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From teacher to foster carer

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Hannah* was a Primary School teacher for ten years. "I'd taught children from all walks of life, including children who were in foster care. It made me realise how important it is for a child to have a secure start in life."

Once she had her own children, Hannah started to think that being a foster carer might work better for her than being a teacher. "I could be at home with my own children as well as offering a home to other people's children."

She has now been fostering for 3 years. "I came to Norfolk County Council because there is no profit involved. I didn't like the idea of fostering being a business, with children having a monetary value."

Hannah found the fostering process very in depth. "I'd say to anyone considering fostering to be ready for this. They have to look at your whole life to see if there are any underlying issues and it can be intense. But it was also nice and friendly, and we had a very good relationship with our social worker."

For Hannah, seeing her foster child grow and develop is very rewarding. "It's great to see him flourish and overcome some of the challenges he's faced because of his background. He's so much happier now in his own skin. It's also fun to go on family trips and give him new experiences like camping and days out. He can have these things because he's with us."

Having been a teacher, Hannah thought she could handle children and deal with whatever they threw at her. "But I realised I wasn't always prepared for some of the challenging situations that can suddenly crop up. In that moment, you wonder what to do and who to ask. But you work out a way to cope and come out the other side, then it all feels rewarding again."

Hannah is keen to reassure anyone considering becoming a foster carer that there's a raft of support systems in place to help.

"We have ongoing support from our social worker who's always very friendly and helpful. There's a Facebook group where we can get advice from other foster carers and a networking coffee morning each week. New foster carers also have a buddy who acts as a mentor and can also help you get to grips with the paperwork that comes with the job."

Hannah has noticed that a lot of people say they could never foster because they would get too attached. "I think if you feel that way, you are exactly the right person for fostering. You do get attached but it's a good thing. You're giving a child some stability and making memories which is just what they need."

*Names have been changed to conceal identity

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