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By Haddenham Webteam - 1st October 2013 6:15pm
Empty nest and a caring heart? Parents whose children have 'flown the nest' by going to university or pursuing a more independent life are being urged to consider if they could offer vulnerable children and young people a safe and loving home.
With forty per cent of local children currently living in care outside Buckinghamshire, more foster carers are urgently needed to bring these children home to the county.
June Sutton from Aylesbury, who has two grown up children of her own has been a foster carer for the County Council for almost twenty years.
She said: "It was my sister also a foster carer who originally gave me the idea. I had just been made redundant and had some health issues so really didn't think I would be eligible and my daughter was still living at home.
"But following approval the council's fostering team welcomed me with open arms, and I started looking after children aged 0 — 17 year olds," she says.
June said that she knew very little about fostering before deciding she wanted to do it, believing it was only for children who needed short-term care. So was a little surprised when her first foster child ended up staying with her for over two years.
After succesfully adopting a baby boy who came into her care eleven years ago, she now only fosters babies and is currently caring for a 6 month old.
She said: "Fostering is a challenge but it's also really rewarding to watch the children thrive in your care. You don't have to be rich, live in a mansion, be married or even in a couple to foster. I'm proof that anyone can do it.
"I've felt really supported by the fostering team, as there's loads of training you can do and always someone at the other end of the phone if you need them."
"Angela Macpherson, the County Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services said: "There are many reasons why a child may need to spend time in our care, and foster carers can give them a loving, family environment to grow in.
"We are looking for more foster carers in the Bucks area to come forward. Children thrive on familiarity, so we try to place them with carers in their local area to enable them to remain close to their school and friends, as well as people and places they know.
"People from a variety of backgrounds can apply to foster, regardless of marital status or sexuality. But it is important that our carers have personal skills like patience, a good sense of humour, tolerance, energy and ability to treat children and young people as individuals."
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer or adoptive parent and would like to find out more, please visit the Bucks fostering website, or call 0800 160 1900.