• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Fostering is a Family Affair

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 09.01.56A mother and son from South Tyneside are aiming to make fostering a family affair.

Jean McGarry from Hebburn has been a foster carer for South Tyneside Council for 28 years and looked after around 50 children. Now her son, Peter Stoker, who grew up with foster children, is also training to become a registered foster carer.

Peter, 38, has fond memories of growing up in a home with foster children.

“As a child, I loved having foster children around as it meant I had a lot of friends. Now my wife, Helen, and I feel we have more to give. We think it’s important to give help when people need it.”

Jean, 61, has looked after a whole range of children, including siblings and teenagers and has offered both long term and short term care.

Jean’s two sons, Peter and Steven were both young when she first started looking after other people’s children.

She said: “They both enjoyed having children in the house. Having extra kids was like having an extended family and they had so much love to give.”

She added: “Fostering is a wonderful thing to do. I love the rewards it brings – not just in the here and now – but in the future. I keep in touch with so many of the young people I have cared for and it’s lovely to see them flourishing with children of their own.”

Jean and Peter are keen to support this year’s national Fostering Fortnight campaign which runs from 16 – 24 May.

Run by leading charity, the Fostering Network, the theme of this year’s campaign, is Time to Foster, Time to Care.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Families and Young People at South Tyneside Council said: “Foster carers play an incredibly valuable role in providing a stable and loving home for children who cannot be with their birth families and make such a difference to children’s lives.

“We have a wonderful network of foster families in South Tyneside but are always on the look out for more carers – especially those who can offer a home to brothers and sisters to allow them to stay together.”

Foster carers are as varied as the children they care for. Anyone over the age of 25 can apply to foster, including single people and married or same sex couples. South Tyneside Council offers extensive support and training to enable people to carry out this important role and carers receive an allowance to provide for the child in their care.

South Tyneside Council’s fostering team hosts regular sessions for potential foster carers on the last Thursday of every month between 6pm and 8pm at their base in Barrington Street, South Shields, NE33 1AN. The next one will be on Thursday, 26 May.

Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of the Fostering Network, said: “Fostering is an immensely rewarding and professional role and it takes very special qualities to be a foster carer. Children and young people and care experienced adults know best what these qualities are – so if you believe that you have then don’t hesitate to come forward.

“If you have room in your heart, and in your home, then 2016 could be the year that you start to make a positive difference that can last a lifetime.”

To find out more, contact the fostering team at South Tyneside Council on (0191) 423 8500 or visit www.southtyneside.info/fostering

By admin