A retired police detective-turned-foster carer is backing a Kirklees Council campaign to find loving homes for 52 children in its care who will need support until they’re able to live independently.
A major shortage of long-term foster carers means some could face being moved around, placed out of their local area or in residential care.
Keith Talbot, 52, from Huddersfield, has decided to share his story to encourage more people to come forward and to highlight that it’s never too late to help a child reap the rewards of a stable home.
Keith spent 30 years working for the police, starting out as a bobby on the beat before becoming a detective. During that time he dealt with countless crimes, with some cases resulting in children being placed into care.
Since retiring three years ago and feeling that he was ‘still able to do some good’, he decided to become a long-term foster carer with his wife, Zoe, who still works part-time at a local children’s home. Keith is now the primary carer for a ten-year old boy. He says: “My time at the police taught me to be resilient which I’d say has stood me in good stead as a foster carer. Also Zoe’s job means she deals with children who’ve come from abusive and neglected backgrounds all the time, so we never went into it blindfold.
“I used to witness children being placed into care, often at short notice, during unsociable hours and at weekends. I’d always perceived the foster carers to be like saints, or angels, even. To do what they do, essentially providing a lifeline for these children without hesitation, was so admirable and I’d always thought to myself; I’ll do that one day.
Having experienced the rewards of fostering first hand Keith is encouraging others to do the same, adding: “There are people who might think fostering is about looking after babies. But there are many older children out there who also need a loving family and I feel strongly that it’s never too late to help a child, whatever their age. Likewise I came into fostering later in life; proof that age makes no difference.”
To find out more call the council’s fostering team on 0800 389 0086 or visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/fostering where you can also read about some of the 52 children in urgent need of long-term foster families.