Karen and Craig’s Story

Archived: Posted January 11, 2017

With a new year underway many people will be making changes to their lives hoping to make a positive difference.  Few changes could be more powerful than the decision to become a foster carer, a big step which, once taken, can not only have a huge impact on a child’s life, but offer an exciting and important challenge full of great memories.  Here we look at the story behind foster carers Karen and Craig Dyke from Telford who foster with Foster Care Associates.

‘’Every small but positive step you make with a child doesn’t go unnoticed, they won’t forget it.’’

Karen and Craig Dyke from Telford have been foster carers with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for five  years. The couple initially started their fostering journey to support their best friend through a really difficult time, and have continued to welcome many children and young people into their home.

Reflecting on their decision to foster Karen said:  ‘’To be honest Craig and I had never considered fostering until I met my best friend Lyn who was a foster carer.  She was diagnosed with a terminal illness, which was when Craig and I decided to step in and support her. We became foster carers with FCA to help Lyn look after the young people in her care.   

‘’There was never a doubt about which fostering agency we would join. Lyn was already with FCA and she was the reason we decided to become foster carers in the first place. Her children needed our support and care and we were happy to help. Sadly my best friend has now passed away but we would never consider looking elsewhere, she loved FCA and so do we.’’

Over the past five years the couple has welcomed many children and young people into their home. Karen describes the variety of placements the couple have had in their care.  She said: ‘’Over the years we have looked after a number of children. Some as emergency placements, some on a respite basis and others much more long term – it’s been one big learning curve.

‘’We are currently looking after two teenagers, a 14 year old boy and a 17 year old young lady. Our birth son is also 17 years old which has made the transition smoother for us looking after children of similar ages.’’

The couple have received some really positive reactions from people when they open up about their experience as foster carers.  Karen said: ‘’When we mention that we’re foster carers people are genuinely quite shocked. Most people tell us that the reason they could never foster is because they wouldn’t be able to hand the children back. We try and explain that although that is one of the hardest things about fostering it’s all about making a difference to a child, about teaching them right from wrong, and that every child deserves a chance.

‘’Being able to care for my best friend’s foster daughter who is still in our care has been our best fostering achievement. Offering her some stability when Lyn passed away is something we hope will make a positive difference to her life.’’

Karen and Craig also share some of their biggest challenges and talk about the kind of support FCA offer to overcome these difficult periods.  Karen said: “We’ve experienced some challenging behaviour from some of the children we have cared for over the years, including extreme physical and mental outbursts.  Although this can be really tough to deal with at times, Craig and I try to remember that these children may have had a difficult start in life, which is something we hope to turn around.

‘’We have fantastic support, especially from our social workers, who are always at the end of the phone should we need them in a challenging situation or even just to have a rant to, when we are having a bad day. FCA offer therapy too which can be so useful in helping identify why a child might be acting a certain way.

‘’Along with FCA’s fantastic support system, Craig and I strongly believe that interaction with other foster carers is invaluable too. They may offer advice and have better strategies and ways of dealing with tough situations. Sharing this knowledge really helps us all learn from one another.’’

The couple sum up their experience so far as being really hard work and requiring a lot of dedication however extremely rewarding. Karen encourages people to call FCA if they are considering fostering and also offers some advice to new carers.   She said: ‘’If you’re thinking about fostering go for it, don’t hesitate, call FCA. Open your heart, there are so many children that need our help, even if the child might not see it at the time. Every small positive step you make with a child doesn’t go unnoticed, they won’t forget it.

‘’You have to try and not take things personally, participate in the training sessions and make sure you attend as many support groups as you can. Craig and I have always tried to keep our diaries up to date carefully record all of our experiences too. This is so important for both the child in your care and your family.

FCA provides ongoing comprehensive support to all foster carers including training, a financial allowance, access to carer support groups and organised family activities – all contributing factors as to why

FCA placements are 22% more stable than the national average.

For more information on becoming a foster carer with FCA, and to find out more about forthcoming regional events call 0800 022 4330 or visit www.thefca.co.uk.

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

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.

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

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