Caring couple in appeal

Wigan foster carers Jeanane and John Hales
Wigan foster carers Jeanane and John Hales

A WIGAN foster carer is appealing for more people to come forward to help make up a national shortage of carers.

Jeanane Hales has been fostering for about six years and has looked after a dozen children in that time, not including the four children she has of her own.

But with 1,700 fewer foster carers in the North West than needed people like Jeanane and her husband John are in short supply and Jeanane wants to help change that.

She said: “Each year, thousands of children and young people are in desperate need of nothing more than a stable, loving family.

“But since the Baby P scandal two years ago, more and more children have been taken into care, yet there are fewer people deciding to foster – leaving vulnerable children without the care they need.” For Jeanane and John, who live on Beech Hill Avenue, Beech Hill, becoming foster parents was a way of fulfilling their dreams of having a busy family home full of children.

The pair already had four children of their own and Jeanane worked as a childminder, but the couple always felt they could give more to children less fortunate than their own.

Jeanane said: “I come from a family of 10 children and since I was young, I always wanted the same for my family.

“The idea came from a mum at the school gate, who suggested I should think about fostering.

“John and I thought about it for a while, then I made the call. After that, everything happened very quickly.”

Since then the couple have had several placements, ranging from a young mother and baby to sibling groups of up to five brothers and sisters at a time.

And Jeanane says becoming a foster carer is the best thing she has ever done.

She said: “Clearly, deciding to foster is a big decision.

“But with the support and training I’ve received from North West agency, Modus, I believe it is something which a lot of people could do well – and could come to cherish as one of the most rewarding things they could ever do.

“But while I am proud to have been there for them when they needed me, I can’t currently help enough children and young people.”

To find out more about fostering, contact the fostering team on 01942 487201.