In the video below, real foster carers speak about their experiences of fostering with Thurrock Council
Here's what our foster carers have to say...
"My wife and I have been foster carers for approximately 4 years now. We decided to become foster carers because all of a sudden we had an empty house. We wanted to give these children something that our children had and we just wanted to make a difference."
"We had a lot to give, love wise and time wise and basically we needed something as well. So yeah, that's why we did it and we wouldn't look back."
"I did do some private fostering earlier on when I was a child minder and I decided that I would like to foster a child and give them a chance of the life they weren't experiencing."
"It's something I've always thought of doing and realising I missed having children around the home. You are led through it, we had a very good social worker she was around quite often."
"At first it can be a bit daunting some of the questions they ask you but they're all there for a reason. From the enquiry to getting our first child, it was within a year."
"I have worked with Thurrock before and I liked the idea of working with a small authority where you could get to know people and be a part of a team working together. We get lots of support, we individually have a supervising social worker who comes to see us regularly and that we can contact whenever we have any issues. All of the social workers are available and happy to give you advice and help when needed."
"It is a good support network, we have coffee mornings usually once a month, we have support groups, and we have a buddy system which is helpful. Where I live there's actually quite a few carers so we can nip in to each other's, have a cup of tea and a chat."
"And sometimes the things that upset you and that you think you're doing wrong, you talk to another carer and they say something and you think 'oh, I'm not the only one going through that', that's fine. I found it a really good support network."
"So one of the things we get often is that we've got quite a lot of family interests, so going to watch rugby and going out to the parks and doing things. We like to make sure we try and do something as a whole family together whatever ages the children are so that they've got experiences."
"I had a 15 year-old come to me once, well he was 14, his 15th birthday was coming up and I suggested maybe we could go out together for a meal as a family and he'd never been to a restaurant. He'd seen on the telly about eating with the right knives and forks and things and in the end we sort of managed to persuade him that it wasn't that hard you know, and he went and loved it and it became a really big thing, every time it was someone's birthday, 'are we going out?' You know, because it was a new experience that he wanted to carry on having."
"The child we've got with us now, when he came to us he was a very nervy child, he flinched at everything, he was very upset all the time and gradually, over the nearly 3 years we've had him, we have seen him come into himself and it's just the confidence you can give them. And to see them coming on and to be happy and have a normal kind of life, that's the main thing for us."
"Something broken down and there they are and you have to go out and buy a toothbrush or they've come with no extra clothes or anything but, you know, deal with everything as it comes, it's a challenge and we get on with it and we listen. It's day by day."
"Come to one of the drop-ins, there is always carers there, you can ask whatever questions you want and they'll be answered honestly. Just come to one of the drop-ins to have a little chat and see what you think."
"It's quite nice to attend these functions because it's like a big, big family."
"My new family take me to the park. My foster daddy takes me to the park on my bike, my foster mummy reads me stories. Me and my brother got to stay together."
"Do you have space in your home? Could you make a difference?"