We haven't had hundreds of children. We've had children that have come on a planned move. So the planned move would be some transitions, which I think is the best because that's best for young people to know where they're going, get to know each other and decide what their needs are and how we can meet them. Those children stayed long term, I would say the longest would have been 12 years.
I think a foster family can meet children's needs and not only is it giving them somewhere that's safe, but it's also giving them the experience of living in a family. I think as a foster family we are able to offer nurture, support with education, and support with their contact with their families.
This boy we had was so good at singing, dancing and acting. He was just amazing. You know when children move their eyes and everything, and when we used to have storytime, he was only little, and he would read to me, he'd be really expressive.
So we read a book called Sir Arthur Stinky Socks, and he'll be reading exaggerated, “Oh, author” like this. “Oh, you stink.” And he’d be sort of using his hands and his facial expressions. So we got him to join a drama, dance and singing club.
First of all, he didn't want to go and he was shy. And when he got there, he was quite naughty. Like he'd get up to mischief. But they persevered and he ended up performing at the London Palladium and at the 02. But honestly, when I saw him, and he was like [waving] to us, we were like so proud. And, you know, it brings tears. It really does. It's very heartwarming.
Another girl that I had, she came from a very violent background. And she was one of those children that slept without windows. So when she came to me, she would always have the windows open, even when it was freezing. And I would say, “come on, you know, it's cold.” She was so used to that.
Over time, she was able to shut her window. But we're in touch with her now because she's 34 and she's got a nursery qualification, she works in a nursery. She's got two children and she's really looking after them well. So very proud of her.
I'm very proud to be a foster carer, very proud. And I'm so grateful to the children that I've cared for because actually, I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot and it's given me a lot of opportunities.
But yeah, I'm proud to be part of ISP and I'm proud that I'm part of the therapeutic side, the caring for children, what they believe in and the ethos of the organisation. And I'll be honest with you, I wouldn't work for anybody else. And I always recommend ISP.