Lesley, parent and child fostering
Lesley Mahoney from Bournemouth, fosters alongside her two daughters and specialises parent and child placements where she looks after mothers and their young children, helping them remain together as a family unit.
Lesley, 57, who has three grown-up children of her own and still works part-time as a driving instructor, was encouraged into fostering by her eldest daughter, Dominique, who has been fostering for more than 10 years. Lesley said: “Fostering was something my husband John and I were considering before he passed away so I wanted to continue his legacy and give it a try.
“I love the satisfaction that comes with looking after mums and their babies, my job is to help them become more independent in looking after their children and to give them a shot at being a real family unit. The mums who come to stay with me are from all types of backgrounds, some have escaped abusive relationships, others have mental health issues and I’ve had quite a few youngsters under 18 with their little ones. Some stay for the minimum three month placement but I’ve had others with me for up to 10 months.
“The youngest baby I’ve looked after was just seven days old and the care I provide can be anything from taking on most of the responsibility for the child, even having very young babies sleep in my bedroom with me, to just keeping a watching eye over both mother and child and being ready to step in if my help is needed. It is so lovely to see them grow into their roles as mothers during their time with me and I’m happy to say the majority of the placements I’ve had so far remain together and move on to more independent accommodation.”
Lesley continues to keep in touch with many of her foster placements and has regular calls and visits from them so she can continue to watch the children grow up. One, who lives nearby has even become a surrogate grandchild and his mum a lifelong friend.