Sharon Richards

Foster Carers across Caerphilly county have joined forces to share their story in an effort to recruit more local authority foster carers.

“I started fostering 7 years ago when my son Shay was 9 years old. I was a single mother living in a 2 bedroom rented house and I didn’t have a driving licence, it was at that time I first thought about Fostering. I was working 3 jobs so that I could save for a deposit on a bigger house. So if I’m honest there felt like a lot of obstacles to becoming a Foster Carer so for a while I just thought it was out of my reach.

It was working in my son’s school and seeing some children move into foster care that really cemented the idea for me and made me even more determined to become a carer, I just knew that I had so much love and stability to offer.

When I had the spare room I first approached a private fostering agency as I thought I wouldn’t be able to foster with the council if I was a working single parent. A few weeks into the process and I just felt a bit like a number in the system to the agency, it was then I approached the council and they told me working was not an issue, I was over the moon!

After a few months going through the approval process I was ready for my first placement. I was a little worried about how it would impact mine and Shay’s relationship, as it had always been just the two of us, but I can honestly say he was amazing from day one.

It was more rewarding than I could have ever have imagined, I have a great support network with my Mum, my niece and my friend, I just knew I was doing the right thing. It was then that I decided not only to save for a 4 bedroom house but to take on the challenge of learning to drive.

After the big move and passing my test I had another spare room and was ready to start my fulltime career as a foster carer. It was a huge step taking on the role fulltime but the training that Caerphilly provide has really helped me.

It has been hard at times, but I do get a lot of support from my family and the fostering team, I have built a great relationship with my link worker she has been amazing.

I have to be honest it is not just a job it is a vocation for me and I only wish I had done it sooner.

My next step is to take part in the Foster Carer mentoring programme and start helping others who are starting their journey and share my experience with them.”

If you are inspired by Sharon’s story and want to learn more about becoming a Foster Carer contact us here or text FOSTER to 78866.