Foster carers who have looked after 25 children in 20 years are urging others to get involved with fostering as figures show there are 833 children in the county in need of loving homes.

Julie and John Williams, from Droitwich Spa, began fostering when Julie nearly died after suffering seven miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy.

Julie, 57, and John, 52, say they are driven by their desire to “give something back” and offer children and young people a loving environment in which to grow and feel safe. They currently care for three young people – aged 12, 16 and 18 – and describe fostering as “the best job on the planet.”

Julie said: “Most of the young people we have cared for have had attachment issues and traumatic childhood experiences, leading to mental and physical issues, low self-esteem and challenging behaviour. It is so important for foster carers to be non-judgmental. A lot of patience, understanding, consistency, love and encouragement is needed. You never give up!”

Against the odds, Julie fell pregnant with daughter Jemma at the age of 36. She said: “I had the most healthy pregnancy and Jemma was born in March 1999. They don’t know how I did it. Then unbelievably along came Tom and Will our twin boys.”

“People always ask me how fostering affects our birth children, expecting a negative response, but the affects on our children are overwhelmingly positive. They love having a huge extended family and it has made them aware of how different other people’s starts in life can be.

“Our foster care journey has exceeded our expectations - it is incredibly fulfilling to know that you’re giving vulnerable young people the chance that they may not otherwise have had to realise their self-worth, turn their lives around and blossom into lovely young adults. We keep in touch with our foster children even now.

“Seeing them experience success – no matter how big or small - makes you feel so proud. Our 18 year old foster son has just passed all his A-levels - what an achievement! He is now a ‘young adult care leaver’ who continues to live with and be part of our family. We would wholeheartedly recommend fostering to others because it is hugely gratifying - who wouldn’t want to give a child or young person the chance to turn their lives around and watch them grow into lovely adults? There is nothing more rewarding than that.”