A FAMILY of foster carers is urging people in Kirklees to follow in their footsteps and look after a child.
New figures from Kirklees Council show a large increase in the number of children who need a foster family to look after them.
That’s why the council needs more people like sisters Jackie Coulter and Hilary Fisher and their niece, Sarah Taylor.
Mrs Coulter and Mrs Fisher, who grew up in Mirfield, started fostering six years ago and Miss Taylor, of Heckmondwike, did the same three years later.
Mrs Coulter, 46, said: “Hilary and I grew up with our parents and four siblings in a modest three-bedroom terraced house in Mirfield. We were a typical Sixties family.
“The thing that sticks with us is that despite not being well off we never really wanted for anything and importantly, we grew up in a happy and loving environment. This is what my husband John and I had been keen to pass on.
“Our interest in fostering had gone back many years, which was perhaps fuelled by the fact that John was adopted as a child.
“This inspired us to want to return the favour and to give as many vulnerable children as possible a better start in life.
“So far we’ve fostered four children and we get so much out of it. We’ve never looked back and plan to continue doing it for many years yet.”
In March 2009, 315 children were in the Kirklees fostering system. This rose to 372 a year later, then 383 the year after that. By September 2011, 440 children were going into foster care in Kirklees.
Mrs Fisher, 52, said: “For me, perhaps the best thing about being a foster carer is seeing children go on to be adopted or reunited with their birth parents.
“To witness the happy outcomes and the difference I’ve been able to make to a child’s life, even if for a short period, makes my job all the more worthwhile.
“Both Jackie and I have formed firm bonds with many of the children we’ve fostered. I believe that they take this attachment with them and as a result Jackie and I have kept in touch with most of the children we’ve looked after.”
Miss Taylor, 39, said she got into foster after working in the care sector for 20 years. With her partner Lee, she is currently looking after two siblings as well as her 11-year-old son Lewis.
She said: “There is a lot of support out there for foster carers. As well as going to my aunts for advice, I also get a lot of support from Kirklees Council’s fostering team and regularly attend a local playgroup aimed at foster carers, so I never feel like I’m on my own.”
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 389 0086.