SHE is a busy mum-of-one with a hectic home life.
But Colleen Callaghan has still found the time to foster an amazing 65 children in just three years.
Now the 42-year-old supermum is urging other local families to help end the chronic shortage of foster carers.
The Spen Valley mum always knew that she wanted to help vulnerable children. Then her husband Stephen spotted a newspaper advert asking families to become foster carers.
She said: “Stephen said it would be the perfect role for me. An old school friend of mine who had been fostering for 10 years also thought I should give it a go.
“It was a big step to take, not only because of the challenge ahead of us but also the changes we would have to make at home.
“We sat down with my son who was nine at the time, talked it through and agreed that it was something we would definitely like to get involved with.”
Since then Colleen and her family haven’t looked back.
In three years she has taken into her home 65 children between the ages of two and 17.
Many have been under short-term and respite care schemes which entail looking after children for short periods of time.
Colleen is also looking after two siblings, aged nine and 11, under Kirklees Council’s long-term care scheme.
Before she started fostering Colleen worked in the voluntary sector at a local care centre. But a hectic home life meant she soon realised she would need to leave her job to dedicate more time to fostering.
Her husband, an advanced motorist driving instructor, is a Cub Scout leader and drives a minibus for the local church. The couple both help run a local youth club.
Colleen said: “The pressure to balance what was happening at work and home meant I had to make a choice.
“My husband and I lead busy lives as we both do a lot of work in the community.
“People often say how do we fit it all in? Sometimes I wonder myself, but to be honest the kids love getting involved in everything that we do.
“You really do have to put the time and effort in if you want to make a difference to the life of a child in foster care.
“This not only helps the child but gives you a real sense of pride in what you and they have achieved.”
Colleen is supporting the council’s campaign to urge people in Kirklees to get involved in foster care.
Fostering is under immense pressure due to year-on-year increases in the number of children coming into care.
For information on becoming a foster carer visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 389 0086.