Jarrow mum opens up on why she decided to become a foster carer - and encourages others to consider helping children in need of a home
A mum who decided to care for other young people when her own children left home is encouraging others to consider becoming foster carers.
Hazel Love 52, from Jarrow, is supporting a national campaign encouraging more people to think about fostering.
Foster Care Fortnight runs until 23 May with the theme of #WhyWeCare.
Hazel decided to become a foster carer five years ago when her own children had left home and were living their own lives.
“Fostering can be challenging at times but it is very rewarding. Seeing children thrive in your care is amazing and I love that every day is different,” she said.
“The support from social workers at South Tyneside Council is fantastic and there is a strong support network among other foster carers too.”
Her words were echoed by Debra Clifton of South Shields, who has been fostering with her husband Mark for 13 years.
The couple have looked after siblings and children with complex needs.
She said: “I love fostering. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done but I have never regretted making the decision to foster.
“Looking after a child with special needs is doubly rewarding. When you are told that a child is unlikely to read or write or be able to hold a conversation and then he or she goes on to achieve all these things it is just fantastic.”
The council is looking for more people who can offer a stable, loving home to children – particularly those with complex needs and sibling groups – who cannot be with their birth family.
South Tyneside Council’s fostering service has been ranked one of the best in the country after being rated “Good” by Ofsted.
Fostering services have been commended for their comprehensive training and support to carers and children in placement.
Council leader Tracey Dixon said: “Our foster carers play a key role in helping us to transform the lives of young people who for whatever reason cannot be with their birth parents.
"I would like to thank them for the amazing work they do in giving all our children and young people the best start in life. I would also encourage anyone thinking about fostering to get in touch and find out how they can make a difference to a child’s life.”