'˜I've never felt happier'... Charlie tells how Northamptonshire foster families can make a difference to children's lives

Charlie, aged 18, is happier than ever thanks to the support of her foster familyCharlie, aged 18, is happier than ever thanks to the support of her foster family
Charlie, aged 18, is happier than ever thanks to the support of her foster family

A teenager who went into foster care when she was 15 years old says she is the happiest she has ever been thanks to the love and support of her foster family.

Charlie, now aged 18, is encouraging people to consider becoming foster carers and potentially change a child’s life for the better.

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Today (Monday) marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight, an annual campaign to raise awareness of fostering and recruit more foster carers.

There are currently almost 1,000 looked after children in Northamptonshire. The county council has around 300 foster carers but is looking to find new families to offer a loving and stable home to some of the children and young people in its care.

Charlie said: “Moving in with my new foster family was a bit strange at first but I settled in really quickly and I felt a million times better than where I came from.

“A lot of people probably think teenagers come into care because they are troublesome and badly behaved but a lot of times it’s not their fault.

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“Right now I am in a really good place. I have never felt happier than I do at this moment and I now have hopes and aspirations that I want to achieve and it’s all down to being in foster care.”

There is a specific need to find foster families for older children and teenagers – almost half of children in care are aged 10 and above – as well as children with complex health needs and from varied ethnic groups.

County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “There is no such thing as a typical foster carer, but they all share a concern for children and have energy, commitment and stickability.

Carers need to be flexible, consistent, patient, tolerant and have an understanding of children’s needs and development. A sense of humour definitely helps and carers must be willing to work closely with our fostering team and also with the child’s birth family.

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“Potential foster carers must have time in their life to care for and nurture a child that has come from a difficult and troubled background, and people must have space in their home and life to take a child in.

“If anyone thinks they have what it takes to make a difference to the life of a child or young person, we would love to hear from them.”

There are many different types of fostering, including short term, permanent, emergency foster care, remand foster care, providing homes for siblings or even short breaks for parents of children with disabilities.

Northamptonshire County Council offers a full training and support package for its foster carers, and carers receive a competitive weekly payment which is higher than the government recommended rates.

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To find out more, visit or come along to one of the following information events:

Thursday 19th May, 10am to 1pm, Weston Favell shopping centre in Northampton

Saturday 21st May, 10.30am to 12.30pm, Corby Cube

Wednesday 25th May, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, John Dryden House in Northampton

Further information is also available at www.fosterme.co.uk or by calling 0300 126 1009.