Pat Hoy has been a foster carer for 16 years. The 57-year-old can’t imagine doing anything else. She works as a multi-link carer – providing short breaks in her home to young people who have complex needs, life-threatening conditions or short life expectancies.
She brought up four of her own children while working in the care sector and as a nursing assistant in a special school. At the school, she met foster parents and could see the positive difference they made – and thought it was something she’d like to do.
Pat said: “At the time, I was a single parent of four. Having being brought up by a single parent myself, I was convinced I had no chance of being accepted and wasn’t good enough.”
But she applied and was accepted. Her first foster placements were while she continued to work in school and offer short-breaks, once a month at weekends. After a few years, Pat gave up her job to concentrate on foster care.
She said: ”I just love children and being around them. I love making a difference – and you can really see the difference it makes. Not just to the children I look after, who get to spend time doing different things and trying new experiences, but also to their families.”
One of the reasons Pat likes being a short break carer is the variety and the fact that every day is different.
“It’s a big responsibility, but at the same time, it’s a nice responsibility to have. I love doing what I’m doing and wouldn’t want to do anything else,” she said.
Providing short breaks for young people with disabilities is just one kind of fostering. Manchester also needs full-time foster carers – particularly for older teenagers and sibling groups so that brothers and sisters can live together.
Become a foster carer
If you’re over 21, have a spare bedroom, and want to make a difference, fostering could be for you. You’ll get all the training and support you need and could earn around £27,600 or more.
To find out more, call Manchester City Council’s fostering team on 0800 988 8931, 9am to 4:30pm weekdays, visit manchester.gov.uk/fostering.