Linda’s story

Archived: Posted July 4, 2016

“Some siblings have lost everything and the only things they have is each other, so why would you want to split them up?”

Linda Simmons, from Redcar, has been a foster carer with Foster Care Associates (FCA) in the North East for more than seven years. Having previously worked as a residential children’s carer, as well as also running her own nursery, becoming a foster carer seemed a logical next life step when she decided to sell her nursery business.

During her seven years as a foster carer Linda, and her husband Paul, have welcomed different and challenging fostering placement groups into their large Victorian home, including many sibling groups who have been placed with them for a variety of reasons.

Linda Simmons, FCA foster carerLinda said: “Being taken into care can be a confusing and upsetting time. Add the distress of being split up from your brother or sister into the mix and the impact could last a lifetime. Splitting siblings up can ignite feelings of loss and abandonment, which can affect emotional and mental health.

“I’ve looked after siblings from different backgrounds, some of whom had very complex behaviour, not through their own making. Some have lost everything and the only thing they have is each other, so why would you want to split them up? I’ve made some remarkable breakthroughs with the children and young people I’ve looked after.

“As is common with sibling groups you can sometimes experience intense rivalry, they can shout and scream at each other and seemingly want to tear each other apart, but when you consider what the long-term effect of separation could be this fades into insignificance – it’s just all part of growing up with your brother or sister!”

Linda is keen to spread the word about the benefits of becoming a foster carer, and encourage those people in the North East who may have considered it to actually enquire, but she doesn’t pretend that it’s not going to be challenging.  She said: “The biggest challenge is the sheer responsibility of looking after someone else’s child, and keeping them safe and out of harm’s way, especially in today’s world with all the technology, devices and apps available at our young people’s fingertips.

“My advice to prospective foster carers is that you need a big heart, but you also need to take off your rose tinted glasses as it’s not all fun and games. The children and young people you’ll be looking after could be damaged, and may sometimes express their anger verbally and physically. Sometimes they just need to be held, and are just testing you and your sticking power.

“You will need to be prepared to open up your home and your entire life to professionals who will not leave one stone unturned, all in the interest of the child or young person you could potentially be looking after.

“Having said all that I wouldn’t change a thing. Fostering is the best job in the world, and the positive difference you could make to a child’s life simply can’t be measured.”

For more information on becoming a foster carer with FCA call 0800 022 4330 or enquire online.

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.

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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
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