Carers on the Fostering Front Line

Army2

25/05/2018 8:39pm

Lisa and Daniel Hinton’s Army Family story

Fostering wasn’t at the forefront of Lisa and Daniel Hinton’s minds when they met in 2002.  At that time Lisa was running an equestrian centre in Yorkshire and, between tours, Daniel had been posted to the nearby Catterick Garrison as Section Commander of the Infantry Training Battalion Section.  After marrying in 2004, they moved to Wellington Barracks in London and then on to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, where Daniel became a Colour Sergeant.  As Daniel rose through the ranks, the couple gradually acclimatised to the uprooted and uncertain nature of life as a military couple. 

In 2008, when they were thinking about starting their own family, Lisa and Daniel chanced upon the National Fostering Agency’s recruitment stand at a military show in Aldershot.  It was there that their journey into fostering began.  Having experienced a few unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Lisa and Daniel had initially been keen to explore whether fostering would suit them as an alternative way of caring for children.  However, even when they were fortunate enough to go on to have two boys of their own, the fostering foundations had been laid.  Firmly believing that it was simply “a good thing to do”, and with the NFA recognising their commitment and enthusiasm, they didn’t hesitate to apply and commit to the assessment process to be approved as foster carers - in record time, as it turned out!

With over eighteen placements now under their belts, and a loving home often accommodating up to six children including their own, they have certainly earned their stripes.  As Danny says:

“we’ve been doing it for the last nine years, and not looked back”.

As an army family, taking the decision to become foster carers raises a number of questions.  Lisa explains one of the reasons why they felt that the NFA was the agency for them:

“initially we were concerned about how fostering would work with us being in the army as we moved so much.  Our Supervising Social Worker reassured us that the NFA would support our moves and it would not impact on any placements we may have at the time.  That is the beauty of being part of the NFA, as they are a national agency which enables us to foster children from all over the country”.

The Army, of course, are made aware of any army member’s intention to apply to become a foster carer, and permission has to be granted to foster in Ministry of Defence (MOD) accommodation.  Although home owners now, Lisa and Daniel found that fostering whilst living on a military estate demonstrated the real sense of community that army bases can offer, with friends and neighbours rallying round to support the family and welcome new children.  Likewise, Lisa and Daniel have found The Army to be extremely supportive of their fostering, with the chain of command permitting Daniel to do the necessary Skills to Foster and subsequent training courses when necessary.  

In the last eight years, this dedicated couple have supported young people and children with a whole range of needs and issues.  With a passion for supporting teenagers, they now enjoy ongoing contact with some of the young adults who have since become independent.  Lisa tells us:

“we have really enjoyed fostering, and the level of support that we can offer the children in our care.  We value the relationships we have made and the positive impact we have on young people’s lives in a short space of time”.

Lisa and Daniel are shining examples of how ‘the best’ values and skills acquired through combined army and parental duties can underpin a foster care career for Army and other Service personnel.  After almost nine years of fostering, and Daniel now a Captain and Regimental Careers Manager within the Household Division, their warmth, enthusiasm and pride remains evident.  When asked what makes them proud to be foster carers, Lisa smiles and says:

“getting the phone calls from children we’ve previously had, years after they’ve left, saying ‘thank-you so much for everything you’ve done for us’. That’s a big thing.”

We certainly can’t disagree with that!  It’s carers like Lisa and Daniel that make the NFA so proud of the collective foster care we provide. 

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For anyone interested in exploring how foster care can work in harmony with a career in The Army, please contact: fosterwithus@nfa.co.uk