Chris and Hannah's story
"We began to find out about fostering in 2012, I had a car sales business and Hannah was a Deputy head at a local school. Hannah has always specialised in SEN and we both felt we could do something to help, without know how involved fostering can be!
"We initially started fostering with Barnardos after seeing a poster from them. They started our assessment quickly and following approval we had a couple of placements. However, we found the placement offers were often too far away to be practical which is why we came to Bracknell Forest Council. We were hoping our approval could be transferred but we still had to go through a shorter transfer assessment. This was again daunting, but our assessing social worker was very good and we are pleased we made the move.
"During our 7 years fostering we’ve had a little bit of respite, but usually children stay short-term until the outcome of court and their move to a forever home - usually 7 to 10 months. We like having children for this timeframe as we can really integrate the little ones into our family and have an effect on their settling, learning and development.
"We personally prefer to support younger children so we occasionally have to wait a short time for the right match and say no to other placements we are offered, however that’s not a problem for us. We currently have a brother and sister, 3 and 5 years old and we enjoy seeing them safe and secure living a normal life as their circumstances allow.
"With fostering you do need to be prepared to have major life changes. It's important to consider the effect on your own family as you often find you often need to put looked after children first, but we keep in mind that without us these children may have nowhere safe and secure to stay. Oh, and one of the best pieces of advice we had was don't be afraid to say no if it doesn’t feel right – it won’t be held against you!"