How fostering can help to change futures
PUBLISHED: 15:11 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:13 20 May 2019
Saba from Hackney shares her experiences of being a foster carer, from the challenges to the rewards of seeing a child flourish.
This year, the theme for Foster Care Fortnight is 'Change a Future'.
The annual campaign, which is taking place from May 13-26, aims to raise awareness about fostering and is led by The Fostering Network charity.
The theme for 2019 is all about how foster care can help to change futures for both the children and young people who are fostered and the families who care for them.
However, change does not always come easy and working through these changes can sometimes present challenges for foster carers and the children in their care.
Children and young people come into care when they are unable to be with their birth families for different reasons, including neglect, abuse, ill-health and sometimes bereavement. Being moved from a familiar environment can be hard for children and young people coming into care, regardless of what they may have experienced. Helping them through this process of change will also be different for every child and family.
Saba was motivated to become a foster carer because she believed it was unfair to see what was going on and wanted to be part of the solution to help give these children a chance at a happier, nurtured childhood.
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"I thought, I have children of my own so why can't I help at least one other child?
"It can be very challenging in the beginning, but you have to be very resilient, understanding and patient," Saba explains.
Challenges are different for everyone, but for Saba, it came in the way of routine. "Before fostering we had already set routines within the home. A child often comes from a place with a different routine or no routine at all, and it can take a while for them to follow and understand a new one.
"But seeing a child blossom every day, learning new things, become more independent, doing things they may have otherwise missed out on, that is the biggest highlight for me."
Throughout the three years she has been fostering, Saba has already seen positive changes, not only in the children she has cared for, but also in her own children. "Seeing my own children help others has been positive. The experience is teaching them to be selfless, helpful and patient with others."
While the advantages of fostering are predominantly focused on the long-term benefits of the children and young people, Hackney offers an extensive training programme for foster carers which also has a positive impact on carers.
"All the training is really helpful and important. It helps you understand fostering and things to look out for when caring for children, including different types of needs and behaviours," Saba says.
"Hackney foster carers also work well together. We talk to each other and we give each other advice, so if you do have any questions, it reassures you that you are not alone."
With an average of 30 children and young people coming into care each month, Hackney Council needs more foster carers.
If you have a spare bedroom in your home and can provide the care and support these children need, call the Fostering team on freephone 0800 0730 418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.