Myself (Karen) and my husband John have been fostering for Staffordshire County council for the past eight years. During this time, we have cared for eighteen children aged between nine months and fifteen years with varying needs.
We are mainly task centred carers which means that the length of any child who comes to live with us is undefined and is governed by circumstances and the children's needs, we are approved to look after three children.
At present we are caring for a sibling group of two boys aged thirteen and ten and they have been with us for the past eleven months and fit in well with our family routines.
During our time fostering we have been involved with three adoptions, short break care, where children have stayed with us for varying lengths of time. We have worked alongside many professional organisations such as NSPCC, CAMS and Young Minds who have helped to support the children we have cared for who all had different needs.
The best piece of advice that we were ever given was you can treat the children who come to stay with you as your own, but you can’t parent them as you did your own children. Which means the children will not react the same as your own children to given situations because of their earlier childhood experiences, but with the help, support and training of the local authority you will find strategies to deal with most situations.
We decided to foster because our own children had grown up and we still felt we had a lot to offer. Even though fostering can be very rewarding it can also be quite challenging and stressful, but we would however say that for us the positives out way the negatives.
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