Every 20 minutes a child in the United Kingdom comes into the care system and needs a foster family.
Thank goodness for people like Carrie Haggarty and her husband David.
To highlight Foster Care Fortnight, which starts on Monday May 13, and to encourage anyone thinking about a career as a carer to come along to a drop-in event between 4pm and 8pm in a room at Lasswade Library on May 16, we caught up with Carrie in the family home.
On a sunny Tuesday morning, the house is an oasis of calm. The couple’s daughter Kennedy is in nursery, while Dana (7) and Jabe (13) are both in school.
The Haggartys are currently looking after a brother and sister aged eight and six, who are also at school.
Carrie said: “They came to us in between Christmas and New Year. Their mum and dad were just not coping.”
Despite coming from a chaotic home where meal times were mainly chocolate spread sandwiches and sweeties, the children were well-mannered and excited to join the Haggarty clan.
Carrie said: “They’ve got their issues but they’re lovely kids, no bother and they have settled in really well.”
“Watching them enjoy family activities for the first time has been wonderful.
“They’d never had a paddling pool, never eaten a barbecue outside, never been to the cinema. Nowadays most kids take these simple family things for granted so it’s just great to watch their faces.
“You can hear them laughing and chatting with our children. They’ve got new friends, the boy is out building dens with his pals. They are having a normal childhood really.”
David and Carrie have four children, one of whom is grown up, between them. Carrie said: “We’ve been fostering now for three years and we’d really recommend it. I think fostering is great, in fact I tell everyone to do it.”
Carrie, who is supported by the family placement team and offered regular training, will be at the drop-in event.
Midlothian Council is always looking for foster carers. Find more about the rewards and challenges that come with a career as a foster carer at www.midlothian.gov.uk/fostering or call 0131 271 3615.