Sunderland’s longest-serving foster parents have retired.
Over the past four decades, Marie and Phil Mould have provided homes for more than 100 children throughout their time as foster carers for Sunderland City Council.
The pair began their careers in 1980 at Catholic Care, and eight years later they began their long-running service for the City Council.
However, after opening their home to so many children, as well as raising five children of their own – who have given them six grandchildren, the couple have decided it’s time to concentrate on their own family and retire.
When asked if any particular case stands out for Marie, she said: “No, they’re all special – if they weren’t all special you couldn’t do this job.
“I am very proud of the career we’ve had in fostering. There’ve been some sad times but we’ve also had a laugh along the way. It’s great when the children keep in touch – some are even sending us photos of their own children.
To say thanks on behalf of all the children they have fostered, portfolio holder for children’s services, Coun Pat Smith, and executive director of people services, Neil Revely, invited Marie and Phil into the civic centre for a small presentation ceremony of flowers and commemorative glassware.
Coun Smith said about the couple: “It is families like the Mould’s and others like them across our city, who help us promote and advocate such a worthwhile service. Without foster carers we would not be able to protect some of society’s most vulnerable children.
“It is because of carers such as Marie and Phil that children’s services are able to provide loving and safe environments to the “Looked After” population.”
Each of the children Marie and Phil fostered were helped to move back to their existing families or new adoptive families.
Phil Mould said of their retirement: “Marie isn’t quite retiring fully, she’s still going to help out with training for adoptive parents and will sit on the panel to approve foster carers. In the meantime you will find me on the golf course!”
Through the 262 foster families at Sunderland City Council, 554 children are provided with loving family homes.
There is always a need for more foster carers – particularly for children with complex needs and disabilities, as well as older children and sibling groups.
If you are interested in becoming a Foster carer or Adoptive parent visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/icare or contact Sunderland City Council on 0191 520 5553.#####