Croydon foster parents reunited after helping more than 300 children

Archived: Posted April 1, 2015

Two couples from Croydon who met while training to become foster parents were reunited 35 years – and hundreds of children – later at a celebration for families who give vulnerable youngsters a loving home.

Despite living less than five miles apart, Foster Care Associates (FCA) carers Lorina and Dervin Mayne, from Thornton Heath, had not seen Avril and Ron Head, from Sanderstead, since the early 1980s when they attended training classes for foster parents.

In the decades that followed, they have fostered an astounding 323 children between them – with 185 living with the Mayne family and 138 having been taken in at the Head household.

Lorina and Dervin Mayne

Despite living less than five miles apart, the couples had not seen each other until they were both invited by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson to a reception to celebrate foster parents in Lancaster House, central London, on Tuesday (24 March). Also invited was Debbie Douglas from TV’s ‘The Only Way is Essex’, who has fostered around 250 children over a period of twenty years.

Edward Timpson, who grew up with more than 80 fostered brothers and sisters, said:

“It’s amazing to think that more than 300 vulnerable children have been nurtured in just two loving homes in the same borough of London. I was humbled to speak to Avril, Ron, Lorina and Dervin to hear about their amazing experiences.

“Behind both of these families is a single, common goal – a passion for making sure children’s lives are the best they can be. Thousands of children each and every year have their lives turned around by foster carers, and I’m thankful to every single one of them for their help.”

Lorina, a trained nurse who currently has two foster children aged 14 and 17, said:

“It is not a 9-to-5 job, it’s a 24-hour job. Being a nurse did help a lot, especially with some of the more challenging children we have looked after.

“I would recommend anyone with the right mentality to become a foster parent. You see beautiful changes in foster children, and a lot of them just need stability and love. Then they can build a foundation to improve their life.

“Most of our 185 foster children have now got good careers, many went on to university and they have had around 40 biological children themselves. We are very proud.

“They all leave feeling loved, and many of them still come back on weekends. When they visit I have to order in a lot of takeaways as I can’t cook for all of them!”

In England, around 51,000 children are in foster care, accounting for three-quarters of all children in care. The government has worked to overhaul fostering to improve the support on offer through every-step of the fostering journey – from filling in the forms to becoming an approved foster parent to bringing the child home for the first time.

Learn more about the fostering process and how to become a foster carer.

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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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