WHY FOSTER CARE? A CARE LEAVERS PERSPECTIVE

We have asked one of our panel members, who was previously fostered as a child, to share some of her experiences and reflections on foster care. We are hoping it will leave you feeling inspired to begin your fostering journey. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment box at the end.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a foster child and how foster care helped you?

At the age five I became a statistic, another child in care. I was scared, vulnerable, confused and most of all lonely. The unfamiliar surroundings, the strange faces and the uncertain future became all but too familiar as I was thrust in and out of care. At the age of fourteen I was placed with a new foster carer, not only was she a new face, but she was also new in her approach. She was warm, she was friendly… she cared. She treated me like I was one of her own and for the first time in my life I felt at home and felt like I was wanted. My fears and anxieties began to melt away. My shyness faded and my confidence grew. I was excelling at school for the first time in my life because I had someone to help and encourage me at home. Today I can proudly say that I am a university graduate and all because somebody cared. I wasn’t just another statistic to her, and for that I am grateful.

Why is foster care important?

Foster care is extremely important as it is primarily based upon the welfare and safety of children, which is a fundamental issue within our society. Moreover there are 1000’s of children who without foster care would in extreme danger.

What was most helpful for your development when you were in foster care?

The help and encouragement I received with my education. Without this help and support I can honestly say that I would have never made it to university.

If you could go back in time and give advice to one of your foster carers, what would it be?

I would tell one of them to be more patient, not to hold back so much, make more effort to know the kids and make them feel more welcome and not to be afraid to give valuable advice.

What advice would you give people currently considering becoming a foster carer to help them decide if it’s right for them?

First look deep within and ask yourself if you are emotionally and physically prepared to become a foster carer as it can be a very demanding job. I would also tell you not to rush into it but to actually sit down and really think how it would impact your life, on top of that you should undertake extensive research to ensure you find the right agency and are aware of the realities of being a foster carer before committing to the role.

What are you noticing about LiKa that might be different to other agencies you have previously been involved with?

I believe LiKa Family Fostering stands out from other fostering agencies as there is a huge amount of training and support provided in all areas. I feel Lika operates more like a family and I can see that they care a great deal for children in need but also for its staff. I’m enjoying working with them and looking forward to meeting new carers coming through the fostering panel.

LiKa are now recruiting. If you know someone who you think would be an outstanding foster carer, get them to visit the LiKa website.

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