"My foster parents were my advocate"
Meet our care leaver 20 year old care leaver Shauna from the North East who has just completed her second year of her law degree at university. As part of her extended project qualification (EPQ) she chose to write her essay on ‘to what extent does the attachment between a child and their foster carer affect their behaviour outside the home?’
Shauna has shared her essay with FCA and also has spoken about her motivation to choose a topic close to her heart.
“I picked that subject as it was something different from what other students were choosing but I also felt I know a bit about the foster care system from my personal experience. I am currently studying law and want to practice family law and felt that my EQP topic linked in well.”
Being one of nine meant that Shauna spent much of her school years looking after and caring for her siblings. She said “School wasn’t a real priority as I didn’t have the time but still got really good grades, it was only being in care when I didn’t have to care for my siblings I began to have the time to concentrate on my studies.”
It was her current foster parents who she has been with for five years and has a staying put agreement with that really encouraged and motivated Shauna to follow her dreams and study law. “I feel that I have broken out of the system, if it hadn’t of been for my foster parents it may well of been a very different outcome.”
“I have a good connection with my foster parents they really are my support system, I am able to talk to them openly, they listen and I trust them. They inspired me and believed I had the talents and skills needed to go to university, my foster parents were my advocate. They have given me the drive and security and my self-confidence has grown.” Shauna with the assistance and encouragement of her foster parents made the decision to move away for university “for me moving away was the best thing I did, I see my foster parents often and there is always a room for me back at my foster home”.
Shauna has one more year left at university and during the Summer break is enjoying working. After she has finished university she plans to have a holiday before then concentrating on specialising in family law.
Shauna’s advice to anyone considering fostering is “Neglected children and young people who come into care are often independent and don’t trust anyone, it takes time to build their trust. Go at the child’s pace don’t compare all situations as all children are different. But if you gain their trust, fostering will be the best thing you ever do.”
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