A same sex couple are proudly myth-busting foster care criteria.

Yvonne Fisher, 55, and her partner Fran Collett, 50, currently foster a one-year old baby boy, a 7-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.

The Waltham Abbey couple, who have been together 25 years, are also a special guardian to a 16-year old boy.

As Pride month is celebrated, Yvonne and Fran, are urging other same sex couples to not be deterred, thinking that they do not meet the criteria.

Yvonne said: “Being in a same-sex couple never entered my mind as a potential barrier to signing up as a foster carer. All I knew is that we had something special and wanted to share that love with children.

"It’s a real shame that other same-sex couples might wrongly believe that they don’t fit the criteria.

"All you need is love in your heart and a spare bedroom! And perhaps a pinch of patience too…”

Yvonne changed careers to become a foster carer and she says she’s never looked back:

“I was working long hours in the city and it got to a point where it just wasn’t rewarding any more", she explained. "I wanted more in life than just commuting and working."

"Fast-forward 14 years and 15 foster children, ranging from babies to teenagers, I can honestly say that it’s the best career move I’ve ever made! They say that you will change a child’s life by fostering them, but in reality, its ended up changing my own life. My career swap has very much taught me that money is not happiness. The smiles on their faces are all the payment I need."

In 2020, up to 500 children in Essex are expected to come into foster care and Essex County Council (ECC) is urging more foster carers, like Yvonne and Fran, to help transform their lives.

More carers are needed in Essex on a full and part-time basis for either short or long-term placements, with ECC offering training.

The most desperate need is for foster carers of children and young people over the age of ten or those with disabilities.

Foster carers can be single, married, from a same-sex family or retired,

Cllr Louise McKinlay, cabinet member for children and families, said: “On behalf of everyone at Essex County Council, I want to thank all of our Foster Carers. The love, care, time and commitment that you demonstrate by providing vulnerable children and young people with a secure family home makes such a difference in helping them to grow up confidently and live positive lives. Whilst in your care you help them achieve their ambitions and potential. Thank you!

"We welcome foster carers from all walks of life and encourage those from the LGBT+ community to get involved and find out more about fostering. Yvonne and Fran are great examples of how a change in career can lead to you working with us to support young people in Essex.”

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