Lindsay King became a foster carer when her own daughter was small, she has been fostering now for over 22 years. As her own children grew up, Lindsay decided to become a DYPAS (Devon Young People’s Accommodation Service) Carer which means she provides a safe, healthy, nurturing environment for vulnerable young people, normally aged between 16 and 18 years.
She provides stability and a place where young people can first find their feet, then learn how to succeed and become responsible and productive members of society in their own right. There are many day-to-day life skills that we might take for granted but these young people have never been shown how to do them.
“I encourage them to keep clean, show them how to take care of themselves and try to help them budget with their food. They don’t arrive good at budgeting or cooking so I give them advice and help. They all have their own rooms to keep tidy and when they are older they have their own cupboard and shelf in the fridge, to encourage them to live independently.
“My role is also to guide them through education as they stay in education now until they are 18. We also need to keep them safe with regards to the internet and grooming. We make sure they are talking to the right people and also teach them about alcohol and drugs.”
Lindsay explains that her route to fostering was different to the norm:
“We have been fostering ever since my own daughter was small. We had a family member that needed looking after and we found her quite challenging, in fact too challenging for us. There were lots of people involved at the time and the girl that we were caring for couldn’t comply with their requests and we didn’t know what to do. So I asked my husband ‘should we do it properly and go through the right avenue, so that we can learn how to do it better?’.
“I wanted to know how to do it more effectively than I was doing when I was looking after her. This is what led me into fostering.
“It’s very rewarding. Taking them out for their birthdays, just a meal out and them enjoying being with you and appreciating it afterwards. This makes it all worthwhile.
“One of the young people that I fostered made me a god parent to one of their own children which was lovely – although I do now have to babysit from time to time! My own daughter is still friendly with the older children which is nice.
“I don’t know anything different now. I can’t imagine life without it. If you’re considering fostering – just give it a go!”
Become a foster carer
More foster carers across Devon for 0–18 year-olds are needed, especially if you have the knowledge and skills to provide for teenagers and young people with complex and challenging needs. Read about life as a Devon foster carer.
All foster carers receive exceptional support and training as well as competitive rates of pay. Fostering is a big commitment for any household to make, but the rewards are definitely worth it. If you think you have the skills and compassion needed, please get in touch for an informal, in confidence chat.
If you have the dedication to make vulnerable young lives better, and a spare room, find out out more from FosteringDevon.