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Julia & Barry’s 12 year fostering journey

The West Midlands is facing a critical shortage of 770 foster families, with many children and young people in urgent need of care.  We spoke to a couple living in Worcester who foster with us. They have shared their story, explaining how they became foster carers and how they’re helping change the lives of young people in Worcester.

Julia and Barry recently celebrated their 12th year as foster carers. The couple has looked after five young people in total, as well as several short-term respite care placements. They have been married for almost 30 years and first considered fostering in 1993 when their own children were aged two and seven. In the end this didn’t happen, but once the couple’s own children were older and living more independently, the couple felt it was the right time to think about fostering once again.

Julia got in touch with our team shortly after, and she and Barry started the application process.  We then guided them through an in-depth training programme, providing them with all the information they’d need to start their journey as foster carers. Julia left her part-time job at a high-end retailer, and took on temporary shift work as a delivery driver, allowing her to remain flexible in the event of taking on a foster child.

The couple currently foster three young children.  Commenting on their newly extended family, Julia said:

“We’ve become a really close-knit family, and it’s been fantastic to see the kids’ relationships blossom.  

“We know when to take time for ourselves and ask for support.  My daughter, who works in social care, has been amazing and offers us respite care when we need a break.  The Five Rivers team are also great at being there to help when we need it, and their training programmes have really enhanced our ability to care for our placements.”

Martin Leitch, director of fostering services at Five Rivers said:

“Julia and Barry’s story is a truly heart-warming account of the goodness that foster families can bring to the lives of young people in need.”

People from all walks of life can become foster carers as long as they are over 21 years of age, including single people, cohabiting couples, same-sex couples and people living in rented accommodation are all eligible, the only requirement is a spare room for each foster child.

For more information about fostering opportunities with us, call 0345 266 0272 or email

*All names have been changed to protect the identities of their foster children.

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