A Knowsley carer says fostering is the best thing she’s ever done and wants more people to try it.
Joanne’s 43 and has been fostering babies and toddlers for three years and loves every minute.
It’s Foster Care Fortnight from May 14 to 27 and she’s calling on other people to give it a go.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “I can’t think of anything better to do.
“I love working with the children and making a difference.
“I try to do all I can to make the child I’m looking after happy and to develop.
“If, after that, it’s possible for them to go back home, that’s wonderful or if they go for adoption, that’s wonderful too.”
The foster mum knew from an early age that she’d never be able to have children of her own, but always had a strong maternal instinct.
She first applied to become a foster mum when she was 40.
“I wanted to get all of my partying days out of the way first!
“The application process is thorough which is important as becoming a foster parent is a tremendous responsibility.
“I had to write an account of my own life and I loved that! It made me realise how lovely my own childhood had been and all the more determined to help other children.”
She’s had lots of support from social workers in Knowsley and an experienced foster carer acted as her mentor in the first year.
A social worker helped her with the initial application and training and she can ring her supervising social worker if she ever has a query.
“It can be emotional, particularly when you have to hand a child back that you’ve looked after for a while
“But I just remind myself that I’ve given that child all I can and they’re now moving on. Then the next child comes and it begins all over again!”
Knowsley and 22 other councils across the North West are again joining together to highlight the need for more foster carers during Foster Care Fortnight as part of the ongoing You Can Foster campaign.
It stresses that there is no ‘typical’ carer – they might be single, married or living together, in a heterosexual or same sex relationship.
Knowsley’s fostering team has a number of events planned during Foster Care Fortnight where people can find out more.
May 10 - 11am - 2pm, Tesco’s in Prescot Retail Park.
May 14 11am - 2pm, Huyton town centre
May 15 11am - 3pm Drop in at the River Alt Resource Centre, Woolfall Heath Avenue, Huyton
May 17 10.30am -2pm Asda, Huyton
May 21 11am - 2pm, Huyton town centre
May 23 5pm - 8.30pm Knowsley Hall, as part of Knowsley Active Challenge
May 28 6pm - 8pm Open Evening at the River Alt Resource Centre, Woolfall Heath Avenue, Huyton
Cllr Graham Wright, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said:
“The campaign message is simple – if you’ve room in your heart and a room in your home, we want to hear from you.
“We want to dispel some of the myths and show that anyone with the right qualities can become a foster carer.
“In return, the foster service will give them training and practical and emotional support.”
“If you’d like to find out more please visit the Knowsley Council website or call the Foster Service on 443 3958.”