Reaping the rewards of caring for children is one Isle resident, who spoke exclusively to the Bells during national Foster Care Fortnight.
Marina Taylor, aged 63, of North Street in Crowle, has been fostering youngsters for 19 years, having already brought up three children of her own.
And while North Lincolnshire Council is encouraging others to step forward and make a difference, Marina explains the huge benefits foster caring gives to the adults and the children.
Marina, who is a retired support worker who used to deal with children with behavioural problems, said: “I decided to do it when my children got older. I have a big house and it needed filling. I saw a poster in Woods Supermarket (now Tesco) and I thought I’m going to enquire about it.
“I had to go through ‘choosing to foster’ training, a family assessment, a CRB check and they look into your background to ensure everything is safe.
“I have been fostering for 19 years, I’ve done mostly long term which I prefer, the longest was 14 years, that’s because you can get them interested in things, you can have an input. Mine have been aged between four and 17-18.
“The most I had at once was four – my 14-year long term and a family of three that didn’t want to get split up and they spent two years with me while they got sorted.”
She added: “I can’t see me ever stopping. It keeps you young and in touch with what’s going on today. I’m 63 going on 17.
“My family have been absolutely fine with it, my 16-year-old actually did the training course with me.”
She added: “It’s not all been plain sailing. There have been extremely difficult times but when you’re in crisis there is 100 per cent support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I can pick up the phone at any time and there is someone there for me.”
And for those considering fostering, she advised: “You’ve just got to try it. If you don’t have a go, you’ll never know. Scunthorpe Social Services are 100 per cent behind the carers, they’re a fantastic team and that makes it all the more easier, knowing you’ve for the support.
* Case study 1
The young girl I had for 14 years went on to get 21 qualifications, going on to college to do health and social care.
She has a baby now but she is going back to uni. That’s the joy of doing it, if you’ve helped them to succeed.
* Case study 2
I had one boy who is now 18 and living independently. When he came to me he had been excluded from school and had to go into 7KS which deals with badly behaved children. He was a very angry young man but within six months I got him reintegrated into secondary school and he left with qualifications.
He is now into his third year at college. He is a nice calm young man but when he came to me he didn’t know how to express himself because of the background he came from. He’s fantastic.
Here are just some of the reasons a teenager would say why you should consider caring for them:
Everyone deserves to be special to someone.
We sleep through the night – often half of the morning as well.
Every teenager deserves a loving family – to rebel against.
We will keep you young at heart.
You’ll never be bored.
We’ll teach ‘u how 2 txt’.
We’ll teach you how to use your computer.
We need you to stick with us and guide us into adult life.
Throughout Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until Sunday, NLC is encouraging people to consider the rewards of fostering an older child and take their first steps towards making a difference.
The fostering service is focusing on recruiting more foster carers for teenagers by looking at the many positive aspects of caring for teenagers.
Annemarie Carlberg, service manager, fostering services team at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We believe that family care is the best provision of alternative care for most children or young people who become looked after. We offer foster carers in North Lincolnshire a high level of support, an excellent training package, financial support and we have a very positive, supportive fostering community.
“Throughout Foster Care Fortnight we are planning to increase our campaigns and encourage more people to come forward as foster carers particularly for teenagers and siblings. We are continually recruiting foster carers but over the next couple of weeks there will be plenty of opportunities for people to find out more about fostering at our drop-in events.
“As well as focusing on recruiting foster carers for teenagers and siblings we are encouraging local businesses to become Fostering Friendly Employers. All types of fostering have challenges and rewards. Fostering teenagers is no different, they will test you just as your own children may have done. They will laugh with you, they want you to support them and be interested in their education, and they will love having you to plan their prom outfit with them. You may work with teenagers; you probably have experience of teenagers in your family and let’s not forget you were a teenager once!
“Pick up the phone or go to one of the sessions, and be that person that you relied on when you were a teenager!”
Jackie Sanders, director at The Fostering Network, said: “As each year passes, we see more and more children coming into care. We need people who can open their heart, and their homes, to vulnerable children and young people who need support at a critical point in their young lives.
“A good foster carer will believe in the ambition of the children in their care in the same way they’d believe in the ambition of their own family members. A childhood is too short to waste, and foster carers can help those who haven’t had the best start begin to enjoy their life and grown into the adults that they want to be.”
The council has organised a number of information events where people can find out how to become a foster carer and what’s involved:
Today (Thursday, June 11) at Brigg Farmers’ Market from 9.30am to 4.30pm;
Saturday, June 13 at Scunthorpe Market from 9.30am to 4.30pm;
Sunday, June 14 at Appleby Country Fayre from 11am to 5pm;
As part of Foster Care Fortnight the fostering services team will also focus on fostering siblings groups and be launching the Fostering Friendly Employers scheme. Keep an eye out for further information or contact the team on 01724 297024 or visit click here