Essex foster carer Rachael reveals how fostering gave her a new start

JANUARY is often the time for a new start or direction in your life; with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, many of us are still working from home and re-evaluating what’s important in our lives.

For Rachael Daldry from Colchester, it was her daughter who suggested she go into fostering when working long hours for her own business was becoming too much.

Rachael says, “I have always worked with children throughout my career, in support worker and teaching assistant roles, so when my daughter suggested fostering, I thought about it, gave Essex County Council a call and we’ve never looked back.”

Essex County Council is urging more people like Rachael to consider becoming a foster carer. Essex foster carers are providing a safe and nurturing environment for young people across the county, but more are needed to keep up with the rise of children coming into care.

Rachael says, “Fostering has completely transformed our lives for the better. I’m no longer working long hours in my shop. I’m now able to spend more time, and more importantly quality time, with my daughters and my dad whilst looking after our foster children.

“Making our foster children feel like they have a safe place, somewhere they can go, is something I don’t take for granted. It can make a massive impact on that child’s life.

“We are always a little bit heartbroken when one of our foster children leaves because they have become part of our family. Even though I may only play a small part in their lives, I have such a good relationship with them. I always tell them that my door is always open to them should they want to visit again.”

Foster carers can be single, married, from a same-sex family or retired. There is also an active network of support groups providing opportunities to meet and learn from other foster carers with many going on to make long-term friendships. Becoming a foster carer offers work-life balance and the flexibility to live your own life and help young people.

Cllr Beverley Egan, Cabinet Member for Children Services and Early Years at Essex County Council, said, “Our foster carers help build better, brighter futures for hundreds of young people across Essex every year by providing a stable and supportive home environment.

“We need more people, like Rachael, to foster on a full and part-time basis for either short or long-term placements. We have a particular need for foster carers who can support children over 10 years old.

“The support provided to our foster carers through high quality local training, support from our social workers and the fees paid to them enables our foster carers to follow their passion and make a real difference to a young person’s life.”

Rachael fully advocates this training, “There are challenges, of course, but the training and support Essex County Council provides is brilliant. The training gives you the tools and knowledge you need to be able to help your foster children. Some of the courses I’ve completed have been in trauma informed therapeutic training, attachment training and parent and child training.”

Rachael wants to encourage people in Essex who are looking for a new direction in their life to give Essex County Council a call and find out more information.

“I did worry I wouldn’t be able to foster due to lack of experience, but after speaking with Essex County Council and finding out more about fostering, my mind was put to rest. You can be married, single, part of a same sex couple, as young as 21 years old or an older person. You are never too old to foster.

“The rewards I get out of fostering have enriched my life and the lives of my family. We have such a better understanding of what families and children go through that we don’t take things for granted anymore. You could make a difference to young people’s lives.

“I couldn’t be happier. I have a new direction and purpose in life and I’m also playing a part in helping young people; what could be better than that?”

Find out more by visiting: https://www.essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/fostering.

The phone line is also open: 0800 801 530.

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