Gosport mum says fostering children has been a 'life-changing' experience
A FOSTER mum has spoken proudly about the life-changing experience of fostering children.
Lisa Mills, 34 from Gosport, is urging people from all walks of life to consider becoming a foster parent, as part of a county council drive to help more children across Hampshire.
As of June 2020, there were 483 registered foster carers in the county, with more than 1,500 children being looked after.
Lisa and her wife, Charley, have been foster parents for eight years.
'It was something we really wanted to get involved with,' she said.
'We decided to take the plunge, starting with one foster child to live alongside our two boys.
'Since then we have fallen in love with foster parenting, and have even moved house to accommodate more children.'
Including their own two sons, Lisa and Charley have a total of five children living at home - and also offer short-term respite for other youngsters.
They say the impact has been profound not only on themselves, but on their children.
Lisa said: 'It's definitely been life-changing for us, but the biggest impact has certainly been on our own kids.
'We've seen them grow into the most caring and compassionate children imaginable - they understand how lucky they are and welcome every foster child into our home like their own brothers and sisters.
'It's helped them to become such wonderful people and we're so proud of them.'
Fostering Hampshire Children has hosted a series of virtual events to encourage new foster parents to sign up.
Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: 'Our foster carers do an incredibly important job and we’d like to extend our warmest thanks to them all.
'The last 18 months have been tough for everyone but the kindness, compassion and resilience they have shown has been admirable.
'In order to ensure every child is cared for in the way they deserve, we need more foster carers.'
A new foster carer support system has been set up, the Hampshire Hives, with six hives already up and running. These hives are currently supporting 56 families and 80 children in care.
Another six hives will be created over the coming months.
Lisa said getting started with fostering is 'as simple as just making a phone call' and added that there are no barriers to overcome.
'You can get stuck in straight away,' she said.
For more information, go to hants.gov.uk/fostering.