Corsham foster caring couple learns that love outweighs age and home size
Elaine and Richard Dent didn’t think they’d be accepted as foster carers – their cottage in Corsham is small and, at 45 and 54, they imagined they would be too old.
With no children of their own, the couple had often considered fostering.
“Apart from our age and having a small house, we didn’t know how to go about it,” said Mrs Dent.
“Then I was flicking through a magazine and saw a page all in pink. It was Community Foster Care’s advert. I sent an email thinking nothing would happen and the next day we got a phone call.
“Someone from the agency came over for a chat. We signed up for a two-day assessment course and it went from there.
“We did have a few doubts through the training period – how would we cope if a child came to us with huge problems? Sometimes the paperwork was a bit of a nuisance. But we took everything step by step until finally we were accepted.”
Caring for others wasn’t entirely new to the Dents: Richard’s sister Caroline was severely physically and mentally disabled and the couple had spent a lot of time looking after her before she died.
They opened the door of their cosy cottage to their first cared-for child in March 2013. Mrs Dent gave up her job as a team leader at the Co-Op in Corsham to become a full-time carer, while Mr Dent continued to work as a groundsman at the local school.
Mrs Dent said: “It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but one year on, we see a completely different child with a lovely sense of humour and lots of charm.
“Children just want a safe, stable home life where they go to school, have decent food and clean clothes, as well as someone who can help them overcome problems.
“All three of us have had our ups and downs, but the good times definitely outweigh the bad.”
The couple welcome the new friends they have made through not-for-profit agency Community Foster Care.
Mr Dent said: “The support we get from the agency is amazing. They are always at the end of the phone if we need them, and they host regular social events.
“There’s a good network of foster carers who understand where I’m coming from if there’s an issue.
“All children misbehave sometimes, but with cared-for children there’s usually a specific reason. Other foster carers understand that.”