On Sunday, mums from across the country will be opening Mother’s Day cards from their children, if they haven’t forgotten. But for one Staffordshire mum it means even more.
Foster carer, Jean Foster from Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire has been fostering for over 32 years and has fostered over 100 children. Having adopted two of the children, she has helped turn around the lives of hundreds of others in her care.
Most foster carers make the choice to become a foster carer to make a difference… but for Jean and husband Bill it was something they were destined to do, as their surname ‘Foster’ suggests.
Jean, 72 and husband Bill, 77 can still remember their first foster child. Jean said:
“I can hardly remember a time when I haven’t been a foster carer, it’s been part of my life for so long now. I still enjoy it as much as the day I started and can never imagine myself not being a foster carer.
Jean explained that fostering had really changed since she started 32 years ago. She said:
“When I started there was no restriction on how many children you could look after, you could pretty much take on as many kids as you could handle. I had a 5 bedroom house and at one stage had six under 6 year olds and two teenagers. Nowadays the limit is 3 children unless it’s a sibling group.
When I first started over 30 years ago, the children were pretty much dropped off and you were left to get on with it. Straight in at the deep-end and you learned as you went along like with your own children. It’s much better now there’s lots of training and support available to you.
Overall though it’s been great and I’ve loved every minute of it. The only part I really struggled with was sometimes handing the children back after looking after them. This was often heart breaking and the hardest thing for me.”
“We enjoy fostering because we feel we are doing something for the children. I can never think of a time when we would not be doing this. When we feel we cannot do it anymore then we will stop.”
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member responsible for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Jean and Bill were obviously born to be foster carers with a surname like that. Over their 32 years they have played a vital role in transforming children’s lives while giving many a second chance of a happy and fulfilling life.
“Fostering isn’t always easy though and has its challenges, but it offers the opportunity to make an amazing difference to children. Lots of our foster carers like Bill and Jean tell us it’s a hugely rewarding thing to do.
“As we’re always looking for new foster families to come forward, I would encourage anyone interested to get in touch.”
People interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at www.care4child.org or by calling 0800 1692061.