Sheila’s story

Archived: Posted April 25, 2016

Teenage boys readingSheila Ryan from Newcastle has been a foster carer for most of her adult life. She has been fostering for 35 years, and with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for the last ten. Sheila is currently a full-time foster carer for a 17-year-old boy, as well as supporting a 19-year-old’s move into supported lodgings. His older brother, after a placement with Sheila lasting 9 years, has now moved on and become independent.

During her many years as a foster carer Sheila has lost count of the number of children and young children that she has looked after. “I have looked after some wonderful youngsters over the years. I’ve kept in touch with some of them – Facebook is great for that. In addition to my two birth children I also have an adopted daughter. She is now 35.”

“There is also another foster child who has become like a daughter to me. She came into my care when she was eight and left to move in with her partner as an adult in her twenties. She has now started a family of her own. I am very proud to be a Nanna to her three-year-old.

“I’ve attended nine births and have eight grandchildren despite only being genetically linked to three of them. When you’re having your first child of course you want your Mam to be there for you. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to be there for these young people, to see them grow up and develop into brilliant young adults.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been fostering, there’s always more to learn. As a foster carer you’re on a never-ending learning curve. You’re always learning from experience – your own and that of others including your agency, your social worker, your network of carers. I’ll always continue to make the most of all the opportunities for training offered by FCA. As well as keeping us up to date with changes in regulations and putting us in touch with other carers, these sessions are great refreshers. As a carer the last thing you want to become is complacent.

‘’When I meet new carers my advice is: don’t try to go it alone. As a foster carer you should want to be part of a supportive agency like Foster Care Associates, where you can be sure you are receiving the best advice. Make the most of your agency and don’t be tempted to be anything other than open, honest and truthful about everything. This ensures that our own interests and those of the children can be best met.’’

‘’There are always going to be challenging situations but the support is always there to help you deal with them.’’

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
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