Derby City Council is extremely proud of the number of foster carers who have chosen to foster with us.  We are especially proud of the number of foster cares who have chosen to foster with us for many years.

Councillor Sara Bolton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Safeguarding meets with carers regularly to express our enormous gratitude in helping make such a difference to so many young people’s lives.

She said:

“It is testament to the Council’s Fostering Team that we have so many long serving foster carers.  We place great emphasis on building positive and supportive relationships with our carers, so that they in turn are able to provide outstanding support to our children.  Seeing children flourish in this way is inspiring, rewarding and motivational.

The Council, however, has much work to do in finding more carers for its children as demand continually outstrips the supply of homes available.  The majority of our carers come to us in middle age and this means that eventually long term carers choose to retire.  This creates an on-going challenge in maintaining the number of homes we need to find”

Josie and David Tunnicliffe approached Derby City Council about becoming foster carers over 44 years ago.  Their fostering journey began when the possibilities of having their own family came to an end.  It was whilst they were waiting to adopt, that they decided to foster.  And so an amazing story began.

Josie and David started fostering in 1973 and went on to adopt four of the children they fostered alongside helping other children who came to them on a short term fostering basis.  There was a time when they took a break from fostering to concentrate on family life with their adopted children but they started fostering again in the late 1990’s and in the last 18 years alone,  have helped to make a difference to the lives of over 40 children.

They were planning to continue short term fostering until they reached 70 years of age, but Josie’s knee operation in June last year meant that they have had to re-think their plans.  Instead, they are now offering respite care to families who need a short break from their parental roles. Respite care is not constant and is flexible, allowing carers to offer intermittent support, as needed.

Josie said:

“It has been the best experience of my life to adopt our four boys, and a real privilege to be able to allow our three adopted siblings to know each other and grow up together.  I know that the Council continues to have an urgent need to find homes for siblings so that children like ours can be given the same opportunity”.

Now that Josie and David provide respite support, they have been amazed at the level of placements they have received in such a short time.

Josie continued to say:

“We didn’t realise that there was such a need for respite carers.  We have been so busy since making the decision and have already cared for seven children since September last year”.

If you think you could help families have a break by offering respite care,  could help us keep siblings together or offer a home for other children in need, why not come along to our information event on Saturday 28th January, 2.00pm at the Mickleover Court Hotel?  To find out more and to book your place, visit our website.

Fostering and adoption legislation has changed a lot since Josie and David started fostering in the 1970s. Now it is possible for people who hope to adopt to consider “Fostering for Adoption”, this is where a child who may need adoption is placed on a fostering basis with approved adopters. While there can be no guarantee that this will lead to adoption, it is a way of helping a child settle in a permanent family from an earlier age.