Dynamic Sarah Haswell (61) from Gosforth has been fostering for over 17 years. As a long term carer, she looks after several children including her first ever two placements, Chelsea (22) and Anthony (20) who continue to live with her at home
Sarah's fostering journey started when her husband passed away and her own children were getting ready to leave home, Sarah started to feel lonely and it was at that point she applied to become a long term foster carer.
Completing the fostering course helped her realize how many challenges would lie ahead and also gave her the strength to know she would be able to deal with whatever was thrown at her.
"The programme you go on is very direct and to the point. It is explicit about what might take place, but this was brilliant as I was able to prepare for the worst, which has never actually happened. There have been bad times, but we've always found a way round and I have 24/7 support if ever I need it."
Sarah has looked after twelve foster placements, many of them multiple, over a period of 16 years and one of the things she learned early on is that all children have similar needs.
She said: "With every new child of course you're worried and anxious, just like they are when they walk through the door. But it was helpful to me to have had my own children before I fostered as I soon realised that you just need to treat them as part of the family.
"Being a foster parent is a privilege. You get an extended family that you can be proud of, a very fulfilling and rewarding life and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others, especially those from a BME background like me. I consider myself a very fortunate woman."