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Jo's Story

Our wonderful foster carer Jo talks about how she switched from her Civil Justice career in 2009 to fostering to make a difference to the lives of local children, and has never looked back.

She supports the council’s current foster carer recruitment drive and talks about how it could change your life too. We are looking to speak to potential foster carers from all backgrounds, to look after local children of all ages.

Jo, from Ashton, has been a Tameside foster carer since 2009, and throughout that time she has cared for 13 children in total. She started as a task-centred foster carer and now looks after a 10-year old girl who has been with her for the last 5 years.

“I first thought about fostering when I spoke to friends who fostered, and it was clear how rewarding it could be. I heard in the local news about many babies that were in need of foster carers and that really encouraged me to go for it.”

Jo started fostering babies before looking after younger children. After being a task-centred carer for a number of years, the time was right for child to stay long-term, and the little girl in placement was settled and the matching with Jo was very good.

“By chance, my niece and nephew have always been the same ages as the children I fostered. They would form strong bonds with the children before they would move on, never wanting them to leave. The time was right for a child to stay long-term so it has worked out really well.”

“I always say, it’s the whole family that foster, not just the carer. It’s so important that the child is made to feel like they are part of the family no matter how long they are with you for.”

Jo talks about preparing children to be adopted, and the transition of helping them move on to their new families. “Although it’s difficult when the child moves to their forever home, saying goodbye possibly forever, there is a huge sense of achievement knowing that you have helped the children through the difficulties and issues that the came to you with initially.”

“Seeing them meet their new families for the first time, you feel such a sense of achievement, it’s a very special time.”

“Being a single carer has never held me back, and my social worker was always very encouraging from the start. The one-to-one support really helps the children to develop and build strong relationships, so for many children this is a real benefit”.

“Fostering has changed my life in every possible way. I recently had a Zoom call with a boy I used to foster, who is grown up now and it’s amazing what he remembered. It’s the small day-to-day things that help to create memories, like giving them their first bubble bath. It’s important to remember that every day counts and all the little things make a real difference.”

To anyone considering fostering, Jo says “Go for it, I did and haven’t looked back. You can start off as a respite carer to find your feet before moving on to short-term and longer term placements when you know it’s right for you.”

Speaking about the support when becoming a foster, Jo talks about her social worker “we have a very good relationship, she has been my social worker for 8 years. The support from other foster carers is also great, there is a real support network available to you.”

Has Jo’s story inspired you to get in touch? We need carers from all backgrounds to look after children of all ages, including younger children, teenagers and sibling groups. Full training, support and an allowance is provided. For further information see www.tameside.gov.uk/fostering or call 0161 342 2342.