A couple who fostered a desperately ill baby girl giving her round the clock care have been named Ealing Council’s Foster Carers of the Year.
Maria and Joel Evangelista received their accolade at the council’s annual fostering awards held on Saturday, November 1.
Mr and Mrs Evangelista were foster carers to a girl from birth who became seriously ill. She needed round the clock monitoring by the couple in case she stopped breathing and faced countless hospital admissions.
Throughout this time they maintained a constant vigil and battled to get a second medical opinion because they believed she had not been correctly diagnosed.
The infant’s social worker has said she believes that the child is alive because of the quality of care given by her foster parents and their insistence that doctors look again at the girl’s condition.
Mrs Evangelista, who has been an Ealing foster carer with her husband for six years, looking after ten babies and young children over that time, said: “We were very surprised to receive this award and are very happy to have been given it. We really enjoy being foster carers and while at times it can be very hard, the rewards are far greater and we wouldn’t want to do anything else right now.
“There are so many children and young people that need help in the local community and to be able to make a difference to children’s lives is an amazing thing.”
As foster carers for Ealing, the couple have looked after children who are often traumatised by their experiences and have balanced their fostering with the needs of caring for their own two sons.
The annual awards ceremony is held by the council to recognise and reward its foster carers for their hard work and commitment. This year’s event was held the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Ealing and was hosted by cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Binda Rai.
Councillor Rai said: “Foster carers do an amazing and vital job and it was both heart-warming and inspirational to hear stories of people like Maria and Joel. Our wonderful foster carers really deserve recognition for the positive impact they have on children’s lives. We do however, have 370 children in Ealing’s care and urgently need more people like them to help our most vulnerable children.”
For further information contact Ealing Fostering and Adoption Connections on Freephone 0800 731 6550, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ealing.gov.uk and search for fostering.