Ex-police officer shares fostering experience in New Year campaign

Ex-police officer, Darren (pictured right) has shared his experience of providing respite care to children and young people.

Ex-police officer, Darren (pictured right) has shared his experience of providing respite care to children and young people. - Credit: ARCHANT / Cambridgeshire Count Council

An ex-police officer who is juggling a new job as well as being a foster carer has shared their experience of fostering to raise awareness of the range of options available. 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough fostering service has launched a new campaign called ‘what’s your type of fostering?’ to prove individuals can foster alongside another job. 

The service hopes it will encourage individuals to start a new journey in 2022 which will change a child or young person’s life as well as their own. 

To demonstrate that there are a number of types of fostering out there to suit all types of lifestyles and professions, the fostering service spoke to Darren, a former police officer of 30 years. 

Darren is now a civil servant working from the Home Office and he and his wife have just completed their first year of fostering. 

They provide respite care to children and young people, a type of fostering where carers can offer much-needed breaks to other carers for planned, often short periods. 

“Respite care can be for a couple of weeks, for a few days over a weekend, or even just a few hours in an emergency,” said Darren. 

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“We call our care ‘sleepovers’, ‘holiday time’ and ‘adventure days’ depending on the age of the children.” 

The couple explained that it was Darren’s experience as a police officer that led them to consider fostering. 

They’ve found that by working as a team, they can ensure they give the children the care they need whilst also doing their day jobs justice. 

Ex-police officer Darren (pictured) and his wife offer respite care to children and young people

Ex-police officer Darren (pictured) and his wife offer respite care to children and young people as well as both working full time jobs. - Credit: CCC

“You do have to be organised and you have to know what each other is doing work-wise in advance,” said Darren. 

“Weekends are, of course, for fun – neither of us work then, so we fill those days with all sorts of activities to make the children’s time here as fun as it can be.” 

Darren advises anyone considering becoming a respite foster carer needs to be able to be flexible with their time. 

He says that it is a hugely worthwhile experience. 

“It’s so rewarding to see a child relax and have fun with us,” he said. 

“We find ourselves lucky to be able to open our home to children who need a loving and safe environment, which is close to where they live.” 

You can watch Darren talk more about his experience as a respite carer online.