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Liverpool foster mum celebrates an incredible 50 years of caring

4 weeks ago

Liverpool foster mum celebrates an incredible 50 years of caring
Liverpool foster carer Sue Price

Foster mum Sue Price is celebrating an incredible 50-year anniversary after caring for more than 400 children.

Sue, who lives in Old Swan, Liverpool, began fostering with her husband George when they were newlyweds back in the ‘70s before they started their own family.

They carried on offering a loving secure home to youngsters after having their own three sons – Georgie, who’s 46, Gareth 42, and 36-year-old Kieran – and adopted Bryn, 22, who they fostered when he was just hours old.

Sue even continued when George was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and vascular dementia, looking after him at home with the support of her boys until he died five years ago.

Now 73 and waiting for a hip operation, she says she can’t imagine life without her foster babies.

And, as Foster Care Fortnight celebrates the dedication of others like Sue and her husband, she says it’s given her so much happiness.

“We do need more carers so badly, and I would say to anyone who’s considering fostering that it is such a rewarding thing to do,” says Sue. “There can be ups and downs and it isn’t always easy but it’s a very satisfying job because you feel as though you’ve done your best and given these children a really good start.”

Having been brought up with a mum and dad who fostered, Sue says she’s always loved being around children.

“We got married when I was 19 and I wanted a baby right away but the social worker who used to come and see my mum asked if we’d consider fostering.

“I used to work in Alder Hey as an orderly; I’d be on the ward for 6am and I just liked feeding and helping to bath the babies so I always felt comfortable around them.

“George and I both agreed on it, he had an adopted sister and loved kids, so when I was 23 we fostered our first two girls, sisters aged three and five. Even though we didn’t have kids of our own at the time, it never felt daunting because it was just in my nature. They stayed with us until they were 19 and 20.”

For the last 30 years, Sue has fostered newborns. Their individual backgrounds vary, but many have birth mothers with drug or alcohol addictions, and the babies arrive straight from hospital.

George and Sue in 1974, the year they first fostered, when Sue was 23 and George was 28
George and Sue in 1974, the year they first fostered, when Sue was 23 and George was 28

“I never judge people, you don’t know what their circumstances are, so I don’t treat a person on drugs any differently to any other person, that’s not my job,” stresses Sue. “My job is the kids, to make their lives better, that’s what’s important to me.”

In the early years, Sue and George shared the responsibility of caring for their foster children.

“My husband was a sheet metal worker by trade, and when he was made redundant he went on to the milk because it was local and the 4am start meant he’d be finished in time to take them to school. 

“He was always very much involved, although I was the one on rules and he was more of a soft touch!”

What she’s learned over the years is that routine is crucial in settling little ones into their new environment.

“I’ve kept the same routine from the start because that’s what they need to give them stability. It usually only takes me two or three weeks to get them sleeping through the night.”

After fostering more than 400 children and babies – a figure that’s still rising – Sue says she stays in touch with many of those she’s given a temporary home to.

“At Christmas, I always have a house full of cards and bouquets of flowers, and they’ll text me to wish me happy Christmas. A couple of them come to see me, including one lad who’s 16 now. His mum brings him every year on my birthday in December and I have a photo with him.  

“There is that attachment there, and when they leave I do get emotional because to me it’s like losing a loved one. So I like seeing how they’re getting on and a lot of the parents tell me they’ve stuck to my routine and they’re doing brilliantly.” 

After 50 years, Sue says she enjoys fostering as much as she ever did.

“It’s a job I’ve always wanted to do, it’s just built in me, and when every baby comes here I feel the same as I did with those first two.

“My life would have been so different if I hadn’t decided to do this at 23. This has been my whole life and I don’t think I would have been anywhere near as happy without it.”

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