'How fostering children changed our lives'

Jane and Mark Robinson started fostering in 2013.
Jane and Mark Robinson started fostering in 2013.

A couple who've spent the last six years fostering children say the experience has changed their lives for the better, as a drive to recruit more carers continues.

Jane and Mark Robinson, from South Elmsall, have looked after half-a-dozen youngsters in full time placements since 2013, and taken in several others in a short-term capacity.

The couple, whose two children were aged 10 and 14 when they started fostering, say it has taught their whole family a new set of skills.

Wakefield Council is calling for more guardians to come forward during Foster Care Fortnight, which runs between May 13 and 26.

More than 700 new foster carers are needed across Yorkshire, to meet the growing numbers of children being taken into the care system.

Mrs Robinson said: "Fostering definitely changed our family’s future in so many ways.

"Our children have always been really positive about us fostering and they both helped out with the babies. Our daughter is now studying childcare at college and she’s a natural - she’s learned so much from being part of a fostering family."

The couple also spend their time running their charity, Tiny Hands Baby Bank Yorkshire.

They started it two years ago after receiving clothing and other baby essentials from friends and family to support their fostering.

The organisation collects donations of clothing, equipment, toys and books for young children, passing them on to local families in need.

Mr Robinson said: "You definitely need to be strong because it’s an emotional rollercoaster. Of course it’s difficult saying 'goodbye' so we try to focus on the bigger picture - it’s incredibly rewarding knowing that the children are moving on to a bright future.

"Our family just keeps on expanding. We keep in touch with the children we’ve cared for and it’s amazing to hear how they’re doing."

To find out more about fostering, visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 197 0320.

The council's deputy Cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Richard Forster, said: "Fostering changes the lives of foster carers and their families as well as the children they care for.

"We warmly encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer to get in touch with us so that they too can offer children and young people a brighter future.

"Our fostering team is here to support you every step of the way."

Local Democracy Reporting Service