As part of the council’s ongoing drive to find foster carers for Portsmouth children we spoke to Debbie Baker, a mum of two teenagers, who started fostering in 2009.
What made you decide to foster?
It was something I’d been thinking about after seeing adverts in The News. One day I just asked my husband about it and to my surprise he said it would be a really nice thing to do. We just went from there really.
How did you find the application process?
It was rather lengthy but not too intrusive. They are placing a child with you, they want to know that they’re with the right people and that the environment is safe for them.
Do you need any special characteristics?
I feel you have to have a lot of patience, caring attitude to children, generally want to help them and do stuff with them... make it a quality experience for them... People from all walks of life, all different types of people are needed because not all children are the same and they all have different needs. You really have to know you have a place in your heart and your home to have them there.
What sort of support were you offered by the council?
The training was fantastic. It really helped me network with other foster carers and it helps you feel like you're not alone with the responsibility and support workers are always on the end of the phone if you need them.
How has fostering affected your life?
It’s nice to be able to go out and do things that I haven’t been able to do for years... it was a nice experience for us to have a younger child in the home again. My life hasn’t really changed. I’m still a mum, I’m still caring for children, I’m just caring for someone else’s child as well... they’re part of the family.