Foster carers prove that age in no barrier

Archived: Posted January 4, 2017

Meet Mica and Trevor, at only 26 and 27 they are one of FCA’s youngest fostering couples.  At the opposite end of the age spectrum is Peter and Pearl, FCA’s oldest carers.  Both couples talk about how age is never a barrier when it comes to fostering.

“People comment that it must be lovely for the children to be looked after by young carers who understand them and the world they are living in.”

At only 26 and 27 years of age respectively Mica Girling and Trevor Mealing from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire are one of Foster Care Associates (FCA) youngest fostering couples.  Having been foster carers for just under a year, they talk about why they made this life changing decision.13631543_10153861197903651_6421128056000669928_n

Trevor said:  “Mica’s mum is a foster carer for FCA and has been caring for just under 10 years. After seeing the positive impact it can have on the lives of children we decided we would like to foster one day. Once we moved into our first home and had a house fit for a child within a safe and friendly community, we took the first step into becoming foster carers. We asked mum to make a referral and once this was made we received a number to contact FCA to make our first enquiry – the rest is history!  We love the support and training which FCA promise and provide and could not imagine being happier with another agency.”

Despite Mica’s Mum being a foster carer herself the couple received mixed reactions from friends and family when discussing their decision.  Trevor said:  “Everyone who didn’t have an awareness of fostering thought we were crazy – we were young, why tie ourselves down, why would we risk our life, our happiness, our safety for a ‘damaged’ child?  How could we look after a child when we don’t have any children on our own?  

“Luckily, we were very sure of our decision and reasons for becoming foster carers and were not blinded by the inaccurate conclusions of others. Once we explained to our friends and family, who were not in the fostering world, they could understand that this was something we wanted to take on together and we felt ready for the challenge and excitement that fostering could bring.”

Trevor explains how they still manage to hold down other jobs, as well as their fostering responsibilities, thanks to the fantastic support provide by their current employers.  He explains:  “Mica changed her job as a gym manger as the hours were not suitable for family life. She now works in a school which allows her to have a guaranteed income for financial protection, but also allows her to work family friendly hours, have holiday off with the children in our care etc.  Both of our employers have been very supportive and understanding about our decision to become foster carers and allow us as much time off for courses, meetings etc as possible.”

Since becoming foster carers the couple have cared for two respite placements, a 16 year old girl and boy.  Their current placement is a ten year old boy who was initially on a short term interim care order which has now become long term which the couple are delighted about with Trevor stating, “taking him on holiday for the first time was one of his best fostering moments – so many firsts! First time in a boat, first time in the sea, first time up a mountain!”

Trevor explains some of the reactions they receive from people when they tell them they’re foster carers.  He said: “People assume we can’t have children and that’s why we foster, people assume as a foster carer we don’t work, people assume because we don’t have birth children we won’t be very good at it.  However, on the flip side we have had so many people say we are fantastic, generous and are very proud of us and wish they could do it. People comment that it must be lovely for the children to be looked after by young carers who understand them and the world they are living in.”

“Our fostering journey to date has been eye opening and mind blowing, and beyond doubt the most fantastic thing we have ever done.  This is further enhanced by the incredible support we receive from FCA, including the numerous opportunities to meet with other carers and attend activity days, fantastic training which really does prepare you for the challenges ahead, a fantastic Supervising Social Worker who really is there for us – going above and beyond to support us and ensure we are getting all the relevant information we need.”

Offering advice to new foster carers Trevor said:  “Talk to everyone around you about how you are finding caring and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Even if it’s just so you can have a night off and have some ‘you’ time.  It makes the world of difference. Just because you’re a foster parent you don’t stop being you-so make time for you once in a while.  Be resilient, be patient and most importantly be calm. Try not to let the little things phase you.

Trevor is also keen to offer advice to those who are thinking about becoming a foster carer adding: “Get as much information as you can before you apply. Understand the assessment process and how intrusive and in depth it will be. Evaluate your reasons for becoming a carer and that it will change your life like you would never expect.  If after all of that you’re ready and willing jump straight in and go for it whole heartedly – don’t look back and enjoy every moment.”

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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

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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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