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How my life experience and previous career prepared me for Parent and Child fostering

Linda 1 Webp
Linda Hughes has been fostering with Calon Cymru since August 2023. She specialises in Parent and Child fostering, which is a specialist type of fostering where a parent or parent(s) and their child live with foster carers for a set amount of time. In part one of Linda’s story, we hear about how her life experiences and previous careers have equipped her with the skills to cope with the role of a foster carer.


I had fostered on a respite care basis many years previously when my children were young, stopping when they were teenagers, and I was concentrating on my career and further studies. I went on to become a nurse before moving into the role of District nurse and then qualified as a Health Visitor. After early retirement in 2020, I was anticipating a retirement plan. However, we were sadly soon into a pandemic, and I felt I still had more to offer and wanted to work so I took a role as a support worker in Children's Residential Services.


During this time, I felt saddened by many of the children’s poor outcomes in the care system. I thought more about fostering and felt that the parent and child fostering role would allow me to support parents in that very early stage of assessment and it would be a rewarding role to be part of.


My career as a Health Visitor also prepared me well for the role of a parent and child foster carer. That career was focussed on child development, parents' mental health and support and safeguarding with a public health role for healthy outcomes for children and their parents. This required multi agency working and communication skills to work with a breadth of families and services involved.


My previous role fostering many years ago entailed supporting parents with their children with disabilities so that they could have a weekend off per month. It’s a role I felt was so vital for those parents to continue to care for their own children at home and was very rewarding.


I am also a mother of two sons (now grown up and parents themselves). I also brought up a stepdaughter from the age of 4 years as her mother died. My stepdaughter is considered my own and an adult now and parent herself. So, I am the proud grandmother of five. These roles have allowed me from a very young age to develop parenting skills bringing up children from birth to adulthood (learning on the job!).


There are several things I enjoy about Parent and Child Fostering. It’s amazing watching a parent grow in confidence and start making the right choices for themselves and their children. I love supporting a parent to bring about life changes that enable them to have their child stay with them and that their lifestyle has become a safe home for them and their child.


On the other hand, supporting a parent if they feel they are unable to make the right choices to accept that they have had all the opportunity and support to make an informed decision.


Sharing my home with a family has been a positive experience. I wish I had started earlier.


Both parents and babies that have stayed with me have expressed their gratitude upon leaving and it does make you feel proud of the work you have done to support them and the value of your intervention.





Fostering stories


  • Parent and Child
  • Foster Carer

Date published

08 March 2024

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