Meet the Shepherds Bush foster carer looking after local teens

A Hammersmith & Fulham foster carer, Sarah*, has spent 21 years creating a safe, loving and supportive home for the teenagers she cares for.

Some of H&F's young care leavers with Cllr Alex Sanderson (centre) outside their new hub, 2023

The Shepherds Bush resident and flight attendant, who’s lived in the borough for 33 years, first began fostering in 2000 after her children had grown up and moved out.

During that time, she’s cared for seven teenagers, and Sarah’s first placement is now part of her support team – occasionally looking after her foster children when she’s away.

“We are family”

Sarah fosters children aged 12 and up so that she can care for them around her work schedule.

“They can take themselves to school while I go to work and then we come back together around four or five o’clock,” she explained.

Five years ago, she began fostering a teenager with special education needs. 

“When she first arrived, her attendance at school was zero because no one was encouraging her,” Sarah said.

“She’d never had a routine before, and you had to stand with her otherwise she’d take her time and the bus would go without her. But once she had a routine, she settled and got a lot better. 

“My team support me throughout, she’s a happier girl now, we are family and I think she’s the cleverest girl in school.”

Endless support

Throughout her years fostering, the Shepherds Bush resident has worked alongside her personal H&F social worker and our Fostering Team.

“I didn’t do it on my own, I’m very lucky. I have very good social workers helping me,” Sarah said.

“It’s really wonderful when you sow a seed, and you give these children a home and safety. You still gave them that love, and you make a lot of difference to the child.”

She encourages any resident who is able to, to foster:

“Anybody can give love to vulnerable children. If you have a spare room, bring a child in, and give them good care and love. We need to understand them, love them, and make sure they’re safe.”

“And you need to be very patience,” she added. “Because it’s not easy.”

Become a foster carer

Hammersmith & Fulham welcomes applications for long- and short-term foster carers from all different walks of life.

Each carer is supported throughout their fostering responsibilities by their own social worker and, as of January this year, is exempt from paying local council tax.

“The generosity, selflessness, kindness and love that foster carers show to H&F’s children and young people is inspiring,” said Cllr Sanderson, H&F Cabinet Member for Children and Education.

“I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say it’s incredible to hear about what they do day in, day out, and the impact they have. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, please contact our Fostering Team, they’d love to hear from you.”

To find out more about fostering in H&F, visit our dedicated fostering website. Or come along to one of our monthly information sessions listed here.

* Name changed for confidentiality.

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