David and Sandra Queen

Archived: Posted January 19, 2014

An Ayrshire couple who have looked after 56 children over 23 years in fostering have said all you need is an ‘open mind and big heart’ to be good foster carers as they back a campaign to recruit more people to the career.

David and Sandra Queen, from Coylton, made a plea for more foster carers to come forward to meet a shortfall of 850 in Scotland during Foster Care Fortnight.

Former BMW worker David, who is now a full-time carer along with his wife, explained how the couple started in fostering.

He said: “At the time I was working full-time with BMW and my wife had been at home looking after our two children.

“They had gone off to school by now and my wife was getting bored at home and after watching a TV programme about fostering she felt it was something she could do so we put in the calls and it started from there.

“If I’m honest at first I never thought we could take to it but once we got our first placement we were hooked and 23 years and 56 children later we still love it.

“You never forget the children you have had in your home – they are always in your heart and in your mind. I remember every one of the 56 children we have looked after.”

One of the biggest rewards from the 23 years in fostering for David has been seeing the difference he and his wife have made to the lives of the young people they have cared for.

Fostering has also had a positive impact on the couple’s family with their own two children being a major part of the process.

David said: “Our own children have been absolutely fantastic and we are really proud of them. I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard for them at times as many of these young people who come to us are angry at their situation and have had a difficult life.

“But fostering has really shaped them. My son works with disabled adults and my daughter studied psychology at St Andrews University. They are a credit to themselves.”

In his spare time, David has a passion for dogs and started showing his two Clumber Spaniels in competition five years ago.

He said: “Sadly one of the dogs died in January but the other – Bailey – is the current Clumber Spaniel show champion in the UK.

“We get the kids involved with walking and coming to shows as well if they are interested. The shows are all over the country so it has been really good for them and it has allowed them to meet lots of people and interact with other kids.”

One of the aims of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, organised by charity the Fostering Network, is to dispel myths about who can foster and show that a wide variety of people from all backgrounds can bring many different skills and qualities to the role.

David added: “The biggest skills a foster carer should have are an open mind and a big heart. They also need to be caring and understanding.

“There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ foster carer as there is no such thing as ‘typical’ foster child. No two children are the same and have different complications in their lives.”

How can we help?

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
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