Foster parents for over 30 years are delighted their son and his wife are following in their footsteps.
Andy and Janice Finnie have been fostering in Worcestershire with the County Council since 1988 after their move to the county from the Lake District.
Andy Finnie said: “Janice, my wife, is like a lioness, she has amazing strength, patience and brings realism and pragmatism to our foster care approach.
“Over the many years as foster carers we have fostered teenagers who have experienced sexual and domestic abuse, neglect and other traumatic events.
“Our role is to take the child and build an environment for them to thrive. You need bags of energy and enthusiasm and an extreme amount of empathy, listening skills and patience.
“We always think, what can we do as a family to make this child feel better, loved, build their confidence and self-esteem? It can be so rewarding to see a child emerge as a strong, more confident person and more able to meet the world.
“To this day, we are contacted by some of the children we fostered, who are now adults with their own families and it’s like having an extended family”.
Now 30 years after Andy and Janice first registered with Worcestershire County Council their son Ben with his wife Sarah have decided to follow in his parent’s footsteps becoming foster carers themselves.
Ben said: “My parents started fostering when I was around 8 years old and they mainly fostered teenage girls and occasionally a younger child in placement on respite. My parents’ house was a very open and busy home growing up.
“Fostering taught me to see things from another perspective and has undoubtedly given me a greater empathy. Fostering brings its challenges and rewards and it’s nice to see the young people coming back years later for advice. The reward is not always seen straight away.
“Fostering for us is a natural progression. It just seems normal for us, because I have grown up with it all my life. Our own children are at an age now where it won’t impact them too much and we wanted to open-up our home and follow in the footsteps of my parents.
“My wife Sarah and I want to give a child or young person a safe environment as we know that not everyone has that. We can provide a child with an environment to flourish and give them the same opportunities we have had and provide the nurture they need.
“We have now been officially approved for a couple of weeks and have had one respite placement so far for a week. We also attended the recent Annual Foster Care Conference organised by Worcestershire County Council where we did the Blocked Care workshop, which was a brilliant session. We met some new foster carers and fostering staff and it was good to put faces to names at last.”
Andy goes on to say: “Worcestershire County Council have been extremely supportive and care very much about looked after children. We find it is much easier and preferable to work for the County Council and we feel the support is much better than independent fostering agencies.
Laurie-Mo Gullachsen, Registered Manager for Fostering and Kinship Care at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We work hard at Worcestershire County Council to create a supportive environment for our carers and help them to thrive as they look after the most vulnerable children and young people in the county.
“We offer regular support and supervision, excellent training, out of hours support, a foster buddy for new carers, domestic support in times of emergency and not to mention a generous fostering allowance and fostering fees including support with setting up costs and things like holiday allowances.
“We also provide regional foster care support groups as we know it is not always easy for our carers to find time to travel so we ensure we go to them, wherever they are in Worcestershire, they can rest assured we will do everything we can to support both them and the children they care for.
“With the upcoming change from Worcestershire Fostering to Worcestershire Children First Fostering I want to assure carers, future carers, residents and children that the service will remain the same, it is simply a switch in name. We will still offer the same fantastic levels of support and we will still be putting the needs of children and young people before all else on behalf of Worcestershire County Council”.
To find out more about fostering in Worcestershire on the fostering website or call 0800 028 2158.