Mum backs campaign to find more potential foster parents
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