‘It’s still rewarding 20 years on’ says Hackney Council foster carer
- Credit: Hackney Council
Fostering Network’s annual awareness campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, started on Monday May 14, with a focus on how fostering can transform lives. Hackney foster carer Hajra, gives a fitting account of her experience as a foster carer for Hackney Council and why she thinks others should do it to.
“It’s very rewarding; children no matter what colour, creed or sex, they need a stable environment, a lot of patience and some boundaries, routine and a safe place to call home, where they can be themselves,” says Hajra.
“It may seem daunting, but it’s not. Once you start it just gets easier and easier; the appointments and things eventually feel natural and normal.”
She decided to become a foster carer because she believed her own experiences as a teen would help her to emphasis and understand children coming into care.
20-plus years, and more than 200 children later, she explains: “as well as giving, I get a lot in return; I find that fostering has changed me as a person for the better. I get immense pride looking the children placed with me and I feel like they are my own.
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“I started fostering when my children were quite young so they don’t know any different. When foster children were placed with me, they were just seen as part of the family and now that my children are grown, they are a part of my support network.”
When asked what her greatest achievement as a foster carer is, Hajra knew the answer straight away.
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“My greatest achievement is seeing how the children I looked after have moved on; having turned their lives around and become independent, thoughtful, stable, young people; young women and young men. I feel really proud by what they’ve achieved and knowing that I’ve had some hand in helping them do that and I tell them so as well.”
Like every foster carer, Hajra confirms that support is an important part of fostering.
“Having a supervising social worker at the end of a phone call and having regular supervision, I know that if ever I need any help I can just pick up the phone or email, this is invaluable.
“Also being a member of the Hackney’s Foster Carers Council is like an extended family. Other foster carers know they can rely on us as well, so they will ring us with any questions if they need a person to talk to and we are there to support them. We go on trips, holidays, coffee mornings, so when we meet up it just feels like an extended family.”
She also considers herself lucky to have had the support of her husband, who is very active in their roles as a fostering family.
So why foster for Hackney?
“I have lived in Hackney for the past 40 years and I feel a sense of loyalty to my borough and the children. Fostering for Hackney has meant that school runs have been in the borough, meetings take place here and I don’t have to travel far for training either. But more importantly I love Hackney; I love the people I’m in contact with: the social workers, other foster carers and the teams around us.”
For more information about fostering with Hackney call Freephone 0800 0730 418 or visit hackney.gov.uk/fostering.