Jim started fostering with FCA Scotland with his wife Debbie in 2002, after attending our open evening in Glasgow.
Many years later and Jim and Debbie are still as passionate and dedicated to fostering as they were all those years ago. Jim, says: “Coming from a close family that always had lots of children around, moving into to fostering seemed like a natural step for us. It hasn’t disappointed!
“Our families, including our two birth children – who were 15 and nine at the time thought we’d make perfect foster parents. They very much remain a massive source of strength and support all these years later. Every day and every child is different meaning what might work for one young person, is off the table for another. The hardest part of fostering – watching the children you’ve nurtured move on. Yet it’s also the most rewarding when you can see how far they have come thanks to the stable and loving home you’ve provided.”
Before becoming a full-time foster carer, Jim was a retail manager, while Debbie is a qualified early year’s practitioner. They describe their role as foster carers as life changing. “Everything we do and every decision we make is for the benefit of the children in our care.”
Jim has been with FCAS for 16 years and he says: “FCA Scotland have been central to our success as carers. The support and training they offer us is unrivalled and in my opinion, they are the best at what they do.”
As well as caring for the children he has in placement, Jim is one of our Carer Representatives. This sees Jim providing advice and support to other carers and sharing the insights of the carer network to our senior leadership team. Making sure we are meeting the evolving needs of all our carers.
Jim has also been involved in many of our events and activities over the years, including our yearly football tournament, where he helped create our mascot, Jimmy McFoster. Jim said: “Outings and events that bring foster children and their carers together are a vital part of the FCAS community. They are one of the many highlights for me, the other carers and most importantly, for the children.”
Jim’s advice for those thinking about fostering is simple, “Speak to as many foster families as you can. Fostering isn’t just for today, its forever, so it must be a decision you are passionate about and comfortable with.
“If you’ve had children of your own or you have experience looking after young people this is definitely a bonus. Although even with this knowledge, caring for looked after children is very different. When it comes to foster children, everything must be risk assessed and every decision you make will have an impact, which will make life much more of a challenge.
“However, the rewards are unparalleled and worth every moment. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for the life I’ve been given. Having been able to give to all the children that have passed through our doors over the years.”
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