ESSEX foster carers have urged residents to welcome children in need into their families and homes in order to give them the stability they need to succeed in life.

Daryl Colclough, of Clacton, has been fostering for an impressive 21 years, and has helped to transform the lives of children who have otherwise had a traumatic start.

The inspiring mother has embarked on her fostering journey alongside husband of 19 years, Alan, with whom she has five children of her own.

She first became interested in the idea after joining her sister at a fostering recruitment event and being taken back by the impact it had on her.

Initially Daryl and Alan dabbled in short term fostering and respite by care but they now operate a longer term arrangement with those they take in.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“We felt we were good roles models and we could offer these young people a safe home and care, so we decided that fostering was the right path for us,” said Daryl.

“We eased ourselves into it and didn’t make any quick decisions as it would have a big impact on our whole family – it was important we had support from our children.

“Our children have grown up around foster children and we’ve all personally grown from having them in our life.

“It’s been 21 years and it’s been a wonderful experience for us all – we’ve learnt to not take things for granted and we will all look back at our experiences with affection.”

Through their lengthy stint as generous, kind and thoughtful foster carers, Daryl and Alan have experienced both the highs and lows of what fostering entails.

Some of the young people they have taken in, for example, have been nearly banned from school or suffered due a lack of emotional support throughout childhood.

Seeing their children then turn their lives around, however, coupled somewhat with being the reason for the transformations, makes the process all the more fulfilling.

“All children and young people need a safe and stable home environment and some children and young people come to us feeling angry,” added Daryl.

“But by building trust with them, providing them with stability and safety, you start to see their confidence and self-esteem grow. It is so rewarding for us.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“We have seen some of our young people go from almost being suspended from school to passing their GCSEs and A-Levels, and even completing a degree.

“That means the world to us and it makes us very proud to see them reach their potential, to grow as a person – it gives us the confidence we are doing things right.”

With many parents and families having now waved their children off to universities and college, Daryl now wants to see more people helping other young people.

She said: “If you are considering fostering, go through the assessment process, speak to social workers, speak to foster carers, and speak to your family.

“Just seeing a foster child smile for the first time, to see them grow in confidence and self-esteem, is the best feeling in the world.

“We are so proud of all our foster children, and we will always think of them as our own children and our own family.”

Debbie Finch, of Basildon, has been fostering for 21 years.

She credit’s her life experience, her family’s support, and the training by Essex County Council to helping her foster children who have had a traumatic start in life, developing them into young adults.

She added: "Children in care can often be traumatised, needing a lot of emotional and mental support so that they can learn to trust in people and feel cared for. Many worry about stability and security, at least to begin with.

"You can't change their past, or the traumas they’ve been through, but you can help them, or support them, in changing their future."

Essex councillor Beverley Egan, cabinet member for children services and early years, is now appealing for more foster carers.

She added: “Our foster carers help build better, brighter futures for hundreds of children across Essex every year.

"We desperately need more people, like Debbie, to foster on a full and part-time basis for either short or long-term placements.

"We have a particular need for foster carers who can support older children over age 10 and children with disabilities."

To find out more information visit or call 0800 801 530.