Fostering case studies - Kevin`s story

I became a foster carer over 10 years ago now, and haven't looked back since. I was originally a baker at Morrisons and thought, hang on, I can't be getting up at 4am for the rest of my life, what else do I want to do? So I trained as a nursery nurse and worked in a few primary schools helping individual children with special needs in the classroom. I also worked in Nursery and Reception classes as a nursery nurse for a long spell and absolutely loved it.

Working with children in these many different environments opened my eyes to the children out there who need a helping hand. A loving and stable home, that's such a basic requirement for children to flourish. Then it was foster care fortnight and there was loads of media coverage about all the children out there needing homes - so we took the first step and made the call. It took quite a while for us to get registered, but it was well worth it.

The council offer a great level of support, and are always at the other end of the phone whether it be a crisis or an everyday question. But to be honest, we picked the council because we pay our taxes into the council and want to make sure that they're well spent. Going through a private agency would only mean paying a middle man, and we'd rather every penny got spent on the children.

We were originally cleared for permanent fostering but to ease ourselves in we started off with respite care. This means looking after children over the weekend to give other people a break. It also meant we could both continue working full time.

Then we got a call one day and some other kids needed somewhere to stay urgently. Who were we to say no? From there, we're pretty much had a full house and we love it. My partner still works full time and I've given up the nursery work as our youngest has special needs so it works out better for the whole family with me at home. Plus, I'm effectively a taxi driver for the other two kids - just because I'm a foster carer doesn't mean I don't get the joys of waiting in the car for the kids when they're too busy having fun to come home!

James our eldest, is now 18 and has officially left the care system but still very much part of our family. He's welcome to stay for as long as he likes, which given he's off to University in the autumn will probably only be in the holidays with a car load of washing.

It can be a bit of a mad house, what with all the animals and the kids coming and going but I wouldn't have it any other way.

This is our family and I love it.

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