All our children are special and come from diverse backgrounds with different life experiences. We need foster carers with a range of experience who are able to understand the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of our children.
There are many reasons why children and young people need to be looked after. Sometimes families need extra support to get them through a difficult time. Some children will have experienced neglect or abuse and others will have disabilities or complex health needs.
There are often sibling groups whose greatest wish is to stay together.
When children and young people come in to foster care they need an enormous amount of commitment, nurturing and attention to make them feel secure. Those who have experienced difficulties may not have met all their developmental milestones or may display a range of challenging behaviours and find it difficult to share in family life.
They will need your support and for you to give them the opportunity to experience the same life chances as other children and young people.
These are the stories of just a few of our looked after children:
Hannah and Lucy
Hannah is 12 years old and her sister Lucy is 6. They have a younger brother, Harry, who is 6 months old. Hannah and Lucy have never lived with Harry as he was born after they became looked after and he was placed in a separate foster family at birth.
Lucy has Global Developmental Delay and both children suffered chronic neglect while living at home. Hannah and Lucy have been in a short term foster placement for the last 9 months while decisions were made about their future and now need a long term foster family. The plan for Harry is adoption.
Hannah and Lucy have a close loving relationship. Lucy is a happy little girl who loves attention while Hannah is an academically bright, caring girl who loves animals. Hannah lacks confidence in her own abilities and finds change hard. Both girls have progressed well with their short term foster carers and now need long term carers who are able to build on this to provide them with the stability and safety of a long term family environment. Training and support is available to foster carers to help them manage Lucy’s special needs.
It is planned that Hannah and Lucy will continue to meet with their mother every school holiday and letterbox contact (annual written updates) with Harry.
My highlights as a carer are when the children move on and you see their lives improve. We’ve been lucky enough to have kept in touch with many of the children who have moved on and it’s great seeing how their lives have changed in a positive way. Mandy - foster carer
Jack is 15 and has been looked after for 2 years. When living at home he and his younger brothers lived in a chaotic household where the care they received from their mother was inconsistent, because of her drug misuse.
Jack witnessed domestic violence and his home environment had an impact on his schooling, with poor attendance and some fixed term exclusions when he disrupted classes. Jack became looked after when he was physically assaulted by his mother’s new partner.
Jack was initially placed in a foster family but struggled with family life and was going missing on a daily basis. He has lived in a residential unit for the
last 18 months and had made significant progress. His attendance at school has improved and he is better able to make, and maintain relationships. It is time for Jack to move back to a family setting and he needs foster carers who will support him in his education, help him maintain his leisure activities and to prepare him for adulthood and independence.
Jack’s brothers are also looked after by a foster family and it will be important to Jack that his carers and their carers encourage the brothers to meet up regularly.