WELCOMING foster children into her family home as a youngster has helped one Warrington woman to become the person she is today.

Sasha, from Orford, was 13 years old when her parents decided to become foster carers and to welcome foster children to come and stay.

Now in her 30s, she says she vividly remembers the children that lived with her and has some fond memories of growing up in a household with foster siblings, many from very different backgrounds from herself.

And she is sharing her story to coincide with Sons and Daughters Month – The Fostering Network’s annual October campaign to celebrate the vital contribution children of foster carers make to foster care.

Recalling when her mum first told her she was going to be a foster carer, Sasha said: “I remember my younger brother and I sat down and had a big chat with mum and dad about her decision to foster and what it might be like for the family.

“Fostering meant that mum could have more of a home-based lifestyle, be around more for her own children while also caring for other children that may not have a stable or loving home life like we did.”

“Around 30 foster children in total came to stay, sometimes just for a few days, other times for months and even years.

“In that time, I learned that not all children were as lucky as myself and my brother, and it really opened my eyes to some of the neglect and abuse that some children experience.

“I remember one boy would take food out of our kitchen bin as this was how he had been used to finding his food. It really taught me not to judge anyone and to be more accepting of others.”

Now married with three children of her own and a stepdaughter, Sasha is grateful for the experience of growing up surrounded by foster siblings.

She feels it has made her a much more patient and relaxed person, able to let go of things that she sees are perhaps less important.

Sasha regularly attends Fostering information sessions to talk to potential foster carers, answering questions about fostering and giving an insight into what it is like to grow up in a fostering household.

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Cllr Matt Smith, Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children’s services said: “The sons and daughters of our foster carers play such an important role in helping to nurture, guide and support their foster siblings, many who may not have had the best start in life.

“This campaign is a great way to say a massive thank you to them and to highlight the positive benefits that fostering can have on the sons and daughters of our foster carers which often stays with them all through their lives, as Sasha’s story illustrates.”

Foster4 is a pioneering foster carer recruitment service that recruits foster carers in Warrington on behalf of the council.

If you are considering fostering, find out more at Foster4.co.uk or by emailing fosteringrecruitment@warrington.gov.uk