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Martin Barrow

Writer and foster carer

Martin Barrow is a journalist, writer and foster carer. He and his wife Lorna live in Sussex.

Foster Care Cuts Across Race And Religion When Child Protection Is The Highest Priority

What business does a white family have caring for black children, or a Muslim family caring for a white girl? And maybe you are right. There are many families out there who are better suited than us. Yet when the call came, on a bleak November evening, we were the ones who opened our door to three children who were tired, cold and frightened. We provided warm baths and towels, hot chocolate and cookies, a bedtime story, a warm bed. We dried tears, and held little hands until sleep finally came. And we set three extra places for breakfast, in silence as we tried to understand the scale of the challenge we had just accepted.
02/10/2017 17:25 BST

Foster Carers Are Entitled To Demand Fairness At Work

Change needs to come from the top. Directors of children's services can lead by example, giving foster carers an equal voice in their fostering and adoption teams, instead of treating us like providers of bed and breakfast, as is the case too often. Respect for foster carers, no less than we deserve, is what most of us really want.
04/08/2017 11:27 BST

We Make Happy Summer Memories For Children In Care

If I paint a particularly bleak picture of a typical summer in the world of fostering, I apologise. Yet these are some of the concerns that preoccupy the UK's 55,000 fostering families as they prepare for the end of term. This summer they will carry much of the burden of caring for society's most vulnerable children alone, with little help from their communities. I just thought you should know.
16/07/2017 16:25 BST

Pride And Joy Of Being A Foster Family

We never forget what a privilege it is, to be granted these memories and to share in the joy, nor do we underestimated the scale of the responsibility we have been given. We also are conscious that each milestone we witness is a milestone withheld from a birth parent or grandparent, or a moment that has not been shared with a forever family.
04/07/2017 16:17 BST

UK's Ageing Workforce Will Decide Our Future After Brexit

Britain cannot escape from the reality of its demographics. We are an ageing nation, in need of young people to sustain the society we take for granted. Our current response to this predicament is akin to squaring a circle.
20/06/2017 16:12 BST

An Election That Forgot About Children

Where have children been in this election? The campaign has taken many twists and turns and ultimately has become, above all, an election about security, following attacks in Manchester and London. But there has been plenty of airtime for discussion about nuclear weapons, the IRA, Brexit, immigration, care of the elderly, the NHS, education and foreign policy.
08/06/2017 13:58 BST

Our Grandson, The Foster Carer

It takes a village to raise a child, as the refrain goes. Fostering is a commitment that affects a broad community. Our grandson will feel the departure of our foster children keenly, but he will not be the only one. Over the past 18 months or so, they have been loved by so many people, both old and young.
29/05/2017 16:10 BST

A Book Dedicated To Foster Carers, Heroes Of The State

No two foster carers are the same, and no two children are identical. Hence, the need for the handbook to reflect a diversity of approaches. Our ambition is that foster carers old and new will reflect on the experiences of our contributors and reflect on how these learnings may be relevant to their own approach to foster care.
15/05/2017 15:45 BST

Saying Goodbye To A Foster Child Is The Toughest Challenge

When a foster child arrives, we usually do not know how long the placement will last. It may be for days, weeks or months. This placement has lasted for almost one year and a half. That's two birthdays, two Christmases and two Easters.
02/05/2017 16:54 BST

Snowflakes? Millennials Put Baby Boomers To Shame

The most odious articulation of this spiteful and contemptuous treatment of fellow human beings who had the misfortune of being born around the Millennium inevitably resorts to the use of the term 'snowflake'.
23/04/2017 21:52 BST

Part-Time Foster Carers Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

Our long weekend was possible only because of the availability of respite care, arranged through West Sussex County Council, for whom we work as foster carers. Our children were able to stay with approved, experienced foster carers who make their home available to give full-time foster carers like us a break when we need it.
12/04/2017 16:58 BST

I Became A Greedy Baby Boomer, And I'm Sorry

It should be a cause for celebration, for it is not every day that one is released from the tyranny of monthly mortgage payments. But I feel almost apologetic, guilty even. Now we are officially members of the generation of greedy baby boomers who gamed the property market and caused the housing crisis that has brought so much misery
04/04/2017 16:01 BST

Foster Carers Become Masters Of Disguise

We learn new school runs and hitherto unknown neighbourhoods become focal points in our lives. Our weekends are punctuated by social events with families who were strangers to us until a few weeks ago.
12/03/2017 19:27 GMT

Put Children First In The Quest To Improve Foster Care

Above all, be ambitious. Be as ambitious for children and young people in care as you would be for your own. Map the route from broken family home to high achievement in business, academia and the arts, and make recommendations that will bulldoze the road blocks along the way. Now that would be an inquiry worth waiting for.
09/02/2017 11:15 GMT

Society Must Face Up To The Cost Of Foster Care

I think that it is particularly difficult for foster carers to express their frustration over allowances because there is still a widely-held belief among the public that fostering and money should never be mentioned in the same breath. That we do it for the love of the children, and that is a reward in itself; and that foster carers should not be motivated by money.
18/01/2017 17:03 GMT

Foster Care At Christmas? It's Complicated

We see the love and sense of pride in the faces of mums and dads, and make sure that our little'uns can see us in the audience, so they too can be reassured that there is someone who cares. We take photos, and collect the programmes, which will find their way into memory boxes and albums for when the day comes, as inevitably it will, for them to move on.
14/12/2016 16:56 GMT

Enjoyed A Good Career? Now Foster!

We became foster carers with no grand plan, unsure how long it would last. All these years later, we find that we are busier than ever with fostering, including our three current children who have been with us for just over a year.
23/11/2016 16:26 GMT