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Foster carer says it’s “the best thing she’s ever done”

4:45 pm, Wednesday, 17th May 2023 - 11 months ago

Children and families

Residents are being encouraged to celebrate foster carers at the heart of North East Lincolnshire, and to consider joining the fostering community locally.

Foster Care Fortnight takes place nationwide from 15-28 May and continues last year’s #fosteringcommunities theme, showcasing the passion, commitment, and dedication of foster carers as they make a real difference to the lives of children and young people.

Cllr Margaret Cracknell, portfolio holder for children and education, said: “It is of the utmost importance that children in crisis situations have familiar surroundings. Keeping them close to places they know, surrounded by a strong support network, is vital for development.

“Foster carers can help to provide this support, offering children and young people a safe and loving home, with an opportunity to thrive.

“Placements can be long term or short, for children of all ages, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, teenagers, and children with disabilities.”

One North East Lincolnshire foster carer has described her experiences. She said: “I began fostering four years ago after my partner passed away. It was something we had discussed and when it popped up on Facebook, I got in touch with the team in North East Lincolnshire and I haven’t looked back.

“I wanted to work more with older children and have two grown children and grandchildren of my own, and I now foster youngsters ranging from the age of nine to 19 years.

“They are all so very different, and have different needs, but we have a family meeting once a week, giving them all the chance to voice concerns and opinions, I give them lots of love and support, and I instil in them a strong work ethic.  Like anyone parenting, it is my job to prepare them for the world and we all work together to make sure they are ready for it.

“Yes, it can be difficult at times, and there are challenges, but I absolutely love it! My life is very busy, the house is lively, everyone is thriving – myself included. My house wouldn’t be at all the same without them in it.

“If you have ever thought about fostering, get in touch with the team and they will pop round for a chat. Do it – it’ll truly change lives.”

The first child this Foster Carer welcomed into her home is now a teenager and had two previous placements before settling down four years ago. This Foster Carer did emphasise that all people are different and not all personalities get along, something that can happen in all aspects of life.

The teenager explains: “I went into care six years ago. The first placements didn’t work for me and left me feeling labelled and like I didn’t fit in. I had been separated from my siblings too, and I was confused about what was happening.

“When I eventually came here, there was a welcome pack out in the bedroom with all sorts of bits in it.  There were loads of notebooks! She had read that when children arrive in new placements, they often want to spend time in their room, so she had made sure I had everything I needed. She also asked me if it was all okay for me. I had never had anyone do that for me before, or ask me if it was okay, so I was baffled.

“In time, I started to settle down and I was helped to work through things. Now she’s like my nan!

“When the two younger children arrived, it was hard.  I didn’t want anyone to come along and spoil the fun I was having with my Foster Carer.  Now I am used to them being there and understand that I was helpful in bringing them out of their shells, being the eldest.”

The young person was happy to share her thoughts on how a Foster Carer should be.  She said: “You need to be a parent rather than treating me as just someone in your house. You need to be welcoming and not treat me any differently to anyone else in your family.  You need to be kind.  You need to be patient. I needed stability and support, and these are exactly the things I got, and still have.”

Cllr Cracknell finished: “We urge residents with these attributes in the North East Lincolnshire to consider becoming foster carers, to provide children with the nurturing environment they desperately need. Foster caring is exceptionally rewarding and interested people will be given full training and financial support.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call the North East Lincolnshire Council Fostering Team on 01472 323966.

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