We recently caught up with foster carers Dawn and Louise who gave some advice for anyone thinking about fostering.
Hello, I’m Dawn, me and my partner Louise live in Southport. We have been fostering for Sefton Council for over 12 years and have looked after over 35 children.
We absolutely love it, all the children become part of our family. The older ones have been with us 10 years. They’re 21 and 16 now, they’re just our children and they always will be.
Chuckles, laughter, and milestones
Me and Louise also foster babies and toddlers so it’s a very exciting time when little ones come to us. With support from Sefton, we’ll get all their things organised and buy them some new toys and clothes. Sefton will always cover the cost of this.
When they’re here it’s just lovely to hear them laughing and their little chuckles. It just brightens up the house because they’re just so entertaining and it’s quiet when they’re not here.
Everyday they’re doing different things that amazes you, but it is those milestones that I love. When they’re starting nursery or their first day in school it’s not only massive for them, but it changes us and makes our heart grow.
They’re going to their forever home.
When it’s time for them to go, we know they are going to a happy place and that makes us feel so happy. They leave us these experiences and take a bit of us with them.
Then new children come and put a little bit back in our heart and we start again with this journey of us making them happy, giving them a good start in life and changing their lives as much as we can.
We never lose touch with any of the children even into adulthood. We still go on days out with the children and their new families, and we’re sent pictures so it’s great seeing the children coming on lovely.
Trying to keep up with all the birthdays is the hardest part!
The only rule is don’t rule yourself out.
There are misconceptions about fostering. As a same sex couple, we did wonder at first whether we would be accepted. In reality we had absolutely no issues with this at all and Sefton welcomed us with open arms and there has never been any problems with me and Louise being partners.
I really urge anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who may have doubts about being considered for fostering to please get in touch with Sefton Council. They are a very inclusive organisation and will gladly give you all of the information you need. I’m a foster carer mentor at Sefton so if you do get in touch, I’d be happy to chat with you.
Working life as foster carers
I think many people also rule themselves out of Fostering because they think they won’t be able to carry on working. Some may worry about this financially and many want to continue to work. All I’d say is please don’t let this put you off enquiring as many foster carers decide to continue to work and foster. Me and Louise have always had jobs and have just taken on our own business. It’s a children’s play centre in Maghull called Kids Cove and it’s lots of fun. All our carers and children are always there so we get to socialise too. As long as you can work it around your family and maybe have a bit of a support network in place it’s completely fine.
Talking of support networks
I’d say one of the best things about fostering for Sefton Council is the people you work with and the lifelong friends you make.
All us carers are so close we are like an extended family and of course new carers are always made to feel welcomed.
There’s always someone at the end of the phone, we visit each other, we go out together and Sefton do have activities for us and the children. You can also mind each other’s children if you have an appointment so it’s great for the children as everyone is a familiar face and it’s just like one big family.
I would honestly say if you’re ever considering fostering, please contact Sefton and find out more, it’s been the best thing me and Lou ever did.
It’s an amazing feeling being able to help children achieve lots of things which will make their start in life so much better, and it’s brought our family even closer together.
Sefton’s Foster Carers are paid for their skills, receive full training and support, plus allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/
People can also speak to one of the team by calling our freephone number on 0800 923 2777 or email email@example.com