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Dartmoor foster carer encourages fostering

A teacher-turned-foster-carer, from Dartmoor, is calling on others to think about opening up their homes to children in need as more people across England face bleak employment prospects as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a specialist unit teacher for teenagers for over 15 years, Raffaella from South Devon has dedicated her career to supporting young people. After witnessing many of her students lacking emotional support, and with her own children having grown up, Raffaella began the application to become a foster carer.

In 2013, Raffaella was approved to become a full-time foster carer, alongside her partner Paul, and left her job in education. Since then, the couple have cared for four young people on short-term placements. In December 2016, Raffaella and her family welcomed their first long-term placement, a young boy, who will remain in their care until he’s able to live independently as an adult.

Speaking about her decision to start fostering, Raffaella said: “I’ve always loved working with young people, particularly in a supportive role, and I really enjoyed my job as a specialist unit teacher, but I’d been doing that job for over 15 years. I just felt I wanted a change, mainly because I felt I could help more children and young people if I could spend more time with them so that I could offer them the emotional support that some of them really need, which is just not that possible in an educational role. It was then that I started looking into fostering and realised that it was exactly the kind of role I was looking for. I really couldn’t be happier now, and I do feel like I’m helping to improve a child’s or young person’s life which is the sole reason I wanted to start fostering in the first place.”

Looking back to when her first long-term placement arrived, Raffaella said: “When our foster child arrived at our home, he saw a Christmas tree, stockings hanging from the mantle and presents under the tree for the first time as it was so close to Christmas. When he saw all of the decorations, he looked at Paul and I and didn’t know what to do. He was only three years old at the time, so the decorations were very confusing and overwhelming at first. He’s a bit older now, but Christmas is always such a special time for him – he loves all our traditions, and we’re so pleased he’s able to enjoy them as part of our family.”

Speaking about the need for more foster carers across the region, Raffaella said: “If you have an open mind and an open heart, a career in fostering will change your life and the child’s life. Having fostered a number of young people and our current foster child, the whole experience has been amazing for our family. I’d really urge anyone to consider a career in fostering, particularly with Five.”

For more information on fostering, book a call with us or you can apply to foster here.

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