Being a foster carer for a disabled child

Sue's story

Illustration of Scope foster carer Sue and her partner

Sue joined our fostering service in 2011 and fosters Joe and Paul, both 14.

"We have a large family. I've got two children. My partner has three. With the two boys, it's a busy house but that's the way we like it. Giving a family to other children who didn't have that love... it seemed the natural thing.

Why I went with Scope

My sister is a foster carer too. I applied with Scope because my sister said she got a lot of support and found the whole process really easy.

Scope is great. We have training and regular supervision, and there's always someone at the end of the phone. My problem – however big or small – will be sorted. Knowing you've got that back-up from Scope makes life a whole lot easier.

Becoming a foster carer

My partner and I had an in-depth assessment. Our social worker came to the home and talked to us individually and as a family. Then we had to fill out a load of forms with our social worker and went to the fostering panel.

You get told the day of the panel if you've been recommended for approval or not. It's an amazing feeling when the panel say yes!

The boys we foster – Joe and Paul

We were asked to have Joe over Easter in 2011 as an emergency placement. At his review they asked us if we were happy to make it longer term. He was already part of the family.

Joe has Asperger syndrome and a learning difficulty. He was very unsettled in his previous placement. Academically he's come on leaps and bounds. Socially he's matured and grown up. We've seen some great changes in his behaviour. I love seeing him so settled.

Paul joined us in January 2012. The boys get on really well. They both love music and football.

I'd never cared for a physically disabled child before. I wasn't sure how it would work, getting adapted transport and accessible holidays. But we went to meet him and that was it – we couldn't say no!

Paul has cerebral palsy. His speech has improved dramatically. It's so rewarding to think we've been part of that.

He wants to be the same as any other 14 year old lad. He went kayaking with Scouts a fortnight ago. Being disabled won't stop Paul. I love that adventurous spirit!

What makes a good foster carer?

Patience and understanding are key. If you have experience of disability, that's good, but you don't need it; the training you get covers all the things you need to know.

As a person I've gained loads more confidence thanks to fostering. I feel stronger now that I am a foster parent.

Just try it. Fostering is fantastic. If you're thinking about it, there's a reason."

Contact us

We always want to hear from people who are considering becoming foster carers for disabled children.

Even if you're not sure or just want to ask a few questions, use our Fostering service contact form or call Heather Gardner on 0300 303 2962.

There's always someone at the end of the phone. My problem – however big or small – will be sorted.
Sue Scope foster carer