Carers recognised for long standing dedication to fostering
Foster carers Judy and Steve Hutchinson from Hucclecote are being recognised by Gloucestershire County Council for their dedication to the young people in their care.
Judy and Steve have been fostering for the county council for over 23 years and in that time they have fostered 29 children. They usually foster on a short-term basis, including in an emergency and as respite carers, where they provide short-term care to allow regular carers to have a break.
They have also helped prepare young children to move to permanent homes with adoptive parents. Judy and Steve have two grown up sons of their own.
Steve and Judy said, "We began fostering because we wanted to make a difference and help some of the many children who through no fault of their own can't safely live with their birth families - at least for some time. Over the years the children have given us much fun and joy, though many have come with their challenges! We've had the privilege of seeing them settle in our home and respond to love and care.
"The most common response when people hear we are foster carers is 'I couldn't do that as I could never let them go'. This is one of the hardest aspects, but we feel that it is worth the pain and heartbreak of parting when you know that you've made a difference to that child and helped them to a better future. We're delighted that we're still in contact with many of the children who have lived in our home, and always love to see them again and hear how they are getting on."
Their work is being recognised by Gloucestershire County Council after they were nominated by their fostering social worker, Ed Lock. Ed said, "I nominated Steve and Judy in recognition of their 23 years of fostering, during which time they have helped young people go on to live better lives as a result of their care and dedication. I come away from my visits to Steve and Judy with a sense of hope and optimism that can so easily be forgotten in the line of work that we undertake together.
"The carers also provide training and informal mentoring to less experienced foster carers and are an intrinsic part of the Gloucester support network."
Zizzi Italian Restaurant at Gloucester Quays treated Judy and Steve to a meal on 22nd September, in recognition of their contribution to fostering.
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said, "Judy and Steve have done a brilliant job for many years giving our children a safe, loving home. It's a tremendous achievement to have cared for 29 children and given them the stability and care they need. They've made, and will continue to make, a huge difference and they thoroughly deserve this recognition."
Gloucestershire County Council is interested in hearing from anyone interested in fostering siblings, older children and teenagers.
All children are different and to meet their needs Gloucestershire County Council is looking for a wide variety of foster carers. There is no upper age limit to foster and people can be married, single, co-habiting, in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, a homeowner or renting a property. All applicants will need to be over 21 and have a spare room (or spare rooms for siblings) in their home.
For more information about fostering, please call the fostering recruitment team on 01242 532654 or visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering.