2nd Jul, 2022

Successful foster parent Bev joins Barnardo's appeal for more carers

Catherine Thompson 23rd Sep, 2017 Updated: 25th Sep, 2017

A FOSTER parent from Coventry is supporting an urgent appeal for carers launched by national charity Barnardo’s.

There are almost 50,000 teenagers in care in the UK and it is estimated that a child goes into care every 20 minutes.

But the charity says there are not enough foster carers to look after them.

Foster carer Bev Stoakes is hoping her own experiences will encourage people to consider opening their homes and their hearts to those in need.

The 56-year-old has helped almost 90 youngsters to transform their lives and fulfil their potential.

Many still keep in touch today after going on to employment or further education, or starting their own families.

Bev said: “Fostering is a life-changing experience for both carers and the young people.

“One of the boys eventually enlisted with the Armed Forces and one of the girls went on to study at college. Another young man has been in touch to invite me to his wedding, and even joined Barnardo’s at a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace. They’ve completely turned their lives around.

“All that these young people needed was a second chance. It can be difficult not to judge someone who’s been in trouble with the law, but they weren’t monsters. They just had no boundaries or support when they were growing up. They deserved some extra help and nurturing.

“I’d definitely recommend the role to people. It’s like a continuation of a little family. One of them has a child who calls me ‘nanna’, which is lovely.”

Barnardo’s regional director Hugh Sherriffe said “Without enough foster families, thousands of teenagers risk the heartbreak of being moved around and separated from their siblings.

“Foster families support teenagers and help them to learn essential life skills which are vital in helping them to go on to lead positive independent lives.

“Being a teenager can be tough but having the support of a stable caring family can transform their lives.”

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering to find out more.

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