Many foster carers feel inspired to look after children and young people in need and Karen and her partner Chris are no exception.
The couple, who have been fostering with their local authority for the past four years, never had children of their own but always loved them.
When Karen found herself at home following an illness, she felt like she had more to give and a friend, who was a youth worker, suggested they’d be a great fit for fostering.
Karen said: “After just one information session, we were completely sold!”
Chris continued to work and Karen became a full time foster carer looking after children of all ages, but they are well known for fostering teenagers.
Karen said: “At first, we wondered why all the information was needed but, as you go through the process and then start caring for children, you understand the importance of it all.
“It was a very personal process but there is no nicer feeling than getting accepted by the panel.
“We currently care for teenagers and one is on a special guardianship order so will be part of our family permanently, which is amazing.
“We have done a mix of different types of fostering and the children who are with us now will be here long-term on a permanent basis but we have done emergency and respite care in the past.”
Karen has helped many children and young people from challenging backgrounds and together with Chris they have had a positive impact on their lives.
Karen said: “It’s great to see them settled into a healthy routine and the knowledge that they can trust you is massive for some of them, especially if they have been let down by adults in their lives previously.
“Seeing the children happy and healthy and knowing that you have given them a good home is very satisfying.”
As a family, Karen and Chris and the children in their care enjoy a weekly movie with treats so that they can all spend quality time together.
They made friendships with fellow foster carers and Karen is also a mentor offering help and advice to new people to the role.
The support network that is set up for each family has proved invaluable and the social workers are always on hand to sort out any issues quickly.
For more information about fostering visit foster4.co.uk or call 01925 444100.
Are you ready to take the next step and find out a little bit more about fostering?
Are you feeling inspired to become a foster carer like Karen and Chris?
Foster4’s virtual information sessions have proven popular with prospective carers during the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to be held virtually over the next few weeks.
Attending an information session can be the first step on your journey to becoming a foster carer.
The sessions provide excellent insight into the role and are an opportunity to find out more, asking any questions before an initial visit to your home from the fostering teams.
The next 45-minute live session will be held remotely on Thursday, September 9 at 10am and there will be another on Tuesday, September 28 at 12.30pm.
For anyone unable to attend one of the virtual sessions, there is a 15-minute introduction video about fostering, the process involved and the support you can expect to receive from Foster4.
You can also hear some practical advice from a local foster carer, where she talks about her own experience of fostering.
For more information, to watch the video or to sign up to attend a session, please visit www.foster4.co.uk/info-sessions/