Mother's Day highlights need for foster parents

PUBLISHED: 20:17 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:49 18 June 2010

MOTHER S DAY is an especially poignant time of year for foster carer Jeanette Loader, because five years ago her husband Colin died after suffering pulmonary fibrosis.

MOTHER'S DAY is an especially poignant time of year for foster carer Jeanette Loader, because five years ago her husband Colin died after suffering pulmonary fibrosis.

The 59-year-old from Aylesbeare was left devastated, but Jeanette knew she had to deal with her grief in order to continue fostering.

She and Colin had fostered children for 17 years, so family life and supporting those who need help was important to them.

Colin's untimely death made Jeanette more determined to help vulnerable children and young people in care and she has been a full-time foster carer now for 20 years.

"I love family life and helping people," said Jeanette.

"Although Colin had been unwell for a long time, he urged me to carry on fostering even through his illness.

"Lots of children and young people in foster care, through no fault of their own, have experienced a difficult start in life and I wanted to continue providing them with love and support."

For the last three years Jeanette has fostered with Families First Fostering Agency, part of the Pathway Care Group, and spent Mothering Sunday with her family and fostered youngster 'Sarah' [not her real name].

She has been caring for the 14-year-old for the past five weeks and said: "Already I've seen improvements in her behaviour and we get on really well."

Jeanette still receives Mother's Day cards and gifts from adults she fostered previously, and they remind her how proud Colin would have been of her fostering.

She said: "Colin used to tell me I was born to foster care and knowing I'm continuing with his last wish is such a comfort.

"I'm Sarah's foster carer not her foster mother. I understand that we only get one mum so if I can help Sarah build a relationship with her mother I'd be delighted."

There is a shortage of 600 foster carers across the South West says Fostering Network said Martin Leitch, SW regional manager for Pathway Care.

"Foster carers like Jeanette offer an invaluable service helping children and young people from difficult backgrounds to rebuild their lives for the better.

"The motivation for becoming a foster carer should always be a desire to help vulnerable children and more and more people are recognising the benefits a career in fostering can offer such as flexible working, a structured career path, training and a competitive salary."

He added: "Fostering can be challenging, but for the right person it can be one of the best jobs in the world. Without foster carers many vulnerable children would have no one to love them."

For more information about fostering call (01626) 333787 or visit the website: www.pathwaycare.com.

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