Foster carer who looked after over 200 children celebrates her 100th birthday
Mrs Joan Barker who fostered over 200 children for the county council celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday 2 December.
Joan began fostering together with her late husband Doug back in the sixties. The couple, of Wotton-under-edge who had 3 children of their own, provided a safe and loving home to 219 children over the years. They found fostering to be hugely rewarding and Doug later included their experiences in his book ‘Another Cup of Tea, Mr Barker?’
Joan has kept in touch with many of the children she looked after throughout their adult lives and her home is surrounded with photographs of them, including a special ‘wedding wall’ featuring the wedding photographs of those who went on to marry.
Tammy Wheatley, Head of Fostering at the county council visited Joan at her home on Monday and presented her with a birthday card and a bouquet of flowers from everyone at the county council.
Tammy said: “When I heard it was Joan’s 100th birthday I was very keen to meet her and wish her well. It was lovely to hear all about her experience of fostering and to find out how much things have changed over the years.
“Providing a safe and stable home to so many children is a huge achievement and it’s clear that Joan has made a real difference to so many young lives, even inspiring her own daughter to become a foster carer too. It was an absolute privilege to meet her.”
Chris Spencer, Director of Children’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council said “Fostering is a valuable service for young people and the community and we are very grateful to foster carers like Joan who do so much to improve the lives of children who are looked after away from their families. I would like to wish Joan a very Happy 100th Birthday.”
There are currently more than 700 children in care in Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council has 270 fostering homes and needs many more. Find out more about fostering by visiting www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering