“DO IT – you’ll never regret it” – that’s the message for people thinking about becoming

foster carers.

Jo Barton has been looking after children from Bracknell for a number of years now and is urging residents to follow in her footsteps and apply to become a foster carer.

Having worked as a global manager for a large manufacturer in the IT industry, Jo has now taken in eleven kids full-time at various points in the last four years, with more on the way.

Speaking to the News, she explained why she is dedicating her life to supporting the borough’s children: “I initially thought about adopting but I saw something about how special foster caring is, so I wanted to be greedy and care for as many children as I could.”

“From a selfish point of view, I get so much out of it – I love kids”.

Jo has looked after children ranging in age from newborn babies to 16 and 17-year-olds on both short-term and long-term placements.

She was able to become a foster carer after an application process spanning six stages and eight months saw her introduced to social workers, undergo a training course and be judged by a fostering panel.

She said: “It feels like a really long process but once you come through that it feels like it has flown by.”

Since then, Jo has experienced it all in her time as a foster carer.

One surprise that came with the “24/7” role was the pride she had at seeing her foster children learn the “small things”.

For Jo, even something such as folding clothes – something some of her foster children had never done before – meant a lot to her.

She also gets to take her foster children to visit many of the borough’s leisure facilities, such as Coral Reef and the Look Out, for free as part of Bracknell Forest Council’s (BFC) fostering incentives.

And Jo told the News why she chose to inquire with BFC instead of an agency when she was looking to become a foster carer.

She said: “I wanted to help children in my local area and the best way I could think of doing that is through my local authority.”

The council is urging residents to apply to become foster carers due to a shortage of those able to look after children in their own homes.

When children can’t be matched up with a foster family from inside Bracknell Forest, they are often sent on placements outside of the borough.

But Jo is getting ready to welcome three more children into her family home today.

She said: “I’m very excited.”

Foster Care Fortnight 2019 runs from May 13 to May 26 and Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) has been spreading the message about how residents can support the borough’s young people.

You can find out more about fostering by visiting the council’s website