Fostering Stories

Meet some of our carers and find out how they got involved.


Image not of real person

Teenage Fostering

Outdoor Portrait Of Serious African American Senior Woman With Mental Health Concerns


Finding foster carers who can care for siblings can provide many benefits to the children. It gives them comfort and security and can make it easier to settle into a new home. However, it can also help the foster carers, too.

Ayan lives in Greenford with her 11-year-old daughter and the two young girls she is fostering on a long-term

basis. The girls are sisters and have been with Ayan now for three years. “It’s very important they’ve been kept together,” said Ayan. “And being together also helps them settle in to their new home.

“My daughter has also played a big role – they play together nicely, do everything together and have lots of common interests. They follow her and copy what she’s doing. We are one big family.

“I had been thinking of fostering for a while. I have always been really interested in children and I saw how my friend enjoyed fostering and the difference she has made to the children she cares for. And then the company I worked for closed down. I had a spare room and I thought – ‘I could do that – I am raising my daughter anyway.’

“I always encourage other people to think about it, too, and they always say ‘oh, but it looks so hard and is a big responsibility’. But I tell them not to worry – it is how you look after the children that will determine how you change their life. At the beginning I needed to explain to the girls why it is important to have routines and rules because it was all new to them, but they understood me; and I always think – if you don’t teach children how will they know? I always tell the girls to be positive in everything they do. I talk to them; listen to them. I have encouraged them to become involved in activities, like after-school clubs, to build their self-confidence and relationships with other children.

“And the training I have had from the council has really helped me learn a lot and I still go to sessions now. The social workers give me a lot of support and advice – they give me anything I need.

“It is very rewarding. I can see a difference in the children almost every day. If they are happy, I am happy. I am proud of myself and feel really good to see them flourishing. We are a family now. Everyone leaves home one day, but even when that happens I will always be there for them.”

(The carer’s name has been changed and the photo used is of a model).


Almost 11 years ago, Rosemarie Schuere was reading a copy of Around Ealing, the Council’s magazine, when she was hooked by an article on fostering. It changed her life. Now she is hoping to inspire someone in the same way she was.

“I had worked with children before but I was reading the article and there was a lady called Maxine talking about fostering and I thought ‘I could do that’.

“I made a call to Ealing Council and that was the beginning of the story.”

Since then, once she went through the approval process to become a foster carer, Rosemarie has cared for children of all ages, from two-day-old babies to teenagers. Rosemarie even provided long-term foster care for a seven-year-old up until they turned 16. She has also had several children at a time, when she became more experienced.

“Fostering is a life-changer – everything becomes about that child,” Rosemarie said. “It is very rewarding. You have to have a sense of humour, empathy, patience and, although it sounds obvious, to actually like children. But they become part of your family.

“I always say the same thing to each one at the beginning: ‘I’m going to look after you, care for you and keep you safe’. You watch their development and it is always difficult to say goodbye to them when the time comes. The first one is so hard, but you become more prepared for it.

“Like anything in life there are times when things are fantastic and times when they are not, but I can honestly say I love what I do. And I would say to anyone who is interested to go ahead and do it. It is so rewarding, seeing these children blossom when you give them some safety and security. You are giving them a chance in life.”


Gloria and her husband Henry started fostering local teenagers in 1990 and, ever since, have looked after youngsters for spells ranging from a week to seven or eight years.

The Northolt couple had their own family but decided they wanted to do something to help. After initially offering to take children at weekends, they were encouraged to foster and they have not looked back.

Gloria said: “Coincidentally, the council was looking for a team of foster carers for teenagers, and I thought ‘OK, that might fit in better with my work life’ However, you soon realise that teenagers have got their own ideas. “But somehow, between myself and my husband, it all worked. I retired early in 2004 and started fostering full-time.”

It has not always been plain sailing, but there is strong support behind foster carers and the rewards are significant.

“There are times when you think ‘this is a losing battle’ and ‘gosh, I’m not getting anywhere’,” said Gloria. “But there is a very good support network in the fostering team and it is very easy to pick up the phone to other carers and we help each other through any problems.

“You make the kids know it is their home, and gently get to know each other. They are often very bright but circumstances have got in the way of them achieving their potential. You need to look out for their abilities and nurture those rather than dwelling on the negatives. You can’t expect every child to be a model child and you need to be patient – they are individuals and they are who they are and not who you want them to be.”

The household is always a hive of activity, but there will come a time when Gloria and Henry have to retire from fostering. “We can’t go on indefinitely and there is always a need for people to take over’” said Gloria. “And I would tell anyone interested that it is not glamorous but it is extremely rewarding.”


Sixteen years ago, Nina decided to apply to become a foster carer with Ealing Council. Since then she has fostered girls and young women aged 14 and over: Eight teenagers, six mothers with babies and numerous respite placements.

Nina, who lives in Acton, said: “As a single parent with two young daughters, I felt I had the capacity to work with young people. A friend suggested I give fostering a go, so after some thought I decided to apply with Ealing.

“Like many, before I started fostering I had my misconceptions about children in care – too many issues, sleepless nights and police knocking on the door. Since becoming a foster carer, I realise society often sticks labels on foster children as being problematic. My views have since changed. Foster children – like my own children – require love, stability and a chance to prove themselves.

“I get asked all the time, ‘how do you deal with teenagers?’ Everyone experiences difficulty during their teenage years, coping with puberty, moving into high school and dealing with peer pressure. Although teenagers’ behaviour can be challenging at times, this task can be made less stressful if carers have the right support. I’ve found Ealing’s ongoing support and training has been great in assisting me in my role as a foster carer.

“For someone considering fostering teenagers, I would advise them to go in with an open mind and an open heart. It’s a journey with many twists and turns, but ultimately the joy of seeing a young person develop in life is the greatest reward in this job.”

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