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Brent foster mum who cared for 20 kids shares top fostering tips

Marcella looked after 20 children in 12 years at her Wembley home

Marcella Denis, 60, first became a foster parent aged 40 and fostered 20 children at her Wembley home over the course of 12 years.

She has now retired as a foster carer but still works as registered manager at the family-run Greater London Fostering (GLF) agency.

GLF currently has three foster families in Brent and is actively recruiting for more carers in North West London.

Speaking to Get West London about fostering, Marcella said: "Being a foster parent is something that I always wanted to do.

"When you become a foster carer you almost need to relearn about how to parent."

She added: "It's about being flexible and accepting the children as individuals."

Marcella's longest charge as a foster mum was caring for a boy who she looked after from the age of nine until he was 21.

Before he entered Marcella's home he had already been in 26 different foster homes.

Marcella said: "I think the most important thing about being a foster parent is to be resilient and to be flexible.

"Fostering can be difficult, but even though there was challenging behaviour, I had made that commitment.

"He's very much part of my family now. One of the most rewarding moments was when he said to me this summer 'I'm so glad I was brought up in this house because everything I know today was thanks to being brought up here'."

Marcella fostered 20 children at her Wembley home(Image: Frederica Miller)

She added: "Being a foster parent is incredibly rewarding but if you're the kind of adult who will say 'it's my way or the highway' - fostering isn't for you."

Marcella's top tips for people wanting to foster

Couples

If you're a couple make sure you both want to foster - if you're fostering you're parenting together so have a discussion and be certain it's something you both want to do.

Be professional

Fostering is looking after children in a professional capacity and as a foster parent you will be expected to behave in a professional manner.

Be flexible, accepting and non-judgemental

You need to be flexible and willing to accept children as individuals in order to make fostering work.

Enjoy!

Enjoy it - fostering is challenging but if you like caring for children it can be incredibly rewarding too.

Figures from The Fostering Network charity show 830 new fostering households are needed across London.

GLF runs introductory training courses for people interested in fostering in Wembley throughout the year.

The next Wembley sessions will take place on Saturday October 14 and Sunday October 15 at The Works, 388 High Road.

To find out more about training for North West London foster parents, click here .

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