Pauline Hanratty

Southern Trust foster carer

People from all walks of life do foster


Pauline Hanratty began her journey into fostering as a kinship foster carer for Southern HSC Trust, and was later approved to foster more children and young people for the Trust. She shares her journey below:

“I’d always thought about fostering but never made any enquires even though my intentions were good.  Then in 2009 I lost my husband. My children had all grown up, both my sons were married and had families of their own. My daughter remained with me for a year after her daddy died and then moved out on her own.

Then in November 2012 I received a phone call from a social worker involved with a family that were known to me and asked if I could look after a 14 year old young person for a week. The week passed and a senior social worker met with me in my home and I was asked how I felt about becoming a kinship carer. The young person had settled well and I agreed to keep her in my home for as long as necessary, so long as the young person was happy. This young person is now 18 and has remained with me and is very much a part of my family. Then in late December 2013 I decided after discussion with the young person that I would put myself forward to become a Trust foster carer, which I am happy to say, I was approved as in January 2014 and meant I could foster other children. I was delighted with the outcome although frightened at the same time, as new young people would be placed in my home and in my care. I am delighted to say I’ve taken to it like a duck to water. Being a foster carer has its ups and downs: some happy and sad times with young people leaving to return home but I am happy to say they have always kept in touch.

During my time as a foster carer I have cared for mainly teenagers.  I believe every child deserves a chance and love fostering teenagers.  It is amazing how much they have enlightened me and taught me about the world they are growing up in.   The young people in my care have now become my younger children who I treat very much like my own. It really doesn’t take much to put a smile on a young person’s face and I am a firm believer in that what I put into fostering will determine what I get out of it.

So if you think you could offer a child or a young person a safe, secure home, please get in contact and make you enquiry to find out what it takes to become a foster carer. If you can offer time, love, support, a listening ear and sometimes a lot of patience, then make the call.

Thank-you for reading my experience.”

To find out more about becoming a valued HSC foster carer, call Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 who will put you in touch with your local HSC Trust. Alternatively you can enquire online.