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Why we care

Our foster carers and supported lodgings providers are amazing local people from a variety of backgrounds. If you're curious about becoming a foster carer or supported lodgings provider and are wondering what it's like, please read and watch our stories below. 

If the time is right for you now, get in touch with us to talk about taking the first step on your fostering journey. If you are still undecided, join us for one of our informal fostering information events.

You can download a handy guide to becoming a paid foster carer with us here [pdf].

'I wish I had started so much sooner' - Babs

"Becoming a foster carer will not make you rich.  However, it will enrich your life enormously. There will be highs and lows, breakthroughs and heart breaks.  You will become very attached to some of the children placed in your care, and all the while you will be making an extremely positive difference in a child’s life.

"As a foster carer you are not alone.  It is team work and you are supported by your own dedicated social worker.  There is lots of training and I have also found the Darlington Foster Care Association very helpful.  It is a great way to meet other foster carers and learn from their experiences.

"I wish I had started much sooner, it is something I had thought about off and on for years but assumed I would not be eligible, being a single more mature person.   It turns out that if you can provide a child with a loving, stable home, age, marital status, gender or  sexual orientation are not important.

"If you have been thinking about fostering, don’t hold back. You have nothing to lose and the rewards are great."

A full house - fostering sibling groups is why we do it


Nicola and Mark started fostering just over 6 years ago. They have four children of their own and to date have fostered an additional 19 children from Darlington, including large sibling groups. The couple both worked full time in their careers in Health and Safety and Logistics Management for five years, before Nicola decided to start working part-time to accommodate their growing household. Keeping brothers and sisters together is what motivates Nicola and Mark to do what they do.

'It has been really great for our family' - Tom and Amy on fostering a baby

Three children - fostering image

With two children under eight, Amy and Tom became first-time foster carers to a baby in 2020. We spoke to Amy about the decision to foster and how it has affected the family. Read their full story about fostering with a family.

'We've taught each other' - Carol

"I have been offering Supported Lodgings for five years now.  I find it most rewarding as I know I’m making a difference to improving someone’s life.  Not just giving a safe home but being there to care, listen and support.  It is so lovely to think that I am helping a young person’s confidence and personality grow and blossom.  Although its been hard for everyone the last few weeks in this lockdown situation; for myself and the young person we have helped each other to stay positive and look forward to a better future.  We have taught each other to appreciate the things which we may have taken for granted in the past. 

"I am so privileged to have this opportunity to help, nurture and make a difference."

'We can continue to work, whilst having a positive impact on a child' - David and Alaine

"We started respite fostering eight years ago when our daughter and son left home for university. We wanted to share our home, give our time and attention to a child, with little disruption to our busy working lives.

"The child-centred approach training prepared us well and we chose to support the age group 5-17 years. We provide respite foster care one weekend a month and the child is placed with us, to provide a break for the current family (birth, adopted or foster family).

"We receive excellent support from Liz Tate and the Family Placement team. Our health and wellbeing are paramount to the team and the placement process is rigorous to ensure things run smoothly.

"The weekend stay has several benefits and the list is endless of the activities we have revisited whilst fostering including; swimming, baking, bowling, bike rides and the cinema. The energy and excitement of the child can illuminate the home whereas sometimes a child may require a quiet, calm environment.

"You can continue to work, whilst having a positive impact on a child and helping to make a difference in our community."

'I feel proud to be part of their journey so far' - Judy

"In the 4 years I have been fostering, I have formed some good relationships with adopters and family members after children have moved on. I still regularly meet up with a toddler I had from newborn, and their adopter, and feel proud to have been part of their journey so far."

'We were immediately made to feel welcome' - Keith and Claire

"After years merely thinking about it, Claire and myself eventually approached the Fostering Team at Darlington Borough Council to find out what was involved. We were immediately made to feel welcome and within a few months, whilst still training – we felt part of the team!

"Throughout the training and assessment process we felt it was worth it. It’s a long slog and for all the right reasons, but we knew the time and effort would be worth it and our assigned Social Worker was supportive at every step. Even though the final panel could have been daunting, we had Liz and the team there to back us up. We approved now and already feel we can make a difference to so many people’s lives."

'The children have made an amazing difference to our lives' - Nadine

"11 years ago we decided to foster, the main reason was because we wanted to make a difference to a child's life, now we see that actually the children have made an amazing difference to our lives, fostering can be hard but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. We have fostered some amazing children."

'The best decision I've ever made' - Denise

"I’ve fostered children for 20 years, and in that time, I’ve cared for over 30 children. Becoming a foster carer was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m so glad I changed from my previous job as a bank manager.

"My favourite thing about being a foster carer is that I can make a difference. I began my journey to keep two brothers together, and I keep in touch with my previous foster kids to see how they’re getting on.

"You don’t need to be ‘special’ to do what I do – anyone can, especially with the help of the amazing fostering team. So, if you’re thinking of fostering, just do it!"

'The pandemic has highlighted how important the Supported Lodgings Scheme is' - Sue

"I think having a stable home base has helped my "Supported Lodger" to work well at college and to build up important life skills. He has dealt well with college closing and having to complete coursework at home and has now received an offer to continue his education at university in September. The pandemic has highlighted how important the Supported Lodging Scheme is. These care-leavers would have been isolated if living on their own and many would have struggled to cope with the social distancing and loneliness enforced on us all."

If the time is right for you now, get in touch with us to talk about taking the first step on your fostering journey. If you are still undecided, join us for one of our informal fostering information events.

You can download a handy guide to becoming a paid foster carer with us here [pdf].