Halton Foster Carers

Read the stories of people who have fostered in Halton below. Learn more about their concerns, memories and triumphs. Each fostering journey is different and the Halton Fostering Team are here to help and support every step of the way

Alison, 36 from Runcorn admits “I’ve had my moments, where I’ve come close to giving up but I’m the type of person to let it all out (usually over a brew with my Mum) move on and get over it. What keeps me going is knowing that, yeah I might be stressing one day but the next we will all be having a lovely picnic in the park the next. I’ve been able to see changes in the kids that I look after from start to finish. I’ve moved 6 children onto adoption and I hope to keep going”.

Alison’s advice to for new foster carers is to 1. Consider the support system (who will you rely on? family, Social Workers, your friends), 2. Do it for the right reasons (make sure you can offer a high standard of life) and 3. Think ahead (and then further ahead). Some things Alison did to prepare herself for her first placement was to arrange with her social worker a delivery of free equipment (beds, drawers, prams, and cots), child proof her house (blind cords etc.) and find out about what the new arrival likes to eat. We asked Alison to describe in 3 words what she thinks about fostering with Halton Borough Council to which she said “I Just Love it!” and even though that’s 4 words we’ve heard the message loud and clear!

Alison and birth son Jamie

Ida had given little thought to becoming a foster carer as she had dedicated her working life to nursing. Fostering became an obvious choice to Ida after her Mothers passing, she wanted to use the 5 bedroom home she found herself in and her skills to help vulnerable children in the place where she grew up- Widnes. Ida explained that she also saw fostering as opportunity to change her career path while still putting her nursing experience and training to good use.

“I saw the advert in the Weekly News, and it just really resonated with me. I didn’t call straight away but knew that I was going to the next day. It was very strange being the person seeking information rather than the person offering it and I was ever so surprised at how friendly and helpful the person on the other end of the phone was”

Ida

Jim and Alison have been married for 13 years and Jim who has been previously married has grown up children. They’ve been fostering for just over 6 years.

The decision to start fostering came after they saw an advert in their local paper and called to find out more information. At their initial fostering meeting they felt that they were treated lovely and felt really valued. It lasted about an hour and set the scene for the process ahead.

They said that the assessment process that followed was enjoyable but quite intrusive at times as you were asked to write stories about your backgrounds and the social workers wanted to speak to their friends and family. But they say as long as you’ve no skeletons hidden in the cupboards, you’ve nothing to worry about!

After all, you know that it’s only as thorough as it is for a very good reason.

Jim and Alison

Will and Jane are 43 and 46 years old, they’ve 2 girls aged 15 and 10 and have lived in the Halton area for the past 10 years. Jane willingly admits that fostering was never something she had seriously considered doing as a career because she felt it would take her out of her comfort zone. So it was Will who was the driving force behind their decision as he felt that it was something they’d be really good at, that would stretch them and also help them to do their duty to society.

Following their initial enquiry, Jane was quite nervous about the whole process and despite having been a child minder was concerned about looking after other people’s children, as well as meeting lots of new people at the fostering meeting. Will by contrast was extremely positive and confident. His only concern was that Jane might think this was just another impulsive idea of his. He apparently has quite a few!!!

Will and Jane

Eleanor 59 and Mike 64 had always wanted children of their own, but unfortunately were unable to. So, 22 years ago they decided to approach Halton Borough Council to find out more about adopting a child. They eventually adopted a 3 year old little girl, with cystic
fibrosis. And when the Halton foster team asked, a while later, if they could help out by looking after a little boy for a 2 week short term placement, they happily agreed.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since. Their first placement was an 11 month old baby boy, whose parents had drug problems. He had a condition called foetal alcohol syndrome – he didn’t stop crying and didn’t sleep. He stayed with Eleanor and Mike for 18 months, when a lovely family was found for him. They say the hardest part about short term fostering is that bit – the letting go. But he’s now 11 years old and still in touch. A few days later the phone went and Eleanor and Mike were welcoming 9 month old and 3 year old brothers into their lives.

Eleanor and Mike

Aged 40 and 39 respectively, Simon and Katie have 3 children aged 18, 14 and 12. They live in Widnes and felt compelled to foster as they really believed that they could make a positive difference to the lives of other children.

Right from the start they felt extremely valued by Halton’s fostering service as they received great help and support at every step of their fostering journey. They also found that there was a wealth of information given to them about the role of a foster carer and the specific needs of children in care. What’s more, the training although a little daunting at first proved to be really interesting. Especially once they overcame their nerves and realised that everyone was there for the same reason – to learn new and valuable skills.

Simon and Katie will never forget the feeling of excitement when they heard that they’d got their first placement. In fact the first year of foster caring passed in a blur of meetings, training, paperwork and of course meeting the needs of the children they were caring for.

Simon and Katie

Susan and Bill are ‘sixty-something’s’ from Widnes who are married with three grown up children and as yet, no grandchildren, although they do live in hope!

After retiring and with their own children having flown the nest they felt that they had room in their home and life to consider fostering. And when they saw an advert in the local paper looking for foster carers for Halton Borough Council, they decided to make a tentative enquiry. Their only niggling worry was that while they knew that their experience of bringing up three children might stand them in good stead, they were a bit concerned that they might be considered too old. However, they needn’t have worried because at their first meeting, they were quickly assured that age was no barrier at all.

Susan and Bill