Cambridgeshire and Peterborough fostering service call on empty nesters


Fostering a child or young person is being offered by the service as a solution both to children and young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as well as for parents who may be experiencing empty nest syndrome.  

Some of the signs that a parent has developed empty nest syndrome once their children have left home include loss of purpose, lack of control, sadness and loneliness. 

Valerie, a 59-year-old divorced mother-of-three from South Cambridgeshire, has been a foster carer for the past four years and provides care to three young people.  

She said: “My daughters both live with each of their partners. 

“My middle child, home from university, asked me if I had ever thought about fostering. They all thought I would have much to offer.” 

She had previously dismissed the idea, thinking foster carers needed to be settled, married couples who worked as she had no idea that foster carers were paid. 

Chatting with one of her many friends who had adopted children, the subject of fostering came up again for Valerie. 

“My friend has two adopted sons," she said.

“She asked me if I had ever considered fostering as she thought I could make a positive difference to children’s lives.” 

Spurred on by encouraging reactions from her other close friends, Valerie began to make enquiries with the local authorities. 

After a visit from a social worker, Valerie was cleared to submit her application. Four-and-a-half months later, her assessment process was complete. 

One of the children Valerie cares for has made it into university. 

“She came to stay as a seven-night emergency – and that was about 20 months ago,” Valerie said.  

“The professional team agreed that we were a safe home for her and she wanted to stay put, and I was in a position to offer this for her.” 

Valerie cited her willingness to learn new things as a key quality for a foster carer.

She said: “You also need to have a reasonable expectation of yourself and the children you’re caring for. 

“You need to maintain relationships with all other professionals involved in the team around the child and birth family.” 

Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for children's services, said: “Carers like Valerie whose children still support their decision to foster even when they have themselves left home gives us a great deal of hope.

"Please consider fostering if your children have flown the nest.” 

When you foster with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fostering Service, you will receive many benefits such as generous allowances, round-the-clock support, individualised training programmes and a dedicated social worker. 

If you are over 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom and would like to get involved in becoming a foster carer visit the Cambridgeshire or Peterborough Fostering website or call 0800 052 0078.