their own children they put the idea on the back burner. It wasn’t until years later when their daughter’s best friend was taken into care that Mark finally called North Lincolnshire Council’s Fostering Service.
Following an initial visit from a fostering social worker, Sue and Mark enrolled on a ‘Skills to Foster’ course. They went on to care for a nine year old boy (who remains with them to this day) and two young sisters who have since gone on to be adopted. Mark believes fostering has had a positive impact, not just on him and Sue, but also their own teenage daughters.
Sue and Mark are now local champions of ‘Home for Good’ – an initiative promoting fostering and adoption through the Church. It aims to change the culture in local churches throughout the UK. And to make fostering and adopting a significant part of their life and ministry. It is seen as an opportunity for the Church to change communities and transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.
Mark has experienced first hand how the Church provides a community of support to wrap around families who are adopting or fostering children.
“Every child we’ve fostered has been made to feel welcome in our Church. They have joined the youth groups. They are listened to, are made a fuss of and accepted and that is massive to these children.”
Whilst they recognise fostering isn’t for everyone, Mark believes there are lots of people like him who are considering it but haven’t got around to it.
Sue and Mark don’t consider themselves to have any special qualities which make them suitable foster carers. Mark believes that thinking you are not the perfect parent might put some people off fostering.
They have both been taken aback at the progress their foster children have made since living with them.
Sue said, “When you put them to bed at night and you think we’ve had a good day and I’ve done my best, it is a good feeling knowing that you’ve helped a child.”
Every child they foster is different. Each has their own qualities and, while it can be hard work, Sue says it’s worth it. She recalls the day their two foster girls found out they were going to be adopted.
As for Mark, he looks back with a mix of emotions on the day his daughter’s best friend was taken into care.
“There’s a part of me that wishes I’d become a foster carer a few years earlier because I might have been able to help her. But I did eventually become a carer and I will never regret that. It’s been absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
We sat down with one of our foster carers, Jodie from Scunthorpe, to find out her experiences of being a foster carer in North Lincolnshire and ask her some of the questions she is asked most often when people find out she’s a foster carer.
“There are so many questions people are always dying to ask me when they find out I’m a foster carer. Some of them are brave and ask their questions straight out, whereas some say ‘I don’t know how you do that, I would get too attached’ or ‘I really admire people like you’.
Both of these statements make me smile because the truth is I do get attached, very attached but I’m not a superhero, I’m just a normal person.”
If you’re not married or in a relationship, can you still foster?
“Yes, yes and YES!! It needs no explaining; fostering isn’t relationshipist (I think I made that word up!).”
If you don’t already have children, is there any point in enquiring?
“Erm… yes! When we started our fostering journey I had no children. But I had life experience and a caring attitude and thought it might be something I would be good at.”
Do you have to do tests and be checked up on?
“Sort of. There is an assessment. There is also a course to complete called ‘skills to foster’ which outlines the things you need to know.
“Some people find it a little bit intrusive with a social worker visiting your home and talking about your life. But it’s worth remembering they are not looking for perfect angels, they are finding out how you deal with real life and pull together to overcome problems; things that when you are fostering children are essential skills to have.”
Are you just left to get on with it?
“The support we have in North Lincolnshire I feel is really good. You have your own Fostering Social Worker who visits you to catch up and offer support and advice. There are regular coffee mornings ran by foster carers and there is also a buddy/mentor system also made up of carers for if you need advice, reassurance or just a friend to talk to.
“I met some of my best friends through fostering and it has been a real lifeline.
“There are also great social events for catching up and fantastic training opportunities throughout the year.”
What are the best and worst things about fostering?
“This is an impossible question. Every new young person placed with you brings not only challenges but fantastic successes, which end up being the reasons why you foster.
“I have met people who think all the young people will thank you and be grateful that they live with you. This is often not the case. Young children, especially, may find it difficult to understand what has happened and why they have had to leave their home. It is about gaining their trust and welcoming them into your life, even on the hard days.
