We asked our foster carers about the rewards of fostering and why they want to stay a foster carer as long as they can. Here's what they said.
"The reason we keep on fostering is the positive outcomes, because they are so rewarding. It is challenging but it is also very positive."
"To see in such a short space how much they conquered – how much their self-confidence [has grown]. They’re proud of themselves. It's just so rewarding to see the children flourishing from the day they came to us to now – how much their lives have changed. You know, it was hard work in the beginning but I can sit down now and look at them see they are so different. They are so happy. You can see, they smile – even their hair looks better. They've flourished. They're just growing."
"I haven't had children before, but when the eldest one comes up and says 'Paul?' 'What are you after?' So the rewards are just as great as the challenges."
"It's lovely. I think that's why I want to stay a foster carer until I [no longer] can."
"It becomes not a job but every day is like opening a new door... so every day you open that door your job is different every day, most days. These children bring, yes sometimes challenges, but to work through those challenges, you are achieving what you went out to do in the first place – just to see them happy."
"When I look back and see my foster kids now, the ones who have grown up, and I see their life and what it could have been, that's what keeps me going. So at the time when I’m in it, perhaps I am not thinking about sustaining it, but when they leave you, they become parents themselves, have their own home and you see things. One of my own foster daughters was saying to me (she’s in her 30s now), and she said 'It's because of you I wear this.' And I thought, 'Me?' 'It's because of you I do things like this.' So when you hear that, you think well there is hope and you do make a difference and to me that makes me proud – that I have made a difference."