Mum backs cam­paign to find more po­ten­tial foster par­ents

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR PICTURES -

A SIN­GLE mum has spo­ken of her ex­pe­ri­ence as a foster carer in a bid to en­cour­age others to do the same.

Anne Bent­ley has looked af­ter more than 40 chil­dren dur­ing her role as foster mum.

She was in­spired to sign up af­ter see­ing a re­cruit­ment poster at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal.

Over the last 20 years she has pro­vided a lov­ing home for both short and long-term foster chil­dren.

Anne now has two chil­dren of her own and two girls in foster care aged 13 and 14.

Al­though for sev­eral years she fos­tered with her hus­band, Anne is now on her own again – which she said shows it isn’t just cou­ples who can foster.

She said: “It’s been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence over the last 20 years.

“It’s not al­ways easy and some­times things just don’t work out. Once I had a child who was only here 20 min­utes and they ran away. There was noth­ing I could do re­ally.

“But I had one boy who came to live with me aged 11 and stayed with me un­til he turned 19. He still comes to visit now and is 33. It’s lovely that we have been able to hold on to that con­nec­tion.

“Through the tough times and the good times it’s all been worth it. See­ing them suc­ceed is so re­ward­ing and a lot of my chil­dren have gone on to do well in life.”

Anne is keen to en­cour­age others in Cheshire East to con­sider fos­ter­ing.

She said: “To any­one thinking of be­ing a foster carer I would just say give it a go; but think hard about it first. It’s a big com­mit­ment but the re­wards do come and there is a lot of sup­port there.

“As a foster carer you have a su­per­vis­ing so­cial worker and each child has their own so­cial worker. And there’s an out of hours team you can call in an emer­gency. You are not just left on your own and help us al­ways at hand.”

Talk­ing about her ex­pe­ri­ence of fos­ter­ing, she said: “To be a good foster carer you need pa­tience and you need to be able to give th­ese chil­dren time. But the re­wards re­ally come when you invite th­ese chil­dren in to be a full mem­ber of your fam­ily.

“Some of the best times for us as a fam­ily have been when we’ve been able to go on hol­i­day to­gether. Be­ing able to take th­ese chil­dren on trips around the world is an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us.

“The key les­son I have learned is that ev­ery child is dif­fer­ent. I have learned to adapt and ad­just to ev­ery child who has been with me. You find you change and grow as a per­son by be­ing a foster carer.

“I en­joy the fun I get from be­ing a foster carer – just the plea­sure I get from look­ing af­ter chil­dren. When they come home from school on a sum­mer’s evening and you all just head out­side with the dog and play, there’s noth­ing bet­ter.”

To learn more about be­com­ing a foster carer, call 0300 123 3223 or visit fos­ter4cheshireeast. gov.uk.

●● Foster mum Anne Bent­ley has looked af­ter more than 40 chil­dren over a 20-year pe­riod

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