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You Can’t Fix It, You Just Have to Be There

Friday 15 March 2024

Lacey and Danielle’s Story

Lacey and Danielle have a lot of love to give. They have no children of their own and had been talking about fostering for a few years before becoming foster carers.

Lacey had always been drawn to fostering after seeing an advertisement on TV many years before. She hadn’t known any foster carers herself, but her grandmother worked in care and Lacey had also spent time caring for older people after leaving university. Both Lacey and Danielle were keen to make a difference to children and young people.

The space and love and desire to foster

By 2020, the time was right for them to begin the application process. Lacey said:

“We had a three-bedroom house, so we had the space and the love and the desire to foster. We did a lot of research into possible fostering agencies and chose Heath Farm because of the support and training they offer. They have something called a Mockingbird Hub, which is a network of foster carers who work together and are supported by a hub leader. It means there’s always support there if you need it from other foster carers, as well as the agency. The foster children are able to access therapy and we get a lot of training in things like therapeutic parenting.”

Complex needs

Lacey and Danielle were approved as foster carers in October 2020 and their first foster child – a girl of 10 – arrived soon afterwards. Because of Covid restrictions, the normal ‘meet and greet’ process couldn’t happen, so they just had a FaceTime call before the foster child arrived. Lacey said:

“It was quite scary. She’d been through so much and we didn’t want to get it wrong. We did everything we could to make our home welcoming and lovely, but the little girl had complex needs and she was a long way from her birth family. She stayed with us for a year but, in the end, she needed to be closer to her family so she moved to a different foster carer. That was very difficult for us but the experience was also rewarding. We knew we were doing the right thing.”


One of the biggest highs

Their next foster child was a teenage girl who came as an emergency placement. She was only meant to stay with them for a short time but, after telling her social worker that she wanted to stay with Lacey and Danielle, the young woman remained with them until she turned 18.

“It was so rewarding supporting her through to independence, getting her settled in her own place and making sure she had everything she needed. That’s been one of the biggest highs for us so far since we began fostering.”


Lacey and Danielle had always aspired to foster siblings and, so, in February 2023, two young sisters aged seven and nine came to live with them. The younger sister has additional needs and the first few months proved to be a challenge.

“There were difficulties between them because their previous placement, which was supposed to be long-term, had broken down,” explained Lacey. “They were sad and their emotions would come out in ways that were not always easy to manage. But we got them into therapy and things have really turned around. They are thriving and doing well in school. They have made friends and become an integral part of our family, with a nan and grandad and cousins. It was rewarding when their social worker said to us ‘they are so happy’. You know you’ve done a good job. We are going for permanency this month so the girls will stay with us through to 18, which feels great.”

Therapeutic support

During the challenging times, Lacey and Danielle received therapeutic support so they could discuss what was happening and find strategies to help them manage the difficulties.

“This was really helpful,” said Lacey. “We learned how to pick up on the signs and understand some of the triggers so they we could prevent things escalating. It was great to get this extra support because we hadn’t dealt with this kind of thing before. Now we see the therapist every other month because we’re more experienced and things are a lot better.”

As well as one-to-one therapy, Lacey and Danielle have benefited from the range of training provided by their fostering agency. They particularly enjoy face-to-face training and the opportunity to share experiences with other foster carers.

The foster children come first

They moved into a larger house in October 2023 and are considering whether to extend their family of foster children. They love fostering and would like to care for more children, but they also recognise that the needs of their current foster children must come first.

Lacey commented:

“Fostering is really rewarding. I’d recommend it to anyone who has space in their life and the love to give. Of course there are lows – like when a placement ends or things don’t go well – but we get all the support we need, we’re not just left to cope on our own. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you can’t always fix it. You want to but you can’t. You just need to be there with them when they are going through it because when a child has been through trauma, sometimes their reactions are a trauma response. And the about fostering thing is, the children will remember you and what you’ve done for them for the rest of their lives.”

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible, try our Can I Foster? tool, which answers common questions about suitability to foster, based on a personalised Q and A style format. The outcome might surprise you! If you’re ready to chat with one of our fostering advisors, contact your local team.

Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.