Cameron worked as a teacher, and this passion for helping children saw him retire early to provide support on a more personal level to children in need of a safe, secure and loving home. After being approved in December 2012, a week later he welcomed three boys into his home – all of whom remain part of the family today.
Cameron believes that many people think fostering is for women only, for instance, emails from professional bodies assuming his wife is the primary carer. He’s looking to show people that men can have the same unfaltering passion to support vulnerable children as women.
Cameron, who is fostering in Cymru through FCA said: “There has a lot of progress in society in terms of gender equality, but I’m not sure this translates to the foster care world. Men can be just as nurturing, creative and loving as women, and it’s so important that we aren’t pigeon-holed, and that children have positive role models in men. I decided to become a foster carer to help support children on a one-to-one level, and I can honestly say I haven’t looked back. I’m so proud to have raised young people who are charming, well-mannered, respectful, and polite – and to have made a real difference to their lives. There’s no greater feeling.”
A typical day in the Furnival household looks like this: Cameron wakes up at 6am, carries out two different school drop-offs 23 miles apart, then carries out house chores, and cooks healthy meals for the family. He’ll then start the school run, and in the evening juggles dinner and the family’s activities, including horse riding.
As a youngster, one of Cameron’s long-term foster children, Bradley, who is now 19 and lives independently, rode his foster sibling’s horse. Cameron spotted he had a flair for it, so subsequently committed to driving Bradley to Cambridge each week to train. As a result of this and his natural ability, Bradley was chosen to attend the British Racing School in Newmarket to carry out an intensive training programme.
His exceptional achievements, underpinned by Cameron’s dedication to support Bradley, mean he is now winning awards and becoming a professional jockey.
Cameron added: “Fostering isn’t for everyone, but if you think you can make a difference then you almost certainly will. If half the population is made up of men, and most think they can’t foster, that leaves thousands of children missing out on potential foster parents purely because of a stereotype. Don’t worry if you don’t think you have the skills – everyone is needed and everyone has something to offer”.
“There is currently a shortfall of 8,600 foster families across the UK. All you need is to be over 21, with a spare room, and willing to give a child a loving and stable home. Forget the stereotype. If you have love to give, think about it, and find out more.”
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Meet foster parent Elaine who has been fostering for nearly a decade. She shares her advice to those thinking about fostering, and the first-class support she’s received from FCA throughout her journey.