Retired nurse says helping neglected children brings 'priceless' rewards as she urges others to consider becoming a Blackpool Council foster carer

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People are being urged to consider becoming a foster carer

A retired nurse and her husband are among the latest people to sign up as foster carers in Blackpool – and are urging others wanting a fresh challenge in 2024 to consider the role.

John and Janet ArmerJohn and Janet Armer
John and Janet Armer | Blackpool Council

Janet Armer, 55, and John, 57,  have been fostering children since May 2023 and are currently looking after a four-month-old baby and providing respite care to a two-year-old girl.

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Janet said: “I worked as a paediatric nurse for 34 years and retired from nursing at 55 years old. My husband was a mechanic before he retired.

“I started the fostering process as soon as I retired. I’d always thought about fostering simply because I’ve always enjoyed looking after children. Now that my two children have moved out, we just felt like we needed a child in the home.

“I can’t believe that there is such a need for foster carers because it’s so rewarding.

“You get so many rewards from fostering, not only from the child but when you see them coming on and developing. Watching little ones learn to smile is just wonderful. We read them stories and show them how to play.

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“Neglect is the biggest thing to overcome. They have to start to understand the fact that they are going to get food regularly as they may have been left all night previously. The reward seeing them develop a bond with you is priceless.”

Blackpool Council is currently introducing a new approach called the Mockingbird Family Model which creates a support network similar to that of an extended family.

The town is among five areas to benefit from a £1.2m injection of cash aimed at tackling a crisis in foster caring in the North West.

The funding, announced by the Department for Education in December, will be used to create a regional fostering hub, expected to be in place by April, offering a dedicated welcome to potential foster carers.

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Coun Jim Hobson, cabinet member for children’s social care, said: “We are very lucky to have dedicated foster carers such as John and Janet, but we urgently need more people who are willing to take on this rewarding challenge in Blackpool.

“The start of the new year offers the perfect opportunity to think about making a change and explore new ideas such as fostering.”

Find out more about fostering by visiting www.blackpool.gov.uk/Fostering or call 01253 420222.

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