Tuesday May 10th 2016
Article by Midlothian Council
Every 20 minutes a child in the United Kingdom comes into the care system and needs a foster family. Thank goodness for people like David Murphy and his wife, Emma.
To highlight Foster Care Fortnight, which starts on Monday May 16, and to encourage others to join David and Emma, we caught up with the family at their home.
On a sunny Tuesday evening, the house is a hive of activity. The couple’s daughters, Millie, 7, and Chloe, 8, are having a pre-bedtime snack and drying their hair. Meanwhile, the baby boy they foster is playing happily with his toys.
David and Emma have six children between them. David says: “We’ve been fostering now for just short of five years. We are very family-centred and we decided we had space in our lives to give a child the opportunities our own children have like going on camping holidays, hillwalks, staying in log cabins, that kind of thing.”
They contacted Midlothian Council and began the process of training to be foster carers. The couple attended a preparation course after an initial visit from a member of the council’s family placement team. Further assessments and checks followed before eventually the couple were considered and approved by a fostering panel.
David says: “You don’t really know what’s involved until you go to the preparation groups. The good thing about the process is that they (the family placement team) give you the warts and all view. By the time you are finished you don’t really know when you’ll get your first placement but you’re really keen to get started with the support of your social worker.”
Since the couple began fostering, they have had three longterm placements and offered respite care to three other children. The little boy in their current care has been with them since four days after he was born.
David says the more he fosters, the more insight he gains into the challenges faced by the children who end up in care. He says: “Children come into Foster Care for all sorts of reasons.”
The family placement team confirm that the children in care have, more often than not, been neglected or abused. Many are traumatised in some way.
David, who is supported by the family placement team and offered regular training, says he would thoroughly recommend fostering.
He says: “The reward is seeing a child developing and becoming part of a family unit. One of the best experiences was when the boy, who was our second long term placement, changed from being a wee boy with patchy attendance at school to a boy who loved going to school and achieved 100% attendance. Once we put boundaries in and routines like bed by half past seven, he became part of the family unit.”
David adds: “Fostering has probably also given our own children a broader perspective on life and will hopefully mean they grow up to be more tolerant.”
From the look on Chloe and Millie’s face when playing with the baby boy in the family’s care, the girls are certainly hoping this fostering placement doesn’t end soon.
We are always looking for foster carers. Why not join us for our fostering Facebook Q&A on Wednesday 18 May at 6pm? Simply log into Facebook and search for Midlothian Council. You can ask our family placement team or carers and questions you have. Alternatively, find out more about fostering at www.midlothian.gov.uk/fostering or call 0131 270 5678.
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