Doug and Jane's story
“We started fostering nearly 10 years ago, but we had been thinking about it for several years before we applied - always finding a good reason to put it off! Then things all changed for us - I retired, our own twins went to secondary school and we moved to a bigger house.
"We then thought it was the time to ring Bracknell Forest’s fostering service to find out what was involved. We had a visit within a few days and arrangement made to go on a Skills to Foster course and start the fostering assessment. During the course we found out more what fostering entailed, including the good and the difficult parts, and it cemented for us this was something we wanted to do!
“Over the years we have had short term, long term, and respite placements. We have supported around 24 children in all, but we have worked closely with 4 children. Our first placement was a 7 year old boy who stayed with us for over 2 years before moving on to a long term placement. This was followed a few weeks later by 2 siblings, aged 3 and 5. They stayed with us for nearly 3 years before moving on to adoption.
"Following a short break while our own children were doing their A levels, our next placement arrived - a 12 year old boy who we initially cared for short term and then 2 years later became long term! He was joined last year by the first child we supported, who came back to us again long term, so we currently have the two 16 year old boys with us.
“During this time the other short term and respite children have come and gone, some here for just a night, others up to 6 months before moving on or returning to their own parents.
"We have found it enjoyable and rewarding having these children in our home, watching them grow up and develop their own personalities. By far the hardest part of fostering is when it's time to say goodbye and the children move on to their next home, but we are still in touch with a number of them.
“I would suggest that if fostering is something you are thinking about, get in touch with the local authority and find out what is involved. There is always lots of help and advice available and the Skills to Foster course will give you all the information you will need to make an informed decision.”