Sheffield author writes book about fostering experiences to help would be mums and dads

An author who has fostered children for 16 years has written a book to encourage others to do the same.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 13:39 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd February 2019, 13:44 pm
Sheffield author Neil Maxwell with his wife Adele

Neil Maxwell and his wife Adele, who was herself in foster care from the age of three, have been fostering children for over a decade, and Neil has decided to write an honest book in the hope of helping other would be mums and dads.

The book, called ‘So You Want to Foster?’ attempts to give a realistic portrayal of caring for foster children, including the upsides and the downsides.

Neil said: “Each child has a unique story, but whatever the circumstances surrounding the placement of a child in a foster family, it’s odds-on they won’t want to be there.

“However much they have endured neglect or abuse in their home environment, their first instinct is to be back at home with their parents.

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“Broken attachments will take much more than kindness to repair. In order to build new ones, it will take month, even years, of patient perseverance to help the foster child feel protected and able to develop healthy relationships.

“This is the challenge for foster carers. Normal instincts of parenting do not apply when dealing with children in the grip of broken attachments.

“Anyone having raised their own children will have developed stock responses to issues such as misbehaviour, disobedience, waywardness and so on.

“With children in care, those stock responses will not be effective and, indeed, will probably be counter-productive.

“Carers need to learn a whole new pattern in the art of managing behaviour to begin to cope with the condition, and it needs to be founded on a heartfelt understanding of the emotional impact of loss of attachments.”

The book  recounts the experiences of the Maxwell family over 16 years in fostering.

It describes events which are in sometimes sad and sometimes funny, but every event dispels all idealistic preconceptions about fostering.

So You Want to Foster? by Neil Maxwell is available to buy now on Amazon.

The book has been written as figures have revealed that 8,000 new foster carers are needed each year across the country.