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”.
“It’s not all about making them happy and giving them nice things, it’s about being a comforting presence and being kind. Sometimes they just need to know you are there.”
April 2 2022
Single foster parent, Marlene, based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has worked with children with autism, shares her incredible fostering journey so far.
“The big thing was making that decision and going with it. We’ve never regretted it, and never looked back!”
March 24 2022
Steve and Eileen, winners of the Families First Foster Carer award in 2017 and foster parents for over 15 years, sit down to talk to us about their journey so far.
“It is amazing to see what wonderful children they have grown to become.”
March 15 2022
Christie Newbold, a Derbyshire local, has been fostering for the past 3 years and sat down to share her experience and advice for future foster parents.
Foster parent, Kerry, shares her incredible fostering journey with a talented child in her care who was destined for higher education.
March 1 2022
As part of our #ChangeTheStory campaign, Kerry shares the incredible success of a young person in her care, and how he went on to achieve his ambition.
"We find fostering so rewarding, we do not consider it as a job, it’s a way of life.”
February 28 2022
Foster parents, Delia and Franz Cox, who are based in the North of England, have been fostering vulnerable children for seven years and are currently looking after two children.