Foster Carers share positive benefits of fostering

Foster carers have a vital role to play in helping a child or young person, who for whatever reason cannot live with their own family, find stability, confidence and thrive.

Tina and Stella Southend Foster Carers

Southend-on-Sea City Council Foster Carers are appealing for anyone who lives in and around our City to get in touch if they can provide a loving and stable home to a local child.

We always hear about how more foster carers are needed, but what is the role of a foster carer? How much support do they get? And what is the impact of taking in a child if you already have your own family?

Stella, 56, has been a foster carer for three years and has developed an amazing bond with the two young girls she has been fostering in that time. She believes the stability in their home life has reflected into other areas.

She said: “Our foster children are well settled, and we support their development with positive encouragement and direction. This approach seems to have worked because as well as becoming part of our family, it has positively impacted their progress at school.”

But it’s a role not without its challenges; and the most worrying for Stella was how her four grown-up children, the youngest of whom is 20, would react to sharing their parents.

She added: “The most wonderful thing is seeing my three children, accepting our foster girls as their little sisters and watching our family unit develop, grow and thrive. Fostering has been an experience which I will forever be grateful for. Had I not fostered I would not have known how mixed and wealthy an experience it is. Support and encouragement is readily available from the council and the social work team, but you also need support from your family, loved ones and community.”

Meanwhile Tina, 53, became a foster carer partly at the insistence of her children who called her a “professional mum” and said she would be brilliant at it. Nine years later and she’s fostering four children and says it’s the best decision she ever made.

She said: “Our family always try to be charitable and help where we can. This has filtered down to my children and they started us down the road of fostering and this is where we belong.

“Nothing is more important for the future than our children and by 'our' I mean the world’s children. We passionately care about our planet, being good and creating the best world we can. Our family moto is - 'It's nice to be nice'. We want to help make a better world and it starts with all our children.”

Tina strongly advocates for children staying local to their family to avoid having their whole life being turned upside down because of a new school, new friends and a new home. Support and early intervention of any potential problems is key, she said, and can make sure a child continues to live with their foster family.

She said: “When we need and take advantage of the support offered to us it helps all the family, my children, myself and the children I care for. It gives us space and time to settle issues and allows all of us to thrive. We are a family and we function together so the focus must be on us all thriving and getting along as a loving family.”

Every year thousands of new foster families are needed across the country to meet the demand and in Southend, we welcome carers who can provide a loving home for children and young adults. We especially need foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. And, we’d also like to hear from anyone interested in supporting a parent (could be a mother or father) and their baby, who would stay in your home at a time when they need extra support and guidance. We urgently need more Foster Carers now so if you think you can help a local child please get in touch with our friendly and supportive Fostering Service.

For more information call 01702 212938, email or visit

Published: 18th May 2022

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