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A day in the life of a foster carer: Colin & Marie's story

Monday 26 April 2021
Marie and Colin

Colin and Marie have been fostering with Action for Children for 14 years. In that time, they have cared for many children and young people. They talk to us about what a typical day looks like for them.

Colin and Marie have always strived to help young people. For the past 20 years, the couple have run a church youth group. They formed strong bonds with the children who attended. Some even joked if the couple could foster them.

So, when Colin and Marie saw an advert for foster carers in the church magazine, it seemed like fate. Colin says, “That was it, we decided we would give it a try. Here we are now, 14 years later.”

Supporting children with their education

Colin and Marie are long-term foster carers. They have a 14-year-old and a nine-year-old living with them.

An average day for the household starts at 7.30am. Once everyone is up, they have breakfast as a family. After dropping the children to school, they take their Springer Spaniel for a walk. They then catch up on chores before it is time to return for school pick-ups.

When he first came to us, he found school extremely difficult

Marie

School work plays a significant part in Colin and Marie’s day. One of their children needs a bit more support with their studies. Marie says, “When he first came to us, he found school extremely difficult. We have worked with him, and he is now top of his spelling group and maths group, and his English is improving.”

Training and fostering

Although training is an important part of supporting and developing foster carers, Colin says “it’s not a big part of your day-to-day life.” Marie continued, “Foster carer training takes place once a month. It always takes place in the mornings, which works well as the children are in school.”

The couple find face-to-face training very beneficial. Colin said, “We go to Action for Children’s head office for training. All the foster carers are there so you get to meet up, swap stories and have a good laugh.”

When they open up, you understand them more. You realise why they behave the way they do

Colin

The couple believe in making time during the day to talk to the young people in their care. Colin said: “Believe it or not, they open up to you more when they are in the car.  We've found this is one of the best places for them to talk about what's happened to them in the past. When they open up, you understand them more. You realise why they behave the way they do.”

Colin and Marie cropped

Evening: A time to reflect and catch up

The heart of the family’s day is dinner time. It's an opportunity to catch up. Colin said, “Dinner takes place about 5.30pm. We always sit down together and talk about what sort of day the children had. We also chat about what we have planned for the weekend, and what Friday treats they will get if they do well in school.” Marie added, “It is just normal family time.”

The day comes to an end around 9pm, when the children go to bed. Summing up an average day for a foster carer, Colin said, “Our daily routine is typical for most people.” Marie concluded, “It is all about family.”

Could you foster?

Action for Children need more people like Colin and Marie to open their hearts and home to foster. If you’re ready to start your fostering journey, request an information pack.

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