A FOSTER carer who has looked after more than 100 children after going through the care system herself has spoken of the rewards during Fostering Fortnight.
Elaine King, 53, of Desborough, urged more people to step forward and fill the fostering shortfall.
She said: “I would say to anyone who has even thought about it, pick up the phone and make that call.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.”
Mrs King, who was taken into care aged 13, signed up as a foster carer more than 16 years ago after hearing a radio advert because she enjoyed looking after her three teenage daughters and their friends.
She gave up her job as an assistant scientist for the Environment Agency to take up the role, but has never looked back.
Mrs King said: “It’s a full-time job. It’s a full-time commitment.
“Many of the children have not experienced boundaries or security.
“They need a feeling of security around them. They need to feel there’s someone there when they come home from school.”
Children stay with her from just a few weeks, to give respite to other carers. to four years.
After years of experience Mrs King specialises in emergency care for teenagers with challenging behaviour.
She said foster carers need a sense of humour, patience, the ability to work with other care professionals and families and the ability to listen to advice and know when to take it.
But foster carers are given all the training they need before taking in children.
Mrs King said: “Initially you’ve got to have a love of children and a desire to help children that are maybe less fortunate than you have been and other children have been.”
The six-month assessment process can appear intrusive, she warned, with the local authority checking every aspect of your life from birth and speaking to the police and employers, but even people with a troubled past can be accepted.
To become a carer call 0115 9455445 or visit www.fosteringpeople.co.uk.