Seamus and Katie's story

Why we chose to foster: Seamus and Katie’s story

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Katie and Seamus recently marked their first year as approved foster carers. The couple met with us to reflect on what they've learned during the assessment and after.

It was during England's second national lockdown that the couple decided it was time to explore expanding their family. Katie and Seamus share their story to encourage others thinking of fostering to get in touch with Action for Children Fostering.

Why did you choose to foster?

Katie and Seamus always knew that children would someday play a large part in their lives. Having a supportive and caring family background, they were keen to explore fostering.

My mum was a fostering social worker, so from a young age I've known there are kids who don't have the opportunity to be adopted. They need somebody to be there for them and we wanted to do that. We contacted Action for Children about fostering.


Seamus added, “We both come from a close-knit family, and they were always there for us growing up. Not all children get that. We wanted to give a child the same love and support our parents gave to us.”

Despite the disruption the pandemic had, the couple were in the right place in their lives to support a vulnerable young person.

How did you balance working during a fostering assessment?

A fostering assessment usually takes between four to six months. You'll have an Action for Children social worker who'll support you throughout your time fostering.

“Seamus was working from home Monday to Friday, 9-5, but he'd use flexitime to meet with the social worker. Whereas I worked in shifts at a call centre so had to be more organised around my working commitments."

Katie’s employer supported her to attend the fostering assessment sessions.

“Work was so understanding. They were invested in what we were doing and asked how it was going throughout the assessment. So not much changed at work apart from planning ahead for appointments."

Our assessing social worker explained to us the reasons we were delving so deep into our histories. Being transparent with Action for Children about our experiences helped them know what support we needed. Because of that, our assessment was an interesting and enjoyable experience.


The fostering assessment explores your personal and professional life and reflects on your own childhood.

Attending a fostering panel & receiving a registration letter

Katie recalls her experience of panel as a positive one. "Everyone was so nice. We had to clarify a few things, but they said the assessment paperwork was so thorough they had what they needed. It was brilliant."

I remember getting very overwhelmed and crying my eyes out, because I'm a crier. We were just so happy.


“When we received our approval letter, it was amazing. I remember getting very overwhelmed and crying my eyes out, because I'm a crier. We were just so happy. We rang our families, telling them we were approved foster carers. Then we went out and celebrated with dinner.”

Seamus said, "There was a realisation as well that this is real now. We were going to foster, and a child would be coming to live with us."

The benefits of therapeutic fostering

Katie and Seamus said their first year in fostering has taught them so much about therapeutic parenting.

“The training helps you to see it from the perspective of the child. It can be hard work and you get good days and bad days."

When you get to see your young person’s true self shine through, you know it’s all worthwhile.


“We're absolutely blessed with the amount of training that Action for Children Fostering provides. It's not just before you become a foster carer, it keeps going and it's always there. Like I've yet to go to a training session where I haven't gone and learned something new.

Fostering a teenager wasn’t what we thought

Seamus and Katie Xmas

Seamus said, “When you think of fostering a teenager, you'd expect them to be out all hours of the night or having to find them and stop them getting into trouble. But it was the complete opposite for us. We found we were building up our young person’s independence to go and try new things."

“Teenagers still need that one-on-one care and for foster carers to stop and think about what’s an issue for them. Like going to school and socialising. They need to know that we’re always here and they can turn to us."