Lauren and Danny's fostering experience
Lauren and Danny have been fostering for almost 5 years and are currently fostering an older child and a teenager as well as having a 6-month-old baby of their own. Lauren explains in her own words their fostering experience.
"I began my career working in family law and had represented parents whose children were in foster care. This gave me a real insight into the start some children had in life. I felt children deserved a better future.
When we applied to be foster carers we both worked full time and were assessed initially as respite carers. Since then I gave up my business as a fish and chip shop owner to become a full-time foster carer. I was worried about going from having a guaranteed salary to zero salary – when we sold the shop we didn't have a placement but within three days we had a sibling group.
Before we started fostering we had no childcare experience other than taking care of nieces and nephews for a couple of hours. When I changed my career and bought a fish and chip shop, the business was located close to a secondary school and I feel that my experience in the shop had helped me learn to build up a rapport with teenagers.
Both our fostering placements are part of our family and having our baby recently has helped cement the family and given the boys a role as older brothers.
'You can see the change in their confidence. I feel like I've found my vocation'
We do prefer teenagers as they generally want to talk. It might take a bit of probing but they'll usually tell you what's wrong, and you can have a real laugh with them. The main problems we have experienced have been around drug use and going missing from home - and a bit of backchat but you expect that from teenagers!
You can make fostering as busy or not as you like; depending on how much you want to get involved with it as a whole. I have a routine, I get up with the boys and ensure they have eaten breakfast and are sorted for the day ahead. I am involved in lots of support groups as well as being on the committee for Rochdale's celebration event for young people. We've done a lot of training which is invaluable when you don't know what issues a child will have they come through your door.
I find the children's achievements at school the most rewarding, whenever a child achieves anything at school, for them just to be normal and as good as their peers are really rewarding. They don't have to pass their GCSEs fantastically but if they've improved we feel a real sense of pride. You can see the change in their confidence. I feel like I've found my vocation.
If you're thinking about fostering do it – or at least enquire and look into it. It's been the best thing we've ever done".