Son set to make fostering a family affair

A son is set to follow in his mum's footsteps to make a vital difference to youngsters' lives.
Jean McGarry and Peter Stoker with Coun Joan Atkinson, centre.Jean McGarry and Peter Stoker with Coun Joan Atkinson, centre.
Jean McGarry and Peter Stoker with Coun Joan Atkinson, centre.

Peter Stoker, 38, from Hebburn, grew up in a home with foster children being looked after by his mum Jean, 61.

Jean has been a foster carer for South Tyneside Council for 28 years, and has looked after about 50 children, and now Peter is training to become a registered foster carer himself.

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He said: “As a child, I loved having foster children around as it meant I had a lot of friends. Now my wife, Helen, and I feel we have more to give. We think it’s important to give help when people need it.”

Jean has looked after a wide range of children over the years, including siblings and teenagers, and has offered both long-term and short-term care.

She first started looking after other people’s children when her two sons, Peter and Steven, were young.

She said: “Fostering is a wonderful thing to do. I love the rewards it brings – not just in the here and now – but in the future.

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“I keep in touch with so many of the young people I have cared for and it’s lovely to see them flourishing with children of their own.”

Jean and Peter are both supporting this year’s national Fostering Fortnight campaign, which is running between May 16 and 24.

Anyone over 25 can apply to foster, while South Tyneside Council’s fostering campaign hosts regular sessions on the last Thursday of each month between 6pm and 8pm at their base in Barrington Street, South Shields.

For more, contact the fostering team on 0191 423 8500 or visit