COLUMN: Foster a child and make a difference

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Fostering is caring for a child or young person in your own home when they are unable to stay with their own families. By becoming a foster carer you can make a real difference to a child’s life.

Foster carers come from all backgrounds and relationships, from any ethnic or religious background and can either be a home owner or living in rented accommodation.

What’s important is your interest in caring for a child.

Newly-approved Nottinghamshire foster carers Laura and Stephen have been fostering for seven months.

They have paid tribute to their late son whose death inspired them to take up fostering. Corey died three years ago due to APECED syndrome, an auto immune disease, but had told his parents he was keen for them to foster as he loved children.

Laura, 39, said: “Corey had said how much he would like another brother or sister and was keen on the idea of our family fostering children.

“We also feel we are giving something back by helping children. We have found the process both challenging and exciting but very rewarding.”

Stephen, also 39, added: “It is great to see the children blossoming and growing, and we are getting a great sense of achievement out of it. Our aim is to give the children some lovely memories.”

The couple, who also have an 18-year- old daughter Chloee and pet dog Sonic, had heard about fostering in the past and successfully completed their assessment last year.

Laura and Stephen include the children in everything they do, including taking trips to visit friends, Chessington World of Adventures, Yorkshire Wildlife Park and a holiday to Cornwall.

One of the children was very withdrawn when he was placed initially, but as he settled, and with nurturing from Laura and Stephen, he is now thriving and full of energy while his sibling has been successfully toilet trained!

It is a truly inspiring story and there are many people like Laura and Stephen who are enjoying foster caring in Nottinghamshire.

Most people can be considered as foster carers, but there are some requirements. You must have a spare room, be aged over 21 and if you have children they must be aged over one.

If you are a couple you must have been living together for more than two years.

For more information about becoming a foster carer, visit: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering