It was her job as a careers adviser which set Maggie Coopey thinking that maybe she could become a foster carer.
“I used to work in schools and saw so many children in desperate need of stability and a safe place to call home,” said Maggie who has been a foster carer for Community Foster Care in Staunton since 2007.
“Witnessing that on a daily basis made me think that if I felt that strongly, maybe I could do something about it.”
As a single woman with a full-time job, she didn’t know if she’d be eligible to foster.
“I also wasn’t sure if I could give cared-for children what they really needed. I was aware that their backgrounds were often turbulent and I didn’t want to offer something that I wouldn’t be able to carry out. I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
Maggie approached social services and started researching agencies on the internet.
“I weighed up the pros and cons and discovered Community Foster Care. I liked the way the agency operated and it’s proved to be as good over the years as promised all those years ago.”
After the thorough training and assessment procedure with Community Foster Care, Maggie finally opened the door of her home in 2007 to a 10-year-old boy for respite care on occasional weekends.
He settled so well that two years later, her neat semi in Churcham became his full-time home and there he stayed until he reached the age of 16.
“He became a big part of my family and still pops in to see me – he knows that he will always be a part of my life,” said Maggie.
She now fosters a 12-year-old child full-time and continues to work part-time as a careers adviser.
Her advice to others who may be considering fostering is to talk to other carers and to social workers and do plenty of research.
“Talk to your own family as well to make sure you have a good support network – that’s really important,” she added.
“The nice thing about Community Foster Care is that it offers lots of chances for carers to meet up. There’s also plenty of training, both before you are accepted, and once you have become a foster carer.
“I found it invaluable - and you do need it, even if you have had your own children.
You can’t just shower cared-for children with love. You have to learn about behaviours and understand why they happen.
“The best part of fostering is seeing a relationship of trust develop between you and a child. It comes eventually, and when it does, it’s extremely rewarding.”