For Terri Johnston and her husband Frank, a chance leaflet through the door that coincided with a tragic national news story was the catalyst for the life-changing decision to become foster carers.

Mum-of-two Terri, 38, of High Harrington, was looking at the Cumbria County Council fostering leaflet when Frank, 41, who was working away, phoned home.

The tragic death of Baby P was on the news and it came up in conversation.

Terri said: "It was strange really. I was reading the leaflet and I said, 'What do you think about fostering?' We decided to look into it further and five years later we're still doing it.

"It's the one thing I have done and absolutely loved and really enjoyed doing. I can't imagine doing anything else now."

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Parents of two young sons, the couple decided to become short-term foster carers, meaning children can be placed with them for up to two years.

The role gave them the chance to help multiple children, while also minimising the potential for disruption if their own circumstances changed.

Terri said: "You never know what's going to happen in your own family. Things change and it's a massive commitment taking a child on until their 18. If we'd done that and for any reason we had to move a child on we wouldn't have wanted to do it."

Fostering has enabled former hairdresser Terri to take on a paid role and be home full-time to bring up Thomas, 13, and Lewis, 11 while Frank works as a maintenance manager at Sellafield.

And the boys enjoy having other children around.

Terri says: "My youngest said he wanted to be a big brother. He's definitely doing that, not just to one child but to quite a lot of children.

"My children are definitely more loving and caring doing this. They see that these children haven't got what they have got. They like being part of this special thing that we're doing.

"We can see how the foster children look up to our own children, and our children make a real impact on them ."

The family originally looked after children aged between two and six but have recently broadened their age range to include babies.

Terri says: "My children are getting older now and we thought maybe babies would fit in better now. I'll have a bit more time now the boys are at senior school."

They have cared for five fostered children so far, who have all come to them before moving on to adoption or eventually returning to their birth families.

Terri says: "It's lovely when they first come. It can be challenging but so rewarding when you see them move on to their forever family.

"It's so nice to see how they change. We have had little ones who couldn't talk and were still in nappies and when they leave they're so confident and happy and like totally different children.

"Some of them are quite withdrawn. Seeing them come out of themselves and the confidence that they get from getting nurturing, care and love is lovely.

"We had one lad for nine months and seeing him grow into a confident, happy little boy who was ready to go. It was hard but so rewarding.

To find out more about fostering with Cumbria County Council, visit