Oldham Council is using this Foster Care Fortnight to encourage Oldham residents to change a child or young person’s future by becoming their foster carer.
Sam Coupe is just one example of why this is important.
Now a loving dad to his 18-month-old daughter and in his ‘dream job’ as an apprentice youth worker at Oldham Council – Sam, aged 22, said fostering has made a huge difference to his life.
Sam said: “Don’t get me wrong, being in foster carer wasn’t always easy. You are nervous, scared and confused.
“The day before you’re sleeping in your own bed and the day after you cannot go back.
“I made a lot of bad decisions and wrong turns when first in foster carer and was very close to going down a really bad path. Luckily it was the very small things that my foster carers did that made me feel at home. I loved music and they bought me a guitar. They made me feel at home as much as I possibly could.
“Since I have left foster care, my carers have been there consistently, only a text or phone call away.”
On his 11th birthday, Sam moved in with foster carers Trisha and Martyn Hands.
Trisha fondly remembers Sam’s love for football and music and that they bought him a season ticket and a guitar, which he embraced.
Trisha said: “He was understandably very nervous when he arrived. He called me ‘lady’ all the time. When we went to school, the day after he told his teacher that he was ‘living in a palace’.
“Sam was, and is, very intelligent. He liked poetry and had a poem published. He loved school and school loved him back.
“We are still in touch with Sam and are very proud of the young man he has become. He is a doting dad, a good friend, compassionate and focused. We love to hear from him and we are very proud to have been a small part of his life.”
The Fostering Service is looking for foster carers to supporting children of all ages, from infants to teens and to provide a home for siblings.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, added: “Sam’s story shows us that fostering changes lives. The lives of the children and young people, and the lives of the foster family. Foster carers are there for the child or young person at such a difficult time in their lives.
“You can apply to foster regardless of marital status, sexuality, race or religion, or whether you are in work or have a disability. All the fostering service ask is that you are over 21, enjoy working with children and have room in your home. Our Fostering Service do a fantastic job in supporting our carers throughout the whole process, as they do with our young people.
“We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested.”
Carers receive a tailored support package, plus payments and allowances up to £29,000 per year (dependent on skills and experience).
For more information, call 0161 770 6600 or visit www.oldham.gov.uk/changeafuture