Not your “typical” foster carer, 34 year old Gavin from Mold, has already been a single carer for the last four years, looking after children aged 8 to 18, offering regular respite support to other carers.
“When I say I’m a foster carer, people think I must be mad, I think they expect foster carers to all be middle aged couples,” says Gavin, who balances a successful career as a housing manager with his foster caring.
“Being single and working full time is not a barrier to doing this. It can be busy, but you can fit it in with your availability. It does mean that you have to be very organised and disciplined with your time, but there are many benefits to being a single carer. The children and young people really seem to value the one to one attention they get. They have often not experienced that in their home lives.”
Gavin first became interested in fostering when he became a mentor for young people in care, as he explains,
“I met a lot of young people in care and when they shared their experiences, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I wasn’t aware of all the fostering options available, so I went along to an information event and found out which options would allow me to work at the same time."
Four years on, Gavin says he still enjoys foster caring as much as he did at first:
“I love all of it. I feel like I’m contributing to young people’s development. It’s very satisfying to know you played a part in it. The vast majority of the children are just like any other kids and teenagers. They can have issues with loss, from being away from their family. You read about them first and find out information about their past. I don’t treat them any differently."
“You form a close relationship with them. It’s very satisfying, and probably the most fulfilling thing you can do. The young people like to know that someone cares. They are keen to show you their report card and how they are getting on at school. They want you to see how they are doing.
“To anyone thinking about it, I’d definitely say “Do it.” The support you receive is brilliant and approaching your local Council gives you the opportunity to care for vulnerable children who live in your area."
I’m still as keen now as I was in the beginning. It’s the most rewarding experience you’ll have.”