Amanda Cherowbrier

from Manchester

FOSTERING SIBLINGS HELPED THEM MAINTAIN THEIR FAMILY BOND – AND FULFILLED MY 30-YEAR FOSTERING DREAM

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When Amanda Cherowbrier and her husband Dale were approved to foster they had no idea what their first placement would be like.

Introduced to siblings Tanya, 14, and Darren*, 11, despite being parents to three teenagers of their own, the couple were understandably nervous about their first experience of looking after two foster children in their home.

But three years later, the Cherowbriers, say they can’t imagine life without their foster children. They feel strongly that fostering the siblings together has had a positive impact on the youngsters’ growth and development.

As Amanda, 48, explains: “We have seen first-hand the way that fostering siblings together can help preserve those family bonds – not just between siblings but between children and their birth mother too.

“Tanya and Darren didn’t have the best start in life but they have always had each other and they knew that when they came to stay with us, they would be able to stay together.

“Their birth mother wasn’t able to cope because of her health and other problems but since the children have been fostered she has been able to access the support she needs to. They now all have regular contact and she has been there for significant events like parents’ evenings, it’s given them all something to build on in future.”

For Amanda, who lives in Bolton, Lancashire, being approved to foster was the culmination of a 30-year dream. “Ever since I was 18 I’ve wanted to foster,” she says, “I don’t know why, I just always wanted to do it. I started to think I’d left it too late,” she adds.

“I got married and we had three children of our own – Fay, 22, Grace, 21, and Eve, 19 – and a career in retail then three years ago a colleague mentioned Fostering Solutions and I realised it was the right time for me to give it a go.

“I called them up and started the process in August 2012 and we were approved to foster in January 2013. We were offered our first placement not long afterwards in March 2013. We had said we would like to foster a child who was 11 or under but the children we were offered were siblings, 11 and 14, with troubled backgrounds. Although we were nervous we accepted and it has been a really powerful experience.

“I’ll never forget that first night – getting their pyjamas and beds ready – then the next day we went on a family bowling trip and something just clicked. We all got along and my husband and I just knew it was going to be ok.

“There have been many ups and many downs since then but we have always had the support of Fostering Solutions and our social workers to help us through and seeing the children grow and develop has been brilliant.

“Now Tanya is about to leave home and has a job, which is a huge step, and Darren is growing in confidence all the time. They have made real progress towards independent living, learning to manage their personal hygiene, trust adults and engage with and attend school.

“We’re very proud of everything they’ve achieved. When Darren leaves saying goodbye will be difficult – we’ve all bonded so well, it will be hard to let go.”

*Names have been changed

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