Mel and Pam from Boston, Lincolnshire have been fostering with FCA Yorkshire and Lincolnshire since 2017.
Having originally trained as nursery nurses, and with experience caring for children with special needs in residential care, both Mel and Pam always knew that they wanted to do more to help children in the long term. They had both wanted to foster for a number of years, and knew it would allow them to make a positive difference to the lives of children in a more direct way, compared to residential care.
In 2014, Mel took early retirement from her job working with disabled children and adolescent mental health services, and it was a TV advert about fostering that finally prompted the couple to do something. The couple were especially keen to help children from more challenging backgrounds, as their respective careers had given them a well-developed skill set for such cases.
Mel and Pam enquired with FCA. From the first conversation FCA put Mel and Pam at ease immediately, so their decision was easy.
In April 2017, Mel and Pam began caring for a young boy with learning disabilities and his sister, both of whom had a history of neglect. The little girl was 16 months old when she came to Mel and Pam, and was underweight, didn’t smile and wasn’t physically developed for her age. After just one year, she had caught up developmentally and was a much happier child. Mel and Pam were delighted and had enjoyed seeing her come on leaps and bounds.
After this year, the little girl was adopted by another family. Mel and Pam are still caring for the boy, who is now eight years old and attends a specialist emotional and behavioural support school. He enjoys this immensely, and finally has the care and guidance that he needs both at school and at home.
Mel and Pam’s foster child will be with them for at least the next three years, and then his case will be reviewed to determine the next best step for him.
Talking of their experience, Mel stressed the importance of a solid support network as a foster carer: “One of the most important factors that determines your experience as a foster carer is your support network. For Pam and I, this has been a combination of family, friends and staff from both FCA and our foster child’s school.
“It’s so important that you have people to talk to about the process, including your ups and downs, as otherwise it can feel quite lonely. We’d recommend fostering to anyone and everyone from all backgrounds – you really can make such a difference to the lives of these young people”.
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