13 May 2021

Continuing to show #WhyWeCare

As Foster Care Fortnight continues, here are more stories from Aberdeenshire Council’s longest serving foster carers, this time both from the family’s perspective and the young person they cared for.

The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, which began on Monday, May 10 and concludes on Sunday, May 23, is #WhyWeCare. The fostering service hopes by reading these vignettes you will appreciate the hashtag’s true meaning. 

Making a big difference to wee ones’ lives – Kath and Tony Salter

A kind gesture during a difficult time led to Kath embarking on a foster care journey lasting several decades. When her family sadly experienced a bereavement, she said she would like to help her family any way she could. This offer of assistance led to her teenage niece coming to live with her from New Zealand.

Over the next 33 years Kath and her husband Tony fostered many children and young people, caring for them “as if they were their own.” A testament of the devotion they have shown is the willingness of the children and young people in their care to keep in touch long after they have left their home. “Don’t ever think you may not have changed the lives of some of the children you care for, you will have made an impact on some level,” Kath reflected.

Possessing a good sense of humour, developing a support network and being non-judgmental about both the children and young people and their families are just some of the attributes needed to provide foster care for the long haul. She said: “You don’t ever stop thinking and worrying about these kids.”

Accepted as one of their own – Stephen’s story 

Stephen is just one of the many children and young people who received foster care from Kath and Tony Salter.

As a youngster, he remembered feeling anxious and the thought of going into foster care for the first time was quite daunting. He hadn’t lived away from home before and even at a young age he knew he couldn’t continue to live at home.

What he recalls most is the feeling of being accepted into Kath and Tony’s family, ‘as one of their own’. He says it was brilliant living with them and he has so many happy memories like going to Spain on holiday, his first train ride – simple things.

Stephen recalls having a lovely time at a family wedding in Glasgow. Kath and Tony’s relatives from Manchester ventured north, there was lots of ceilidh dancing and everyone had a great time.  Christmas was also a special time when the family enjoyed going out for a festive meal together.

Stephen firmly believes without Kath and Tony’s love and support he would not have made a success of his life. He works full time offshore, bought his first home aged 20, has a loving and settled relationship with two boys of his own. He continues to live close to Kath and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, he visited her every Friday when he was at home. When Tony became ill, he would come and sit with him whenever he could. Stephen loved Tony and misses him greatly since he passed away.

Kath remains very much part of his life and his partner is a regular visitor to Kath with the boys, who call her Nana. Stephen regards Kath as his mum, treats her at Mother’s Day and gives her the respect of a much-loved parent.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer or would like an information pack, please contact fostering.befriending@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or 01467 532700.

For more information about Foster Care Fortnight or to donate to the Fostering Network please visit https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/get-involved/foster-care-fortnight