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Foster carer couple and their birth daughter tells their fostering story

Special Educational Needs teacher Bridget followed her heart to foster –  encouraged by her own four children.

Bridget teaches children with special educational needs at a school and fosters alongside her partner Paul, a London taxi driver.

It was Bridget’s oldest daughter,  Jade who encouraged her Mum to start fostering, it was then put to sister Josie and brother Jack who were both in agreement as it was something she had wanted to do for a long time. All three children are in their twenties.

Bridget says: “I’ve always wanted to foster, right from when my own children were little, I knew it was something I’d do one day. Eventually, when my oldest three left home I thought the time was right as we had a spare room and plenty of love to offer a child. Of course I was nervous at first, who wouldn’t be at the thought of letting a child you don’t know into your home, but Jade encouraged me to look into it and I haven’t looked back since.”

In the last two and a half years, the couple have provided a safe place to live for three foster children, some on short-term placements and one for as long as 21 months, and they are still in touch with most of them. And because of Bridget’s background in special educational needs, she has been able to take on some young people with challenging behaviour and mental health issues.

She continues: “My approach is to treat every child who comes to us exactly as I would one of my own. They have the same rules as my daughter who lives with us and I expect them to behave as she does. I think often people are frightened of children who’ve had a rough time of it but I’ve found that often they have a lot of respect for you as you’re giving them a home when they need it most.”

Independent Five Rivers Fostering has a large network of foster carers across the London Boroughs. The family are currently awaiting the arrival of their next placement.

Bridget’s teenage daughter, Jayley, still lives at home and naturally one of the biggest concerns when the family began fostering was how she would react. “Jayley has been fantastic and she often becomes the best of friends with our foster children.

They tend to be closer in age to Jayley than her older brother and sisters so she likes having someone to hang out with. I’m lucky because she is a laid back young lady and takes it all in her stride but what really impressed me was that when we were undertaking our assessment to become foster carers, Five Rivers provided her with training too to make sure she knew what to expect and that she was happy with the idea of a foster child coming into her home” Bridget continues.

With four children and six grandchildren, Bridget and Paul are never short of support when it comes to childcare and at the weekend they place a real emphasis on family time, with everyone gathering for Sunday dinner, walks in the forest and meals out, something many of their foster children have never had before.

Bridget says: “I am so glad I took the plunge and started fostering, we have never looked back and already two of my friends are starting to foster as a result of seeing the difference we’ve made to the lives of the children we’ve looked after. It is heart-breaking when you have to say goodbye to them but seeing the changes in them after a relatively short time with us is remarkable.

A career in foster care offers many benefits including competitive rates of pay and flexible working. For more information about fostering visit

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