In her work as a police custodian, Louise Ross-Foden has often seen people at rock bottom – and she often noticed how young some of them were.
Louise looked after imprisoned children as young as 10 years old, many of them from the most difficult and difficult backgrounds, and she remembers the difficulties she and her colleagues would face in trying to find safe shelter for them .
Now Louise and her husband John Dauncy-Foden, who also works for the Leicestershire Police Department, are doing their part to keep these children and young people out of the criminal justice system – by becoming foster families.
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Louise and John told LeicestershireLive that they thought long and hard about becoming foster families before signing up.
“I wasn’t fortunate enough to have children of my own, but I thought I could just help one of these young people stay away from a life where they end up in a police station. I had seen a lot of young people badly.” ,” She says.
John had four children of his own, all of whom grew up and had families of their own.
He said, “I had some foster family friends and I always thought this was something I would love to do.”
After a long and thorough process of becoming foster families, John and Louise, who live in North West Leicestershire, had their first child this January.
“He came to us just days before his birthday so we tried to make him special,” said Louise.
The couple bought him presents and celebrated the day with him in his new foster home.
As “path” carers, the two will help young people transition from inpatient care to preparation for independent living, which means they can guide them through some of the most important years of their lives.
John told LeicestershireLive, “It’s nice to have a safe place to thrive.
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“He told me that I was the first real father figure he had and over time you really get to understand each other.”
Because of the child’s background, Louise and John said he did not have the experiences that many children have had.
“A lot of the things we do with him and the places we go, even the little things, are first experiences for him,” said Louise.
“He has a life now and he can be a child.
“It’s really cute to see and even if it’s not always easy, it’s so worth it.”
Despite the challenges that can come with foster care, the couple said it was “incredibly rewarding”.
“I have more resilience than I ever thought – because I had no experience of raising children myself,” said Louise.
You are now encouraging others to join them in providing a loving and stable environment for young people in care.
Due to a shortage of foster families, Leicestershire County Council is looking for people like John and Louise to look after young people over 10 who may have previously been in residential institutions.
Councilor Deborah Taylor, the county’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The young people of Leicestershire need and deserve to grow up in a family environment where they are cared for and supported to find their place in the world.
“We know a lot of people are rethinking their careers right now, and there will be many people in the county who have the right experience to become a specialist foster home.
“Think about the skills you have developed through what you do for a living and whether you could use them to change a young person’s life.”
You can find out more about funding at virtual events organized by the district council. Click here for more information.
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