Bryan and his wife Tracey have been providing respite care for more than a year. He said: “These kids need a break; they need to get into a family environment so they can flourish.
“It is important to get them into a routine and give them boundaries which you have to stick to. Some of the children are really full on but you need to have empathy and to be able to understand something from their point of view. “
Bryan, who has four children of his own at home, said: “We have been open and honest with our children – this is their home and they are the priority, we have explained to them that foster children are not coming in to steal their thunder.
“For the children who are coming into our home we explain that nobody takes priority over anyone else – everyone is important and everyone is treated equally. It shows them how family dynamics work and that it is not just about them.”
The couple had been contemplating how they could help improve someone else’s quality of life when they saw an advert for fostering on the television.
Bryan said: “The application takes quite a long time, it is intrusive and emotional. You have to be open and honest but as my wife and I went through the process we found out that we were both on the same page as to what the needs of children are. Since we have become foster carers we have realised the network is incredibly supportive and it is where you really learn.”