|15,000 Kids couple urge others to foster
Debra and Chris
A couple who featured on channel 4's hard-hitting documentary 15,000 Kids and Counting are urging more people to come forward and foster this Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May).
Chris (50) and Debbie Bulpitt (49) from Leigh invited camera crews into their home last year in a bid to encourage more people to foster. Over one million viewers tuned in to watch the three-part documentary in April as their foster children, siblings Lauren 7 and Liam 3 eventually found a "mummy" and "daddy."
Despite being relatively new to foster care, the couple gave Channel 4 unprecedented access into their lives to shed light on the fostering and adoption process to encourage more people to follow in their footsteps and give a child a loving family.
The Bulpitts were approved as foster carers almost three years ago. A few weeks later they received a phone call from their social worker. She was looking for a temporary home for siblings Lauren and Liam. The couple agreed to take them in and the next day they arrived on the doorstep with nothing but a bin bag of belongings.
“That’s when the reality of fostering hit home – like being a parent, nothing quite prepares you for it. Looking back I suppose we went into it naively – we thought we could just ‘fix’ them but it’s not as simple as that. But what we can do is provide a stable, safe and loving home. It is hard work, but it’s also the most rewarding job you can do,” explains Chris.
Lauren and Liam were adopted earlier this year – against all odds. Typically, the older sibling groups tend to be the hardest to place.
Asked why they decided to take part in the documentary, Debbie said:
“We did it for the kids. We wanted to show potential adopters that older children have a lot to offer too and it worked. Lauren and Liam have got such a happy future to look forward to with a mum and dad who will love and take care of them for the rest of their lives, and that’s all that matters.”
With record numbers of children coming into care, and the need to recruit 50 more foster carers in the borough, Wigan Council is looking for more foster carers like Chris and Debbie.
Anne Goldsmith, director for children and young people at Wigan Council, said:
“Finding stable and loving homes where children are given the opportunity to thrive is a key ambition for Wigan Council. This campaign helps to raise awareness of the need to recruit more foster carers, nationally and locally. There are lots of myths about who can and cannot foster and I think many people would be surprised to learn there’s nothing stopping them. More information about who can foster can be found on our website www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering. There are lots of different types of foster care to suit a variety of lifestyles.”
To find out more about fostering, visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering or to chat to a member of the team call 01942 487200.