A RETIRED police officer has spoken of how giving a home to vulnerable children has changed her life to promote a national campaign.
Fostering Fortnight runs until Sunday and Jacqueline Rushton is taking the opportunity to promote the rewards of fostering.
Along with Uttoxeter-based agency Foster Care Associates (FCA), the Tean resident is encouraging others to follow her lead.
She said: “I was a police officer for 31 years and, when I retired, I needed something to do.
“I worked a few retail jobs and they bored me senseless.
“I had a friend who was a foster carer and they’d had a really positive experience so I decided to give it a try.
“It’s challenging and emotional but can be incredibly rewarding.
“I wake up most mornings thinking how lucky I am to be a foster carer.”
FCA, in Balance Street, is looking to employ more carers to fill a 925-child shortfall in the West Midlands.
And Mrs Rushton, who looks after a child with husband Mark, said fostering is ‘the best thing I’ve ever done’.
The 52-year-old said: “You have to go into fostering with your eyes open and be a resilient, positive person, because it can definitely be tough sometimes, but the rewards are out of this world.
“I’ve fostered two children on long-term arrangements but there are other ways to do it, like providing respite care or short-term care.
“Whatever you do, there’s a chance to be a positive influence in the life of a child who’s had an unfortunate life.”
An FCA spokesman said: “If you have the patience, commitment and enthusiasm to foster a child, have a spare bedroom and a willingness to learn, contact FCA on 0800 023 4561 or visit www.thefca.co.uk.”