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Pat, a single carer aged 61, has been a specialist foster carer for Stockport Council’s fostering service for 5 years, fostering 17 year old Meg*

Pat recalls…
Meg came to me a couple of years ago when she was 15 and we’ve had some tough times, but it’s been worth it. When she first moved in with me, a lot of her behaviour was down to wanting attention and testing boundaries. I kept reminding myself that there was a reason for Meg’s behaviour - something in her history had caused it - and it had built up over a long time.

It’s not that different from having your own teenage children, you just have to remember that these kids are more vulnerable. When your own children push you and test the boundaries, they know in their hearts that they are loved and safe. These kids don’t have that safety net. They don’t have the security of knowing that someone will stick by them whatever they do. They need love, care and understanding – a lot of nurturing and routine.

It’s been wonderful to see her real sense of humour coming through. She’s back at school, making friends and developing pride in what she achieves. When she came to me she had no sense of self-worth at all. How sad is that?

Initially I thought that I’d be too old at 61 to do something like this but my age wasn’t a barrier.

As a specialist foster carer you are paid an annual professional fee of £28-£30K plus generous allowances and this rewarding role is a home-based, self-employed opportunity with four weeks per year annual leave.

Finally, the training and support given is excellent. It really makes you understand why these children display behaviour that drives people away from them when that’s really the last thing they want or need. They are just struggling kids and specialist fostering can often be the last real chance they have to turn their lives around. It is such a shame that there aren’t more of us. I keep trying to get my friends to consider doing it - it sounds clichéd but it really is the most rewarding thing.

* Name has been changed

If you think you could make a
real difference to a child’s life please
contact Stockport Council’s Fostering Team
0161 474 3400
www.stockport.gov.uk/fostering

As seen in MOOR Magazine – The Magazine for The Four Heatons