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Chelsea’s Story

“My care experience has helped me become a mature and responsible young woman and be involved in family life”

These are the words of Chelsea Duncan, a 20 year old from a small village near Belfast called Saintfield.

At the age of just two and a half she – along with her siblings – were placed in foster care as it was deemed ‘unsafe’ for them to remain with their parents.  Understandably, this was a difficult time for Chelsea and her siblings; fostered children like Chelsea can experience trauma on a number of levels, from earlier neglect as well as from the separation and loss of their birth family.  Eight years on, and with another move on the horizon, this trauma became exacerbated.

This is when Foster Care Associates – or FCA – stepped in.  Set up by a former foster carer and social worker more than 20 years ago, Foster Care Associates has operated in Northern Ireland for 14 years and has grown to become the largest independent fostering agency in the UK with the aim to invest in and nurture high standards in foster care.

Caesar and Lorna Doyle, FCA registered foster carers, were approached to foster Chelsea and her sister and the answer was an immediate yes.

With 14 years fostering experience with FCA, the Doyles – along with their older son – welcomed Chelsea and Alisha into their home, where Chelsea remained for the next eight years.   She explained: “Caesar and Lorna were amazing!  Their love and support helped prepare me to become a kind, considerate and responsible adult and for this I will always be extremely grateful.

“I have so many lovely memories of my time with Caesar and Lorna; I was always made to feel as though I was part of their family which is priceless.   Their son was like a big brother to me and every Sunday we would have their grandchildren round for Sunday dinner; my foster Dad was a fantastic cook and I still miss his home cooked meals!  And every year we went to Spain where they had a villa; they were very happy times.”

Chelsea was well liked by locals in the village, and attended youth clubs and local church events, where she made new friends, and actively engaged in her hobbies including swimming and cycling, but it’s the times she spent with Caesar and Lorna she recalls the most.   One of her overriding memories was when Caesar and Lorna came to see her at an awards evening she was attending at her local college.  She recalled: “I was over the moon they came because they were so proud of me.  It was such a lovely moment.”

She explained: “Even after I moved out at the age of 18, I knew they would be there for me.  They’ve recently helped me move and I spent Christmas with them.  I know I can call on them for absolutely anything.”

The future looks bright for Chelsea; at the age of 18 she moved into semi-independent accommodation after completing various useful FCA courses preparing her for this next stage of her life.  Chelsea now works in a restaurant in Belfast and is justifiably proud of renovating her new flat.

Chelsea concluded: “My experiences in care have been good ones; I was lucky to have wonderful carers and have met some great people.  I have become a mature and responsible young woman and I thank Caesar and Lorna for that!”

There is currently a shortage of approximately 200 foster carers in Northern Ireland who can offer a loving home to young people like Chelsea.  For more information on becoming a foster carer with FCA, or to find out about recruitment events in the region, call 0800 022 4330 or visit www.thefca.co.uk

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in your area.
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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.