Foster Couple Retire After Caring for 100+ Children
On the 9th December, the Sunderland Echo gave their spotlight to a married couple who have truly been a backbone to their community, providing shelter for more than 100 children during their selfless careers.
Marie and Phil Mould – who raised five of their own children, with six grandchildren also in the picture – began their fostering journey in 1980 for Catholic Care. Eight years later they went on to become carers for Sunderland City Council, where they have stayed for the past 25 years.
Throughout this time of caring for so many children, they made a point of “helping each one move back to family members or onto an adoptive family” – a resounding success given the complexity of each and every foster placement.
The Echo cites Councillor Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children’s’ services: “Marie remembers her first placement from us well. A little boy who went on to be adopted by another family and is now a 25 year old electrician,
who still sends a Christmas card every year.” She continues: “it is because of carers such as Marie and Phil that children’s services are able to provide loving and safe environments to children … [without their efforts] we would not be able to protect some of society’s most vulnerable children”.
Marie explains her pride at “the career we’ve had in fostering”; that despite some difficult times, finding the joy in each and every child along the way made it all worthwhile: “It’s great when the children keep in touch – some are even sending us photos of their own children”.
The article also reveals that Marie’s caring career will not totally end with her retirement from fostering in her own home; she plans on continuing her training of adoptive parents, as well as on joining the Sunderland County panel to approve hopeful foster carers in future.
For our team at Perpetual Fostering, there’s no greater reward for our work than hearing that children successfully transition through placements, and ultimately through society at large. Hearing the glowing reports such as these proves the difference foster carers make to countless children’s lives, and that’s to say nothing of the passion Marie and Phil have shown through their work.
It is natural for a newly approved foster carer to question if they will cope when their first foster care placement arrives. Worrying about this means you care about what happens next.
There are three things you should know, however, which should help put your mind more at ease in regards to placements.
1. You will only be matched with placements we believe you are fully equipped to cope with.
2. You will always have the final decision on whether you accept a placement.
3. Support is always available – you are not expected to cope all on your own.
The matching process
When looking to make a match there are several things which are considered. To name a few, these include the foster carer’s:
Existing family members
For example, if a child has medical needs we look for foster carers who have experience, either in their personal or professional life, providing this type of care. If we know the placement is a challenging teenager we may look for a home where there are no other children. This filtering process ensures you will not be asked to take placements which you are not capable of handling.
Type of placements
It is also important to bear in mind that as a new foster carer, you will not be expected to make any big commitments at the start of your fostering journey. Initial placements are likely to be respite, emergency or short term placements – not long term. You will be eased into your fostering role.
When you have more experience longer term placements then become a possibility. This could be a planned long term placement or a short term placement being made permanent. If it is planned you will meet your placement a number of times – maybe for a dinner or a stay over – before anything permanent placement is arranged.
You have the final say
It is important to remember that you also always have the final say. We have referrals of all ages and all needs, and although some foster carers don’t have preferences some do and we recognise that. There will never be a situation where you have a child hoisted on you and are just expected to cope. We always have your family and household in our thoughts and you make the ultimate decision.
Support is always available
With the right support we can cope with anything and that support will always be available with Perpetual Fostering. Whether you just need some advice, extra training or additional support from our outreach service we are only ever a telephone call away.
*If you would like any further information about our support for foster carers or the matching process please get in touch with our fostering team and we will talk it through with you.