Casey Watson has spent many years as a foster carer, and before that was a behaviour manager at her local comprehensive school. Now, to mark the release of her new book A Boy Without Hope, we got Casey to open up about fostering, and what it is she loves about the entire process.

1. No one day is ever the same as the next. On Monday I could be attending meetings with a social worker and telling them all is going well, but by Wednesday I might be getting interviewed by the police about a major incident. I could be feeling proud at an awards night in school and the very next day, trying to work out why a child is refusing to go back to school. We are certainly always kept on our toes!

2. We get to meet so many children, from so many different backgrounds, and even though we always see the challenges, we know that we can help in some small way to make a difference to their lives.

3. It keeps us young! It really does. I know that usually when you hit your 50s, you often suffer from empty nest syndrome. We really don’t get to experience that. I haven’t yet reached that stage when I’m no longer silently cursing about stepping on Lego bricks, or yelling at a last teenager to tidy their room’

4. Christmas time and other family occasions are such a happy time for us. Although children in care often resent these big gatherings, we can usually make it special for them. They soon get used to our mad house lifestyle.

5. The love and gratitude we feel for these children doesn’t stop when they leave our home. I love that they come back to visit and keep in touch. I have four foster grandchildren now who are very much a part of our lives.

6. Growing up in a fostering household has made our own children and grandchildren really appreciate ‘difference’ in our society, and they are such empathic, loving people whom we are really proud of.

7. Although fostering is essentially a job, which one gets paid for, it is unlike any other profession. It is a 24/7 commitment, always, but the upside is that the rewards are so much more than you could get from any other employment. Every tiny achievement is celebrated, and there is a feeling of pride almost every day. The good days always outweigh the bad.

8. Unlike most jobs, fostering is a journey, albeit an often very bumpy journey, but even on the days when there seems to be no end in sight, you know that in time you will get there.

9. I feel that fostering keeps up in line with the times. The training we get as carers is second to none, and as a firm believer in lifelong learning, this suits me just fine. As society changes, so does our training. I could be learning how to deal with self harm one week, and the next I’m learning how to customize our computers so that children can’t access the dark web!

10. I love that actually, all you need to be a foster carer – beside a spare room, is love, an ability to listen and an abundance of patience. These children only need boundaries, a safe place, and a feeling of love and fairness. That’s it really, that’s all it takes to chip away at their mistrust and fear of the world, and I can do that.

Casey Watson's heartbreaking true story is detailed in new book A Boy Without Hope, available now.

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