AFTER a 14-year break Bruce Collins and his wife Emma returned to fostering with their three children and said it 'benefits everyone.' 

In 2015 Kendal foster carers Bruce Collins*, his wife Emma and their three birth children 14-year-old Joe*, 12-year-old Sam* and Ed* who was eight returned to Cumbria after living in France and decided to re-embark on their fostering journey.

The couple first fostered in 1998.

Bruce said: "Emma and I first began fostering back in 1998 following the tragic loss of our firstborn Jessica at just 11 hours old due to an undetected rare condition affecting her lung development. A few months later, out of this complete devastation, we enquired about short-term and emergency fostering with the local authority.

"Two days after we were approved we received our first emergency placement. They arrived at the door at 6pm that evening - and that was the start of our wonderful adventure.

"‘Three years into fostering and we fell pregnant once more. Life took us to France and we spent the next 14 years raising our own three boys. Fostering was put on hold but we always reminisced about our experiences, the challenges and accomplishments.

"‘On our return to the UK Emma and I wanted to get back into fostering but recognised that this time would be different, we would be fostering as a family." 

The first boy they took on did not settle into their home and after 18 months a better match was found. Despite this he recently came to their house for help with a job application. 

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The next boy, Dan*, has been with them for five and a half years. Bruce said: "He will be with us through to adulthood, in fact, for as long as he chooses to be. He’s in college now and doing great. Whilst we would like to think how much Dan has benefitted from being with us, we never underestimate the influence and experience he has brought to our family. We have all learned a lot about tolerance, judgement, bias, and first impressions."

There are currently over 82,000 children in care in the UK. Bruce and Emma want to encourage more people to foster to relieve the care system and improve young lives as part of a campaign by National Fostering Group.  

*Names have been changed for safeguarding purposes.