Jessie had been put into foster care when her drug addict mother was imprisoned on remand for various offences. In October 1997 Jessie is housed with Mark Fowler and Ruth Fowler in Walford. Six-year-old Jessie is a deeply troubled child, who is extremely shy and refuses to speak initially. She is also a bedwetter and Mark and Ruth seem unable to get her to open up to them, but they eventually manage to make progress and they become extremely attached to her.
In 1998, Jessie's mother, Nicole, telephones the Fowlers and asks for Jessie to visit her in prison. Mark refuses to allow this, but the social worker assures him that Nicole has completed her detox programme and that contact between her and Jessie is particularly important. Jessie visits and becomes excited to learn that Nicole will soon be released from prison. Nicole pays Jessie an impromptu visit on the day of her 7th birthday in February 1998. Nicole has found herself a bedsit and wants to take Jessie back. Mark and Ruth try to contest Nicole's decision, but they are told that reuniting children with their parents is what fostering is for. Nicole spends several weeks visiting Jessie to rebuild their relationship and eventually Ruth and Mark realise how close they are. They retract their opposition and Nicole is given custody of Jessie in March 1998. Ruth is particularly saddened by Jessie's departure and she buys her a necklace to remind her of the time they have spent together.