As a campaign to increase fostering launches, one man speaks to encourage others to get involved

Ion Crison, 70, of Horsecroft Road in Edgware, has been fostering for 23 years, only four less years than he has been living in the borough.

Despite having a child of his own, the retired teacher decided that it was important to help children in need, so began to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds, with specials needs or those who were in need.

The first child he took in was a 9-year-old needing respite care, and he said the hardest thing was to get the child settled into the house, which he and his wife was able to do.

The most rewarding thing for Ion is helping children in need, and giving them another chance: "The most rewarding this is to see children growing up and achieving what they can and completing their education even during tough times.

"I also like to keep in touch with the children that have left you. I remember one child we cared for when they were younger absolutely loved chocolate cake.

"Now at about 18 years old they replied to me on Facebook and said: 'Ion, you know what? I still like chocolate cake!'"

One thing that was never a problem for Ion and his wife was his own daughter, who was 12 at the time they began fostering and helped integrate the new children.

He said: "She liked the foster children especially those that were younger that her. They got on very well, but soon my daughter went to university and moved out."

According to statistics from Barnet Council, there are currently 335 children and young people in care but there are only 115 foster carers within the network, and with the largest population of any London borough, the need for foster carers is growing.

Over the course of the six weeks of summer the council had 20 new children and young people come into care – 15 of which were over 12 years of age, showing the need for fosterers willing to look after sibling groups, teenagers and those with additional needs.

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: "There are a number of reasons why children may need to be fostered and it’s crucial we have carers available for this.

"Being a carer is a big responsibility but it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience as you have the ability to make a difference to a child’s life.

"We want to be the most ‘Family Friendly’ borough in London by 2020 and to ensure our children, young people and their families are safe, healthy, resilient, knowledgeable, responsible, informed and listened to."

Those who become foster carers receive weekly allowance, a social worker, training and out-of-hours support.

For Ion, the reason to foster is very simple: "Every child has a right to a normal life.

"If this right cannot be provided in their birth family, then fostering is a great option to offer a young person a safe and caring place to grow up."

The #More2Give campaign launched at the end of September and if you think you’ve got more to give, get in touch with our fostering team today by calling 020 8359 6274 or visiting