FOR Sara and Mohammed Jaffer, every child they foster is very much a part of their family.
The couple, from Gloucester, have cared for five children since they started fostering three years ago.
“I wanted to foster to make children feel loved and cared for in a family environment,” said Sara, who has six children of her own.
“I have always had children around the house and I also work as a teaching assistant at a primary school.
“Any child we foster is always very much part of our family.”
Sara and Mohammed were approved as foster carers in September 2010.
Shortly afterwards, a four-year-old girl moved in with them.
Sara said: “I love my job as a foster carer.
“We really feel we have made a difference to the children we have looked after.
“When our first foster child came to us she was very wary and quiet, but after a while she really came out of herself.”
In a bid to increase awareness of fostering, Gloucestershire County Council is hosting a series of drop-in events until May 25 as part of Foster Care Fortnight.
Speaking ahead of the event, Sara said fostering has been rewarding for all the family.
“My own children have also benefited from living within a fostering family,” she said.
“My youngest child wasn’t used to sharing but after a while, they got on really well sharing toys and playing together.
“It’s been like that with the other children who have come to live with us too.”
Foster Care Fortnight is a nationwide campaign organised by the Fostering Network, highlighting the need for more foster carers.
This year’s theme Guess Who Fosters celebrates the amazing work that foster carers do to help make a positive impact on children’s lives.
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We already have a tremendous network of dedicated foster carers in Gloucestershire, many of whom have been carers for ten years or more, but we always need more.
“Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity to talk to someone to see if fostering could be the right choice for you and your family.
“You can find out more without any obligation.
“Take the first step towards changing a youngster’s life for the better.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit a drop-in session.
Events include one on Thursday at Quedgeley Library, on Bristol Road, from 2pm until 6pm.
Gloucestershire County Council’s fostering team can be contacted on 01242 532 654.