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Super hero providing a place in her family, Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo

4 January 2018 | Press Coverage

They welcome in children who need a loving home, offering a cup of tea or a cuddle in times of need.

For many, fostering is just something they were born to do – the secret super heroes making a difference to young people in Gloucestershire every day.

Some people wonder if they would be able to take on a role which could help a young life head in a different, positive direction.

Maggie Coopey from Gloucester has been a foster carer for 10 years with Community Foster Care in Staunton.

She had been working at a careers advice centre for some time and saw a need for some young people to have homes and stability.

She said: “I have had two young lads with me long term.

“One has been with me for 10 years and has no contact with his family, but the other has been coming to me for the past four years and has great contact with his family.

“I have been able to foster around 30 children over the years and it is very rewarding.

“Especially when they see you are there and committed to them and you see positive changes in violent behaviour.”

Maggie and took the decision to work part-time so she could attend meetings.

She said: “I have been able to look after young people that need respite and emergency care.

“It is challenging but what you have got to realise is that all the children have different backgrounds. They are coming to a place where they are trying to find their place and fit in.

“It is not just me involved with this child, there is a whole support network. You can see it when the child feels they have a family.”

As a single woman with a full-time job, she was unsure she would be eligible to foster before she took the plunge.

Maggie said: “I do enjoy what I do, but it is hard work. It is that day where life turns around and you can really see you’ve made a difference to a child’s life.

“The young man I looked after for 10 years, he would break up foster family relationships after a year because he was just waiting to be left.

“One day he realised that he wasn’t getting rid of me.”

She added: “He did need some time away from me to realise that the boundaries that I had put in place were not going to change.

“He went to another foster family for a year and that was really hard, I missed him.

“He did come back at the weekends, but you’ve got to remember to put the children’s needs first. Now he does see me as his mother.”

That young man has now gone on to work and set up his own home with his girlfriend – a huge reward in itself for Maggie.

She said: “The support from Community Foster Care is extraordinary. We are constantly having updated training and they are a great team to be involved with.

“If there is anyone out there that wants to become a foster parent then I would say go for it.

“Find out more, take the time to look into it. Some people think that they have no chance but in fact they could be wrong.

“It is so worthwhile and I’ve seen that it can make a real difference.”

Click here to read online version of article and to watch a video of Maggie Coopey.

Click here for PDF of printed article.