Meet the Kirklees woman who helped foster more than 100 children
Nov 16 2010 by Kevin Core, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Meet the woman who helped foster more than 100 children
THE people of Huddersfield have more than 100 reasons to be grateful to Brenda and Ian Whitworth.
That’s how many children have passed through their doors since they entered the world of foster care in 1985.
Sadly, Ian died in July, but his widow is continuing to provide a home to children who don’t have the luxury of a stable family environment.
Currently 120 children are forced out of Kirklees to be looked after by expensive agencies. They are away from the environment they know because of a shortage of foster carers.
Brenda, 59, said: “In 1985 I was a child minder and sewing machinist.
“I had my own children and I didn’t want to work outside the house so I thought I could give support to other children.
“At the time my own children were eight and 11 and obviously we considered the impact on them.
“We discussed it with all the family and I spoke to other people who were foster carers.
“It was in at the deep end because the first foster children we had were three children aged between three and seven. I thought ‘what do I do?’ but everyone pulled together and enjoyed it.
“The length of time a child is with you can be from weeks to months to years. For short-stay fostering the longest was three years and 10 months.
“We have also long-term fostered and that lasted for 12 years.
“She’s just a member of the family now and was a bridesmaid at my daughter’s wedding.”
Brenda added: “I think it’s been positive for our family, obviously there can be conflicts but not every brother and sister gets on either.
“Our children have learned the reality of how some people live, it’s made them appreciative.
“One child we were looking after reacted very badly in McDonalds and became very difficult to control.
“We learned however that it came from the fact the child could not read, and that created the stress. They all have individual needs.”
Having fostered so long, Brenda and Ian had become accustomed to some blasts from the past.
She recently had a knock on the door from a 29-year-old who she had cared for when he was 11.