Foster carers share why they care
As part of the Fostering Network’s ‘Foster Care Fortnight’, three foster carers are sharing why they choose to foster for the county council.
The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #WhyWeCare and it is hoped that it will inspire new foster carers to come forward. The county council has just 236 fostering households in Gloucestershire and needs many more.
Foster carers come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a wide range of life and work experiences with them. The reasons why people become foster carers vary as you’d expect but they all have one thing in common, the desire to make a real difference to a child’s life.
Steve Hutchinson and his wife have been fostering for the council for 28 years. Having both worked with children in their respective careers, they saw what difficult times some children were going through and were keen to offer support.
Steve said: “So many children need help, we can’t help them all but we can help one child at a time by taking them into our home, helping them to sort out what is going on around them and giving them a really good start in life.”
Amanda Spaull’s inspiration to foster came from her own childhood experience of being brought up by her father from the age of 11. “As I grew older I came to realise not every child is as lucky as I was, but every child should have someone who cares for them, who can offer security.”
Amanda and her husband Graham, who have two children of their own, have fostered for the past three years: “As parents we feel we can open our home and offer security, love, care and attention to children who need it.”
Teacher Linda Zieba thought she would be ineligible to foster as a single person, working full time with a teenage daughter of her own, but this is a common misconception and she has been fostering for over ten years now. Linda was inspired to foster after one of her pupils confided in her that she would be homeless over the weekend and needed help. It planted a seed which made her realise that she really wanted to look after other young people.
Linda is passionate about fostering teenagers for the county council saying: “I live in the area, I teach in the area and I have always worked for the local authority so for me it was the obvious choice. The support I get is phenomenal.”
Chris Spencer, Director of Children’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Everyone’s inspiration to become a foster carer is different but they are united in their goal of wanting to change a child’s life for the better. We are enormously grateful to all of our foster carers who open their hearts and their homes to children in need.
“It really is a very rewarding role, which is why our foster carers stay with us for many years. If you have ever considered fostering please get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about how we can support you to make a difference to a young life.”
You need to be over 21 to foster with a spare room in your home. Visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering or call 01242 532654 for more information.
Watch a short video featuring Steve, Amanda and Linda.