Seeing first hand the support and training FCA offer as her mum and dad have been fostering with FCA for a long time she knew FCA Northern Ireland would be the right fit for her.
“I considered fostering after I was the support person to my parents and had lived alongside foster brothers and sisters. I was also a resource worker for FCA for two years and had worked with lots of different children and young people. I realised even though I would be a younger foster parent I could offer a safe and supportive home, and that I already had lots of knowledge and insight. My partner and I discussed it for a few years and when we felt like it was the right time for us I contacted FCA for more information. I always knew it was something that I really wanted to do alongside being an artist and to care for someone gives me great satisfaction every day.
I have gained lots of different experiences from living alongside foster brothers and sisters over the years. Every child or young person comes with their own unique background and trauma and each child or young person will process and express this in many different ways whether is it emotional or behavioural. Staying alongside them through great days, fun days, good days, bad days, hard days just being there with them will have a huge impact in the long run.
There are challenges, changing your living situation to accommodate a child or young person with potential difficult behaviours and needs. Having to take a step back from your social life and spending time with family and friends outside and inside the home to support the stresses, anxiety and needs of the foster child in your care. Forward planning for events such as friend’s birthdays, trips away, friend’s wedding, date nights to spend as a couple would always be done a month or two in advance. But seeing the young person in my care develop emotional and social interactions, which are now achieved on a daily basis and overcoming many fears anxiety is so rewarding. Getting to see them have their own identity and making decisions for themselves to become much more confident and self-assured for the future. Also achieving GCSE qualifications and currently working through A Levels with future goals of attending university is invaluable.
If you are thinking about fostering begin by researching and finding out lots of information, always keep an open mind and making sure to have a great support network of friends and family to rely on. Attend information days and talk to other foster parents if possible to get a better understanding of what is really involved. My advice to new foster parents is as a younger foster parent I would say that having someone close to you that you can rely on as your support person is a great help, especially for your social life if you have a friend’s birthday night out, or a date night as a couple planning in advance is very helpful for everyone. I always attend training and support group when I can and reaching out to supervising social worker when needed is very important.
Fostering at this age gives me the opportunity to do something worthwhile, if you have the time, dedication, space and understanding to support a child or young person then becoming a foster parent will give you great satisfaction every day”.
Behind Deborah and Mally’s Door
November 9 2020
Deborah and Mally share their story of how they opened their doors and became foster parents to a number of children and young people across the North East.
Meet foster parent Lorna
November 9 2020
Lorna had room in her home, in her heart, so her fostering journey began
Belinda and Mark’s story
October 30 2020
Belinda and Mark, from Kent, have been fostering for three years.
Jo and Lisa’s story
October 30 2020
Joanne and Lisa from Birmingham have been fostering with FCA since 2017.