We have foster carers of all ages, shapes and sizes across Southampton who have experienced every kind of different placement. Below you'll find some of their stories and experiences from years of fostering.
Amanda and her family
Foster carers since 2014
Amanda and her husband live in Southampton and have been fostering since 2014. Amanda’s interest in fostering started when she worked in a school and she saw how neglected some of the children were. "It made me realise how many children in Southampton need someone to care for them properly."
Read more about Amanda and family
Foster carer since 2001
Anya is a single carer and lives in Southampton. Family circumstances led to her looking after her nephew in a kinship arrangement, and when this finished, Anya decided she wanted to take care of other children in similar situations..
Read more about Anya
Jasmine and Kate*
Foster carers since 2018
Jasmine and Kate, a same sex couple, live in Southampton and started fostering in 2018. They undertake respite and short term fostering and have fostered four children so far.
Read more about Jasmine and Kate
Deana and Paul*
Foster carers since 2012
Deana and Paul are short-term and respite carers, and have fostered 13 children. At the moment they are currently fostering two non-related children, aged 1 and 6.
Read more about Deana and Paul*
Foster carer since 2013
After Ruth sadly became widowed in 2012, in early 2013 she decided to look into fostering as she wanted to make a difference to children’s lives, and she had two spare bedrooms that she thought she could put to good use. She was inspired by her step-daughter who worked as a Supported Placements carer for teenagers.
Read more about Ruth
Foster carer since 2017
Chris is a single, male foster carer who lives in Southampton. He has been fostering since 2017. "I was an Independent Visitor and wanted to take the next step into fostering so I decided to become a respite foster carer which works perfectly alongside my full-time job. At present I provide respite care for an 11 year old child which is for one weekend every six weeks."
Read more about Chris
Kevin and Rob
Birth children in a fostering family
Kevin, 14, and Rob, 19, live with their Mum and Dad in Totton, Southampton. They have been a fostering family for over nine years now and have fostered children aged from new born to 16.
Rob says “When Mum said she’d like to start fostering children I said I didn’t mind as we’d always had a house full of children due to mum’s childminding!"
Read more about Kevin and Rob
Foster carer since 2010
Paula lives in Southampton and has been a foster carer for Southampton City Council since 2010. She started fostering because she really enjoys being around children and wanted to help those who unfortunately can’t live with their parents. Paula undertakes respite and long term fostering and has looked after approximately 20 children. She currently has a 15 year old staying with her.
Read more about Paula
Debbie and Peter*
Foster carers since 1999
Debbie and Peter live in Romsey and have been fostering since 1999. They provide all types of fostering including respite, short and long term, parent and child and have had over 70 children in their care.
Debbie and Peter had always wanted to do fostering and so were introduced to an Independent Fostering Agency by a friend who fostered. After 10 years, they decided to approach Southampton City Council as they came highly recommended, and could provide better training and support. Since joining they haven't looked back!
Read more about Debbie and Peter*
Gail and Adrian
Foster carers since 2013
As Gail and Adrian's birth child reached the age of 10 and was becoming more independent, they decided that there was a space to fill in their lives and that fostering would give a challenge which they had the time and enthusiasm to do.
After a six month assessment period, they were delighted to be approved in March 2013 to foster and their first placement arrived in July 2013.
Read more about Gail and Adrian
Amanda and Mike
Foster carers since 2016
Amanda and Mike have been fostering for two and a half years: "The children are set boundaries, just like our own children, while giving them freedom to explore and be themselves. We've looked after a little boy for a while now. When he came to live with us he was struggling with his speech and had never played outside."
Read more about Amanda and Mike
Foster carer for almost 40 years
Gillian White (60) has been fostering for almost 40 years years: "I became a foster carer because I wanted to make a difference to the lives of children who had difficulties at home. It’s wonderful being able to offer children a safe environment in which to grow."
Read more about Gillian
Kinga and Tomasz
Foster carers since 2015
Kinga and Tomasz do what no other Polish family do in Southampton; they foster. We spoke to them about why they decided to contact Southampton City Council’s fostering service early in 2015.
Kinga recalls, "Opening our home was the toughest decision we’ve ever made. We have two boys of our own and have a child orientated home but felt there was still extra space in our life to be able to foster. We enjoy parenting our own two boys and thought we might make a difference to a child in need of a stable home."
Read more about Kinga and Tomasz
Foster carer for almost 35 years
Southampton City Council Foster carer, Margaret, was delighted to receive her ‘30 Years of Fostering Award’ at the Foster Carer Awards Gala Dinner 2016. Margaret, who lives on the Isle of Wight, was inspired to foster as her aunt and sister had children come from London to stay on holiday for many years.
Margaret was introduced to fostering through an organisation called ‘International Help for Children’ who arranged holidays for deprived children. After meeting a social worker from Southampton, Margaret had a four year old boy come to stay every summer until he was 15. He still keeps in touch with Margaret today!
Read more about Margaret
Foster carer since 2016
Adilah has been fostering two children, a boy and a girl aged 3 and 6 since August 2016. This is her first placement and is short term until a permanent care plan is confirmed. Adilah previously worked as an interpreter for a private agency for Muslim families whose children were going into the care of the Local Authority and it inspired her to move into fostering as she felt she had lots to offer families in difficulty, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Read more about Adilah
Foster carer since 2014
Julia has been a Parent and Child foster carer since 2014, joining Southampton City Council in April 2016. She decided to become a foster carer after her children had grown up and had their own children. Fostering had always been an idea of Julia’s and once she made the decision to pursue it, she brought with her a great deal of experience of working with children as she was previously an art teacher, working with children of all ages and those with social and emotional difficulties, and she had completed one year of a Social Work Masters degree.
Read more about Julia
*names have been changed
Care leavers' stories
Watch our video to see how foster carers helped Sarah and Robyn change their lives forever.
Masters graduate Robyn told us about her experience of being fostered: "My foster carers' support made me want to better myself and make them proud. I definitely would not have achieved my goals without them. I recently gained a degree in English Literature and remember when they encouraged me to 'go for it' when I was making the decision about whether to go to university. They always showed a genuine interest in my education and knowing that I could turn to them for love and encouragement was like a safety net that helped me through my studies."
Air hostess Sarah told us: "I am living my dream of being an air hostess and seeing the world, but I never would have got there without the support of my foster carer... There is no way that I would be as happy and confident as I am now without my foster carers. I would encourage anybody who is thinking about fostering to find out more. Your support could quite literally be life changing."
The Children in Care Council (CICC) and the Young People in Care Council (YPICC)
The CICC and the YPICC Southampton meet regularly to discuss their ideas, hopes and plans for the future. They decided to make up shoe boxes which included letters and presents to give to children coming into care to tell them the opportunities it could bring, and to help them feel less scared of the unknown. The letters were also used in the compilation of the Children in Care Guide. One of the letters said:
"Hi. My name is Sarah*. I am 11 years old. I bet you're feeling really scared. Trust me, it's scary at first but it will be ok. I went into foster care at the age of 8. Your foster carer will be there to: love you, protect you, care for you, and be there when you need her. Here's a secret between you and me, foster care isn't that bad, it's actually really fun. Especially when you go out places with them."
The YPICC has also put together a short film about three real life stories from young people in care titled 'The road is darkest before dawn', which you can watch on YouTube.