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Fostering couple changing lives

Long-term foster carers with Five Rivers Child Care, Carl and Maria, are lending their voice to a call for more foster carers after providing life-changing support to two siblings for a decade.

Married for 20 years with five children, the Merseyside couple began fostering in 2006, when their youngest child Hazel was 13-years-old.

Molly* and Kate* joined the family in November 2009. Both babies were suffering from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, a disorder that affects children if their mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. After becoming foster parents to the little girls, the couple battled for a diagnosis for the children to ensure they received the ongoing support needed to live as normal a life as possible.

Carl had often thought of becoming a foster carer later in life. His grandparents had raised him owing to a challenging relationship with his own parents and this inspired him to want to provide a secure and loving home for a vulnerable child. He later convinced his wife Maria.

The couple has since cared for Molly* and Kate*, who are now aged 10 and 11, for almost the whole of the girls’ lives. With the experience of working with three fostering agencies,  the couple says that Five Rivers Child Care is the first to understand their unique case and help them explore every possible option to safeguard the future of the girls.

Carl said:

‘‘Sadly, the impact of being a child in care is often under-estimated. The girls were just babies when they joined our family and a lot of people, ourselves included, believed the girls wouldn’t suffer to the extent society expects teenagers in care to. Our journey has shown us that with fostering, you are always feeling your way, always hopeful that a loving environment will rub off on them. Nobody has all the answers and you just hope that the job you do will give them the strength to succeed.

‘‘Fostering can feel overwhelming at times, but we’ve discovered the best way to encourage the girls is to find their strengths. We give them the confidence to take up sports, play musical instruments. Music and dance relax Molly*, and Kate* enjoys horse riding and can be incredibly caring. Foster carers must understand that the children and young people they care for are who they are because of the cards they’ve been dealt, be patient and never give up.’’

*The names of the children have been changed to protect their identity.

Why consider fostering

In 2018 over 65,000 children are living with almost 55,000 foster families. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 8,100 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone, in order to ensure all fostered children can live with the right family for them.

Five Rivers Child Care is a national organisation which provides locally based support services to foster carers, children and young people, and their families through a range of child-centred practices.  Find out more about becoming a foster carer with Five Rivers 

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