A Wellingborough woman whose life was transformed by her foster carers is encouraging more people to consider fostering during a fortnight-long event to raise its profile.
Amy Barton, now 18, was six years old when she was placed in foster care with her now adopted parents Julie and Kevin.
She says they’ve helped her to achieve ambitions she would never otherwise have been able to.
She said: “Being fostered has been perfect for me.
“I was initially placed with my parents Jules and Kev for just a week but they were so welcoming and made me feel at home straight away.
“I didn’t want to leave.
“Now I’m looking to go to university, which I would never have dreamed of before.
“My parents have supported me throughout my education.
“People sometimes think that children in care don’t go on to achieve things and be successful – but look at me now.”
Foster Care Fortnight, which launches today (Monday), is a national event and aims to raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives.
To mark the event, Northamptonshire County Council is appealing for more people to consider making a difference to a child or young person’s life by becoming a foster carer.
Lesley Hagger, director of children’s services at the county council, said: “Fostering a child can be challenging but our carers tell us it is also one of the most rewarding things they have ever done.
“All you need to make a great foster carer is the ability to be flexible, consistent, patient, tolerant and have an understanding of children’s needs and development.
“A sense of humour definitely helps and a spare room in your home is essential.
“Our fostering team will provide a huge amount of support and training at all stages of the approval process and beyond, and we can put applicants in touch with other foster carers who can share their own experiences of fostering.
“I really would encourage anyone who is thinking about applying to be a foster carer to contact us for an informal chat to find out more.”
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.
An information event is being held at Caroline Chisholm School in Wootton Fields, Northampton, on Thursday, May 18, between 6pm and 8.30pm.
Further information is also available here or by calling 0300 126 1009.