Couple celebrate 10 years of fostering children and young people
- Credit: ISP Fostering
A kind-hearted couple are celebrating a decade of fostering children and young people at their Cambridgeshire home after raising four of their own.
Kerri and Dion Warwick have welcomed 18 young people into their Wisbech home over the last 10 years, offering respite, short and long-term accommodation.
Kerri, who has a nursing background, and Dion, a firefighter, have provided care and loving homes with fostering agency ISP Fostering.
The Fenland family said it wasn’t until an unexpected day at their son’s rugby match that Kerri and Dion’s fostering journey initially began.
After raising their four children from previous marriages, the couple expressed they were not done raising children and were “keen on exploring all options”.
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A friendly stranger, now one of the couple’s best friend, Geff, overheard a conversation the couple were having and chimed in to encourage the two to try fostering.
Kerri said: “After going through the process, you come to realise that certain people are born to be foster parents, but they just haven’t made it to that point yet.
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“It takes just that slight bit of encouragement from someone else to make you realise.
“It does not feel like 10 years has passed at all; it has flown by.
“When I sit and think about all the things we have done, the memories we have made, it really hits us. We wouldn’t change it.”
According to local county council reports there are around 759 looked after children and young people in Cambridgeshire alone.
The couple hope their decade long experience will shed light on fostering and will help encourage more people to consider becoming foster parents.
Dion said: “While it may be the greatest day for you that you can help these children, you have to understand that it could also be the worst day for them.
“So many children don’t realise the impact of their past and watching them come to the realisation of that is the hardest for me. You have to let them process it in their own way.”
Kerri said: “On our TV we have a rolling picture of all the years, including all the children we have looked after.
“Each one has shaped our lives in a different way and the memories will always be with us.”
Many of the young people the couple have cared for has been teenagers.
Kerri added: “There is a stigma around teenagers and a sense of over analysation of their behaviours because they are in care, but we have found that teenagers are almost more appreciative of the time and attention they are given.
“If there is anything we can do together, we will. Whether that be going for dog walks, movie nights, independent cooking evenings, or even silly things like hiding from the salesman at the door.
“We really try to make it a group activity. Anything about the ‘togetherness’, the children strive off it.
“For us it works. I can see it might not work for everybody but to live and breathe it, there is no feeling quite like it.”
ISP is an independent therapeutic fostering agency, which looks after vulnerable children and young people.
During the pandemic, ISP has adapted to provide virtual support to their existing and prospective foster parents with home visits and assessments now being conducted virtually.
For more information on fostering, call ISP on 0800 0857 989 or visit: www.ispfostering.org.uk