His parents fostered for 40 years, now he follows in their footsteps and urges others to do the same
As part of Foster Care Fortnight, one of our foster carers, Kerry, from the South West of England, shares his experience in the hope it will inspire others to think about fostering.
Kerry was a marketing and sales manager, and his wife Tracy was a child minder for 10 years, before the couple made the decision to foster. Kerry’s own parents fostered for over 40 years, and this experience combined with his wife Tracy’s background working with children allowed the couple to expand on their skills to provide a safe environment for youngsters in need.
Speaking about his decision to foster, Kerry said: “For over forty years, my mum and dad provided long-term foster care to four children, cared for another 20 on a short-term, respite basis, adopted five other children and raised myself and my three birth siblings. It was such a full household and I loved being part of an extended family. I’m still in touch with many of my foster and adopted siblings today. I always knew that I’d eventually want to follow in my mum and dad’s footsteps and become a foster carer myself later in life, because I saw how it can help turn a life around.”
In 2007, when the couple’s eldest of three children left the family nest, Kerry and Tracy began looking into fostering opportunities available in their community. Today, the couple look after three teenagers including Kerry and Tracy’s foster son, who has been living with the couple since they first started fostering in 2007. Kerry’s family history of fostering has paved the way for the couple to become inspiring and dedicated foster parents.
“To anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer, it is important to be resilient, empathetic and have a sense of humour. There will be moments of trial and error, but if you have a good support system and rely on your social worker, and the other carers around you, you can provide an incredible life for someone who needs it.”
For more information on foster care, contact Five Rivers Child Care on 03452 660 272 or www.five-rivers.org.