North East UK news Mum who has fostered for more than 40 years now helping mother and babies PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Sheila Ryan began fostering children in 1978 and has now specialised in mother and baby foster placements
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A woman who has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to caring for children is now helping mothers and their babies. Sheila Ryan began fostering in 1978 with the help of her husband, her family and her friends. For the last six years, the 75-year-old, who lives in Newcastle, has now specialised in mother and baby foster placements. Mother and baby placements are a specialist type of fostering where typically, a young or inexperienced parent, usually a mother and baby, comes to stay with a foster parent for a few months. They allows the mother to receive some extra help and advice until they can safely care for their baby on their own. Read more: Heartbroken family of South Tyneside man say he took his own life after battling cocaine addiction Foster parents like Sheila have to provide a detailed picture of the parent's ability to care for their child/children and they do this through observations, interactions and recordings. She said: "Mother and baby foster placements weren’t really a thing many years ago, but it’s a very rewarding career and something I really enjoy doing. It’s really beneficial for these mums to be working on one with someone who can help and support them with parenting. "Most of the mums that I’ve had have been able to leave me and go home happy with their babies. I also focus on supporting them with their mental health and everything that comes with being a new mum." Sheila said she there are many advantages to specialising in mother and baby placements. She said these include seeing how a mum can progress with that child and seeing how the baby develops. Sheila said: "The current placement that I have has developed so well. No one thought for one minute in the beginning that she would be able to keep this baby, but a year on, she's doing so well and it’s looking very much as though she is keeping the baby." During one placement, Sheila helped a Sudanese mother and her baby. She said: "She was with me because they believed the baby was at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is illegal in Sudan, it still happens there and in this country illegally along with forced marriage. It was an interesting experience for us all and we supported the mother as best we could. No one had really dealt with many FGM risk cases at the time so it was new to us all." Sheila has two birth children, aged 51 and 49, one adopted daughter, who is 41. She also has a 31-year-old foster daughter who has been with her since she was seven years old. She said: "We’re all one big family! I love everything about it. I’m also a grandmother to my foster daughter’s children, which is very special too." Prior to having her children, Sheila worked as an accounts clerk and took on part-time jobs when they were very young. She said she watched her relatives get involved in fostering and decided to give it a go herself. Sheila said: "My sister and brother-in-law were doing it, and I spent a lot of time at their house and that’s when I believed I could probably do it as well. I hadn't considered it before, and I’m not even sure how much I was aware of it, but that was how this all started, and now it’s just a way of life for me! "Fostering has made a huge difference to family life for us.
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. It’s helped them to understand where people come from and widened their view on society. "They’re all really good with my placements and they know when they can get involved and help me, and when to not. They’re very aware of safe caring and it’s all been a huge learning experience for our family. My eldest daughter is also the therapeutic lead and senior care worker at a children's home, so it is nice to have someone around who may understand what I’m experiencing." Sheila still has strong relationships with some of the children she used to foster. She said many of the children are now adults and still visit her often. She said: "Two young men who still visit me now were part of a sibling group from another country. The most significant event for me was getting them British citizenship back when they were with me. One of them is now a student and one of them is working for Amazon and they’re both doing so well for themselves. It’s so special for me to see, whilst still being a part of their lives." However she admits that fostering is not always plain sailing and she has experienced difficult behaviours with children. Sheila said: "Mainly now, I work with adult mums, which can sometimes be challenging because they have an outside life other than being with me, and it’s sometimes difficult for them as nobody chooses to have to come into a mother and baby placement." "They come here and have to live by my house rules, although I don’t have many. They’re aware that they’re being recorded on their development and being judged which can be quite challenging for them at times. It’s working with people to understand the sense of what I do, why they're here and the benefits in the long term, if they can see it through." Sheila believes the support she receives from Foster Care Associates (FCA) that has made all the difference to her fostering journey. She said her FCA supporting social worker is a "huge help" and a great part of our support system as foster parents. She said: "If I need anything I can always speak to her. Working with FCA, I really get the right amount of support I need. It’s a really rewarding career and I am so pleased to be a part of it with FCA." Sheila has urged anyone interested in specialising in mother and baby foster care to consider it. She added: "Listen to the advice of other people who have done this before, and of course the advice from your supervising social worker. "The training is also great. If you decide to go ahead with it, I’m sure you’ll find it very rewarding. Be prepared, as your life will change because there is a lot of commitment involved, but it’s so worth it." Read more: Tragedy as woman found dead inside Durham property Teacher banned from pruning her own 72ft tree despite fears it could crush her Darlington home 'It's disgusting': Mum's fury after hit and run drug driver who hurt her son walks free from court Popular Tynemouth pub applies to extend alcohol licence to include outside bar named 'The Pebble' Firefighters in the North East called to rescue 'dozens' of obese people trapped in their homes last year
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