“Achievements may be small or they may be huge but you will be just as proud for all of them.”
Do you get paid well?
“This is the question that gets asked over and over. You don’t actually get paid for being a foster carer. You receive an allowance that is generous and it covers a range of things, for example their clothing, activities, pocket money etc.
“I could keep chatting about fostering caring all night but there is ironing waiting to be done and pack ups waiting to be made!
“If you have any more questions, just pick up the phone and ring the team for a chat.”
Jade (aged 32) and Sam (aged 30) a same sex couple from Scunthorpe started to foster two and half years ago. Jade said:
“My mum is a foster carer and it inspired me to do the same so we contacted the North Lincolnshire Fostering and Adoption Service. They were really supportive and welcomed our interest. We haven’t looked back since then.
“We have fostered seven children mainly on short term placements. We’ve always cared for older children and in doing so, have found something we have a real passion for and now wouldn’t want to look after a different age range. Fostering teenagers is really rewarding. When they make the smallest of achievements, it’s fantastic. The smallest of changes to these young people makes such a big difference.
“Fostering isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, the rewards are huge. It’s a challenge on a daily basis, it makes you reflect on your life and no day is the same but we wouldn’t change anything about being foster carers.
“For anyone considering becoming a foster carer, I’d say you need patience and complete acceptance because you can’t change these children and young people. They are who they are and you have to accept them for that.”
Doreen from Scunthorpe has been fostering for 37 years. She was married with two children when she began fostering in 1981. Doreen is from a large family and is the youngest of 11 children, she said:
“I loved being part of a large family and always having lots of people around. I was motivated to foster when my brother and his wife adopted two children due to not being able to have any of their own.
“I would definitely recommend fostering to others. I have bonded with a lot of the foster children I have cared for over the years. They still visit me many years after leaving my care. To hear they were very happy in my care is very fulfilling.”
During her time as a foster carer Doreen has cared for more than 100 children. The longest she has had a child live with her is 14 years.
Shelly and Richard from Brigg have been fostering in North Lincolnshire since September 2017. They had previously fostered in another area for five years. They said:
“We became foster carers because we wanted to be able to give something back. We had one child through IVF and were unable to have a second. We have now fostered a total of 18 children.
“We received a lot of help and support from North Lincolnshire Council’s Fostering Service, it’s like a big family. It wasn’t like this where we fostered previously. There is always someone on the phone or visiting to see how things are. You get invited to excellent events along with other foster cares including trips out, pantomimes and youth groups.
“Our biggest achievement so far is supporting a four year-old child to adoption and witnessing the changes in home from a young boy who didn’t speak to anyone to overcome these challenges and become a chatty, confident and happy little boy with a forever family. We are still in contact with him and the adopters now.
“More recently we have become carers for a lovely teenage girls. We have an excellent relationship with her and we are really proud of her.
“Fostering is extremely rewarding and we are so happy we decided to open up our home to care for children. If you are considering foster care, we would definitely recommend North Lincolnshire Council’s Fostering Team, so don’t waste any more time and get in touch with them.”
Jane from Scunthorpe has been fostering for about five years. In that time she has fostered over 100 children, she said:
“I initially began by being an emergency foster carer. I wanted to make a difference to a child’s life. I didn’t realise when I started fostering just what a difference I could make.
“At the moment I have two children, aged 12 and 14, in my care who have been placed with me long-term. They have already been with me for over four years.
“I’d definitely recommend fostering, but I understand it is not for everyone.”
Ward and Melita from Moorends, Doncaster have been fostering for over 22 years. They were motivated to foster when Ward’s nephews and nieces were placed into care. They were unable to foster. Melita said:
“We have since gone on to foster 198 children, which has been very rewarding. I would recommend fostering. Every child, whatever their background, is very different.”
The longest they have cared for a child is eight years, it was initially meant to be two weeks respite care.