I thought I was too old to apply for fostering at 64, but I’ve loved every single solitary second. My husband died when I was 60 and I bought a house in Sheppey. I had worked in a childcare team for Social Services and as a Social Work Assistant in a Local Authority. I was brought up in London during the war and respect was what we learnt. I have 3 children and 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren and I teach my foster children the same values and expect the same. I only have two rules, no swearing and show respect, and it has worked. All three of the children all still phone and visit me and I feel I’ve made a difference. It’s like my own children popping in.
The training was fantastic, we covered absolutely everything, especially the drugs course. In my Local Authority time, drug use wasn’t the same and I learnt a lot. The support from Anchor is unbelievable. Anchor has grown since I started 13 years ago, but all the people are still there, and it’s like a family that’s grown and grown. I have never phoned up and not had instant help. My Supervising Social Worker from Anchor was made in heaven. She’s like me, she says what she thinks.
My first girl came at 11 and stayed until she was 19. Another one came at 14 and left at 18, but kept calling me up. My current child is the one I am most proud of because he’s a lovely young man, he is a son to me. When he first came to me he had been rejected so many times, and when he walked through my door, it was a new start. You have to take a child’s history into account, but be prepared to start with a clean slate. At first, he had a home tutor provided by Anchor before he went back to school. We found a small school with 60 children and a special provision for young people with behavioural issues. I have never seen a school like it, the basis is mutual respect. He ended up on the honours board as the best overall pupil of the year when he left. Between Anchor, me and the school we have grown a lovely young man.
Whatever happens, the child comes first. The financial reward has to be in second place.
I would recommend fostering with Anchor with no hesitation at all because in my experience they are always there when you need them. They are very fair, every single member of staff is approachable and they sort out any problems and answer any questions within the day.