September 2 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Monday, June 2, 2014
A former headteacher found a new lease of life through fostering - he has now cared for 45 boys during his 15-year tenure as a carer.
John Coster, 65, of Elm Park, still counts many of them as part of his family and said the experience has “changed his life”.
Now the council are hosting drop-in sessions to encourage more people to join in the fun by helping others through life.
John never married or had children of his own but now has a huge extended family he can call his own.
John said: “I had a very traditional view of fostering and thought you had to be in a couple to do it.
“I went along to an information evening and applied. It was perfect timing for me as I had left my job as a head teacher and was working part-time.”
He said his first weekend as a fosterer was tricky. He had a boy of 10 to look after and despite John’s meticulous planning, the boy just wanted to watch telly.
On the last day John achieved a breakthrough - he managed to get the boy to the fair and among the hustle and bustle, the boy slipped his hand into John’s for comfort.
The show of affection left John thinking “I can do this”.
On of his former foster sons, now 28, has stayed in touch and now help’s John out doing work around the house.
John said: “Good foster carers are vital. They change lives. Some youngsters go off the rails due to abuse or neglect and are on the path to an awful life, but a good carer can turn all that around in time. It’s an amazingly important job.”
If you are interested in learning more about foster care go to Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford on July 1 between 6.30pm-8pm for a drop-in session.