Nicky and Ivan - Long term foster care
Six years ago, Nicky and Ivan decided to foster because they had a spare room and wanted to give a child or young person a chance to have a safe and secure place to be a child. As Nicky explains ‘We had always known about the opportunities involved in fostering and had friends who fostered privately. We also previously looked after my sister’s children and once they were old enough to look after themselves, we realised there was something missing.
The couple knew that the application process to become foster carers would be a long process and they would be asked a lot of personal questions, uncovering information that they may not even have disclosed to each other. But speaking to other foster carers about what was involved, once they were approved, made it all seem worthwhile.
Nicky and Ivan have only looked after 6 children in their time as foster carers because the children have been happy to remain part of the family. They currently look after Darren (21), Brandon (15) and Luke (12). Darren didn’t have any formal qualifications before his arrival 5 years ago, with low expectations for the future. Since living with Nicky and Ivan, Darren has gone back to school, got his qualifications and got a full-time job, which he feels he could not have achieved without his foster family support. Brandon has been with the family for 3 years and Luke for 18 months. Nicky and Ivan have worked hard to manage each boy’s individual needs while maintaining a strong family unit. As Ivan says “We know that the stability we provide has helped us to overcome any problems and gain our boys’ respect”
The couple receive advice and guidance from Warwickshire County Council’s fostering service. As Ivan describes ‘We chose to foster through Warwickshire County Council because it had a good reputation for looking after foster carers and providing a support system.’
Nicky and Ivan strongly believe that every child deserves a chance, to have a parent who cares and some stability in their life as Nicky explains “You need to give love, care and respect, instil boundaries and more importantly, treat the child as your own, to make each foster child and parent relationship work.”
“Being a foster carer takes hard work and commitment but you receive the rewards. Our time as foster carers has been brilliant and the euphoria you experience when things go right outweigh any negatives. It is a full-time job but these children need a chance. They are individuals who want to be loved just as much as they want to love.”