Janet and Stuart's story
Foster carer Janet and her husband Stuart have opened their home to more than 100 children and teenagers over the past 40 years.
They started fostering when their own son was just four years old. Janet explained: “We wanted to make a difference to children - to give them a positive start in life.
“We see ourselves as stepping stones for children and young people to a better life.”
The couple, who also have a daughter, have cared for children ranging from birth through to 16 and currently care for a 13-year-old and a three-week-old baby. The youngest they have welcomed into their home and their hearts was just 16 hours old.
Janet says that while they have faced challenges over the years, they have managed to overcome them thanks to the network of support through their own family and the Trust.
“Fostering through the Trust is like being one big family. There is always someone there to turn to for support, including the monthly coffee mornings the fostering team run, where we also enjoy some good banter,” said Janet.
The rewards have been and still are immense, said Janet. This has included watching one young woman go on to university, become a police officer, get married and have children of her own. They still regularly see her and her children – and Stuart even gave her away when she got married.
“We are so proud of her and what she has achieved,” said Janet.
Parting from the children and young people is hard, with Janet saying: “It is an emotional time but we are happy when they are going on to a better future in which we have played a part.”