Citizen

Working parent and foster carer? Can it be done? It certainly can!

Denise Chappell lives in Wexham, has been fostering for 14 years, runs her own business and also has three of her own children.

Here she tells us how she makes the life she loves work for everyone and why she’ll never stop banging the fostering drum. 

Some of you may have seen me out in our lovely local area, at events over summer promoting fostering with Slough Children’s Services Trust (SCST).

As well as being a foster parent, I’m also a champion for the Trust. I’m absolutely passionate about fostering and will wax lyrical about it at any given opportunity. Having been raised by my grandparents, I know first hand that love, stability and someone to believe in you is everything.

Whenever I talk about fostering, I find there are lots of misperceptions around it. One I hear time and again is that people can’t foster because they work. But lots of parents work and foster parents are no different. I’m a weight loss consultant and, like many jobs these days, I can make the work fit around my family. If your child’s sick at school, you change work plans and go and get them. It doesn’t matter if they’re your foster child or your birth child!

There’s lots of myths around fostering and birth children too – mainly concerns that fostering will have a negative effect on your own children. My three children are aged between nine months and 10 years and I can honestly say that being part of a fostering family makes them the amazing little people they are. They are kind and patient and don’t take things for granted. It’s something that’s been picked up by the teachers at school. I genuinely believe that being part of a fostering family will help them to be better people as adults too.

While I’m a working foster parent, I know fellow carers who’ve decided to stop other work and make fostering their sole focus – it can be both a vocation and a career choice. People often don’t realise there are real development opportunities with fostering. At SCST, there is a tiered system for carers – the allowances you get reflect your skills and years of experience. The Trust really encourages growth and is very competitive with other fostering agencies.

To me, any parent, whether or not you’re a foster parent and whether or not you have a ‘job’, is a working parent. It’s about doing what’s best for you and your family and striving to ensure your children have the love and stability they need to be wonderful adults in the future.

To find out more about fostering visit the Foster for Slough website.

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