A couple from Waltham Abbey who have been described as a ‘shining example of how foster care can transform children’s lives’, are preparing for a well-earned rest as they retire after fostering for nearly 30 years.
Lorraine and Allan Turner, who started fostering in 1989 when their own children were still living at home, have looked after nearly 150 young people across all age ranges. The couple decided to call it a day when the child they have been caring for turned 18 at the end of July. This young person will still remain with them under a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement.
Working closely with the Essex County Council Fostering team, Lorraine, 71 and Allan, 79 have been supported to provide respite, short term and emergency and longer term care for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.
The couple keep in touch with a number of the children who have lived with them over the years and still often find themselves providing advice and support well after they have left care.
Lorraine said: “We could never have imagined the positive impact fostering has had on our lives. It has been a rollercoaster ride of experiences and some very challenging times but we thoroughly enjoyed our very busy household always full of happy children.
“Over the years, we have cared for some amazing children and it is joy to see how well they have done for themselves. We feel privileged to have been a part of their development process. The support we have had from Essex County Council has been first class and we would like to thank them and our family and friends. We could not have done it without them.”
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Families, said: “Our Foster carers perform vital work in turning lives around for our children and young people Essex. A stable and loving environment to grow up in makes every difference and we hope the example of dedicated foster carers like Lorraine and Allen will encourage more people to consider following in their footsteps.”
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“We could never have imagined the positive impact fostering has had on our lives.”