Chesterfield foster carer changing young people’s lives
With people across England facing bleak employment prospects as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one of our foster carers, Cathy, believes that more people should consider fostering in this time of uncertainty.
Full-time single foster carer, Cathy, has looked after five children since she started fostering five years ago. Becoming a foster carer was a natural progression for Cathy, who despite not having children of her own, gained plenty of experience during her 25-year career as a primary school teacher.
In 2008, Cathy took a career break from teaching in the UK and spent some time traveling abroad, working in international schools in Russia, the Middle East and China. Having made the decision to not continue full-time teaching when she returned, Cathy instead took on part-time supply work. It was shortly after this that an advert in a local magazine about a foster carer happened to catch her attention.
Since she started fostering in 2015, Cathy has cared for children and young people for anything from a few weeks to up to three years. She also provides respite care – which is when a foster child stays with a carer for a period of a few days or up to a week in an emergency or to give their current foster parent a break.
Cathy is currently looking after a 13-year-old girl who will have been with her for three years this August and will stay until she’s at least 18. The pair recently welcomed a new addition to the family, Obi-Wan Kenobi, their Jackahuahua puppy.
Having enjoyed her 25 years teaching young children, Cathy finds her career in fostering a positive continuation of caring and nurturing children. She said: “With fostering I’m helping nurture these children in a much deeper way than when I was a teacher and I get to see their emotional development. The success we celebrate is helping them move towards them being the best versions of themselves at every level.”
With Cathy being a single carer, she values the support she’s able to get from her own mother, who has been approved to support Cathy to look after her foster child. Cathy said: “It’s really nice to have a grandmother figure around and means there’s someone else in the family she knows she can go to aside from me. Many people ask how I do this on my own but I’m never without support from my family, my local church, and Five Rivers.”