How Local Authority foster carers changed the futures of these young people
13 - 27 May is Foster Care Fortnight, the UK’s biggest foster carer recruitment drive, led by the charity, The Fostering Network.
This year’s campaign theme is #changeafuture, which aims to highlight the positive differences foster carers can make to the futures of young people in care.
Foster4, the new shared foster carer recruitment service for Warrington Borough Council, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Halton Borough Council, asked young people fostered by their carers to tell their stories:
Sean, now 23:
‘I was seven when I first went into care, I lived with emergency foster carers for about a month, then lived with Pam and Norman. I stayed with them since then - we became a family. When I was 16, we finalised their legal guardianship of me. They’re my parents.
I’m now in my third year at university, studying Theatre and Performance at UCLAN. They’ve encouraged me to fulfil my dreams of becoming a Theatre Director, supported me with my A-Levels and choosing a university. They always made sure I knew that their home was my home, for the rest of my life.
I’m passionate about spreading the word to encourage more people to foster, particularly older children who might need a stable family to be a part of permanently. Last month I came third in the Coram Voices writing competition, with my piece called ‘The Unintentional Gift’, which aims to show young people that coming into care can be a very positive thing. I don’t know what my life would have been like had Pam and Norman not welcomed me into their family, but I do know that it would be nothing like it is now.’
Sajana, now 19:
‘I lived with my foster carers, Sandra and Ian, from being 16. They welcomed me into their home and really got to know me and my needs, we always watched I’m a Celebrity together- just really typical stuff.
I came to them following a stay in hospital, they helped me to get better and encouraged me to resit my GCSEs when I was more settled. They spurred me on to do an apprenticeship in childcare, driving me to my placement in a nursery every day. They really did make sure I had the best possible chance of a happy and successful future.’
Naomi, now 19:
‘I was 17 when I spent six months in foster care. As soon as I met my foster carer Laura, we got on really well. We have similar interests so I felt we were a good match. My first impressions were really positive; Laura was approachable, kind and caring.
Laura was a single carer, so it was just us two and her cat. I enjoyed spending time with her - she brought me out of myself and made me feel more confident. I was given the freedom to spend time with my family if I wanted.
Laura was very supportive and helped me to find a job, helping with my CV and encouraging me to apply for roles. She also helped with practical things such as cooking and learning how to budget and pay bills, something which I’m grateful for now I’m living independently. More importantly, Laura helped me to be a better person. I still see her now and she remains a real source of support in my life.’
Could you change the futures of young people too?
There are plenty of opportunities to become a foster carer, regardless of your marital status, age, sexuality or religion. As part of the Foster Care Fortnight campaign, Foster4 is looking for people have a spare bedroom, and can welcome a local young person to be part of their family on either a short or long term basis.
You could foster around your existing job, if you have one, as long as you can be flexible, or you can make fostering your primary role.
Read more about the care leavers stories and request an information pack at www.foster4.co.uk or call 01925 444100 to find out more. Find Foster4 on Facebook @foster4cheshire. Follow #changeafuture on social media.