We had the pleasure of speaking with Warrington foster carers Paula (54) and Dave (54), who have been providing care for children in Cheshire for the past five years. Their motivation to become a fostering family stemmed from Paula’s career as a childminder and her desire to make a difference to the lives of children. Let’s delve deeper into their experience and gain insights into the positive impacts and challenges of fostering.
Why did you become a foster carer?
“To make a difference for the children in our care, we like to make the children feel a huge part of our family and due to our own children being older we felt we could make that difference.”
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
“Paula and I are both full time foster carers and Mockingbird deputies for The Toucans. We have five birth children and seven grandchildren. We were delighted to be long-term matched to our foster children in April 2021, which means they’ll stay living with us until they are at least 18 years old. We loved our first holiday aboard with the children to Turkey in August 2022.
Until very recently our youngest birth child, Aaron (25), also still lived in the family home and is a great part of our support network. We enjoy lots of activities that our foster children choose to do; He enjoys playing football and she dances six days a week due to being in a dance comp squad. She is a very talented young lady! We also enjoy family time with the children’s birth family and extended family. We understand the importance for our children to maintain their birth links where possible.
How many children have you fostered and what types of fostering have you done?
“Two siblings, long term. They were our first placement”
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer or starting the process?
“Fostering isn’t easy, although when you visibly see a difference that you have made and how far the children have come with your love, care and support, this is very rewarding…but of course we still have our off days like any other family!”
What have been the positives of fostering?
“The positives of fostering for us as a family is that we feel we have made a huge difference for our children, and we are so very proud of them both.”
What have been the challenges?
“Behaviours; Adhd. Although, we have been supported every step of the way and have seen huge improvement with the continued support.”
What changes have you seen in the children you have fostered?
“They have both achieved so much it would be impossible to list them all! However, our foster daughter is doing so well in school that she is a young leader, a role model to other students. She has also placed third in her 3rd dance competition”.
What small things have made a big impact?
“I would say consistency. Routine has helped us to bring out the best in our children.”
What have been your best memories so far?
“It has to be our last holiday watching how happy the children were. Priceless”.
What impact has fostering had on your family?
“Definitely a positive impact. It’s not always easy but having a good support network gives us some down time occasionally. Although we do like to involve the children in most events and activities.”
How do you find the support we give you? Do you have close relationships with other foster carers?
“We have lots of support from our Supervising Social Worker, Children’s Social Worker and we are also a part of the Mocking Bird constellation ‘The Toucan’s’ offering our support as deputies to Gill and Terry. The children enjoy the events organised and we have made many friends within our constellation. We have also made some really good friends within our wider Warrington fostering family who have been a great support when needed. Warrington carers are very supportive of each other.”
Do you have any pets? How do they help the children you foster?
“We have a Yorkshire terrier, Joey 9, he’s set in his ways. Then there’s also Lola and Poppy, both Pomeranians. They are all good with the children. Our foster daughter likes to teach Lola and Poppy tricks.”
In their words, how do the children you look after describe you?
“Good sense of humour, caring and say Paula is very mother like.”
Through their unwavering commitment to providing a loving family environment, Paula and Dave have witnessed tremendous growth and accomplishments in the children they foster. While fostering comes with its challenges, Paula and Dave’s positive impact shines through. With the support of her local authority and the close bonds formed with other foster carers, they continue to create a nurturing space where children can thrive. Their dedication, along with their loving family and even their pets, demonstrates the profound difference foster carers like Paula and Dave can make.