The joys of fostering

Thursday February 18th 2016

Joys of Fostering in Midlothian

As Midlothian Council’s Fostering Service receives a positive inspection from the Care Inspectorate, two of Midlothian foster carers talk about the joys of fostering.

Sally and Bruce Dunlop are well-versed in the qualities required to be a successful foster carer: lots of energy, a love of children and good communication skills.

Fostering for almost three years, Mr and Mrs Dunlop, who live in Penicuik, started by offering respite care for children and young people while Sally was phasing in her retirement.

Now both full time foster carers, the retired school teachers don’t regret their decision to embrace a new ‘career’.

Asked what they enjoy most about fostering, Mrs Dunlop says: “Providing an opportunity for them (the children) to succeed. I enjoy seeing them progress and their happiness, everyone who has lived with us appeared happy to be here.”

The Dunlops have cared for around 15 children and teenagers. Routine, regular meals and set bedtimes and the expectation that the young people will ‘fit in’ all go a long way to providing the kind of settled and structured environment a lot of the children have been lacking.

Bruce and Sally feel that they were well prepared by the training they received for the many and varied circumstances that might cause a child to come into their care. All have had to leave their family home and need a warm and sympathetic welcome.

Enjoying seeing them settle down at school and tackle new experiences from getting a bus on their own to riding a rollercoaster make fostering worthwhile, adds Mr Dunlop.

Like all carers, they have a social worker assigned to them while the child or teenager in their care has their own worker.

They feel well supported by the council’s Family Placement team but add that it is vital to make your needs as a carer known to them.

Indeed, good communication skills are key to successful fostering in general, they add.

Mrs Dunlop, who says she would recommend fostering, adds: “You need lots of energy, you must love children and you need good communication skills. Oh, and having a supportive family is also a real help.”

Midlothian Council is always looking for more foster carers. Could you foster? For more information visit

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