The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has forced many children to be physically separated from their parents.
That feeling of missing a loved one has not been lost on 55-year-old foster carer Yvonne Fisher from Waltham Abbey.
It’s made her appreciate that it’s potentially how all of her foster children feel when they arrive. But, with the right love and support she will help them to heal.
Yvonne, and her partner Fran Collett, aged 50, currently foster a one-year old baby boy, a 7-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.
The couple, who have been together 25 years, are also a special guardian to a 16-year old boy.
As we celebrate Pride month, Yvonne and Fran, are urging other same sex couples to not be deterred, thinking that they do not meet the criteria.
“Being in a same-sex couple never entered my mind as a potential barrier to signing up as a foster carer. All I knew is that we had something special and wanted to share that love with children.
It’s a real shame that other same-sex couples might wrongly believe that they don’t fit the criteria.
All you need is love in your heart and a spare bedroom! And perhaps a pinch of patience too…”
Yvonne changed careers to become a foster carer and she says she’s never looked back:
She says: “I was working long hours in the city and it got to a point where it just wasn’t rewarding any more. I wanted more in life than just commuting and working.
Fast-forward 14 years and 15 foster children, ranging from babies to teenagers, I can honestly say that it’s the best career move I’ve ever made! They say that you will change a child’s life by fostering them, but in reality, its ended up changing my own life. My career swap has very much taught me that money is not happiness. The smiles on their faces are all the payment I need”.
In 2020, up to 500 children in Essex are expected to come into foster care and Essex County Council is urging more foster carers, like Yvonne and Fran, to help transform their lives.
More carers are needed in Essex on a full and part-time basis for either short or long-term placements, with Essex County Council offering high-quality bespoke local training.
The most desperate need is for foster carers of children and young people over the age of ten or those with disabilities.
Foster carers can be single, married, from a same-sex family or retired and there is an active network of support groups providing opportunities to meet and learn from other foster carers. Many go on to make long-term friendships.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Essex County Council, said: “On behalf of everyone at Essex County Council, I want to thank all of our Foster Carers. The love, care, time and commitment that you demonstrate by providing vulnerable children and young people with a secure family home makes such a difference in helping them to grow up confidently and live positive lives. Whilst in your care you help them achieve their ambitions and potential. Thank you!
We welcome foster carers from all walks of life and encourage those from the LGBT+ community to get involved and find out more about fostering. Yvonne and Fran are great examples of how a change in career can lead to you working with us to support young people in Essex.”
Yvonne and Fran are recommending that anyone thinking about fostering children or young people should just pick up the phone and enquire; they may be surprised at just how suitable they are and how much they get back in return.
Find out more by visiting https://bit.ly/2zsC7wx or calling 0800 801 530.