Emma’s Fostering Blogs are by an experienced foster carer who gives you an honest and revealing insight into the ups and downs of foster care. A great resource for other carers and those interested in becoming carers.

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Fostering Presumptions

Emma’s Fostering Blog

Never presume.

Adam had arrived as an emergency from home; he was small for 8 and looked more like 5.

After settling in and having a good meal tonight, I ran him a bath and while I got him a towel and a spare pair of pyjamas Adam just stripped off naked and was standing in the hallway, eventually Adam got into the bath but he just sat there looking blank.

After a while it was apparent that he needed help, perhaps no one had shown him. When he got out of the bath he just stood there, and then he got upset asking for help because he couldn’t dry himself. Adam was even unable to put his pyjamas on as he kept putting both legs in one leg, he needed a lot of guidance and it took a long time until he managed it, he was then very pleased with himself.

Before bedtime Adam seemed reluctant to go to the toilet, but did, then he came down stairs quite excited stating “I did a huge big wee in the toilet” I thought this very odd, but we praised him anyway and he seemed happy.

I settled him in bed and he started crying that he wanted his mum and dad, then a string of complaints such as having tummy ache, headache sore arm and felt sick. I reassured him that it would be OK and read him a story, and bid him goodnight.

Adam was in and out of his room crying wanting mum and dad and wanting to put his shoes on to go home, eventually we managed to get him to sleep for a few hours. This was heart breaking to watch every night the same thing screaming for his parents, trying to comfort him was incredibly difficult.

After a couple of weeks it just stopped as he accepted he had to stay with us for now. Adam was very withdrawn, almost depressed, had little energy and hardly spoke, Adam needed nurturing, to learn and be allowed to become more independent for his age.

We found out that Adam had been kept as a baby at home, he still used a potty to go to the toilet, it made sense then how pleased he was just to be able to use the toilet and achieve for himself. 

It’s now 7 months later; School are pleased with the change in Adam, since being with us, he is really achieving at School, and Adam is also doing well at home as he can now dress himself and takes pride in being smart and clean. 

My thoughts are as a child learns how to be more independent, it’s important to let them know how proud you are of them. Getting dressed, putting away toys, and brushing their own teeth may not seem like a huge deal, but it really is when you are a foster carer.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

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Foster Children Achieving

Emma’s fostering blog

Achieving and aspirations

Simon has come a long way since his early school days and I’m so proud of him. For some years School was always an issue as he just couldn’t cope due to his emotional and behavioural issues.

In the end he was excluded from School, I remember it was very sad at the time to hear him say to people that he didn’t feel he was good at anything.

Let’s forward two years later; everything seemed to change, his attitude towards learning and we started getting positives from his Teacher as he was now helping out in the School garden, and seemed much calmer now. Simon was talking about his future; he wanted to do well for himself and was finally putting his past behind him. 

On Simon’s 13th birthday I decided to get him a voucher so he could be a zoo keeper for the day he absolutely enjoyed the experience and I think that was the turning point for him, when he knew that he wanted to work with animals.

When Simon was 15 he did some work experience at the riding School and really enjoyed being with animals so much so that when he left School, he volunteered at the same Riding Centre.

I didn’t know that he was going to enjoy it as much as he did or that he would still be there for 4 years later. He loves mucking out the stables and grooming and cleaning the horses and he is trusted to take the children out for rides on the roads, or playing specially made up games with them. He just loves animals, and they just seem to find him, in fact we joke with him that he is like Dr Doolittle. 

When he left School he went to college to study animal care and had a series of work experiences at different animal parks, caring for a wide range of different mammals. It’s very manual work he loves being outside mucking out the enclosures and scrubbing them clean and poo picking all the inside and outside of the enclosures and as a trainee keeper he is also able to answer any questions and queries the public may have.

Simon was never really academic, but always loved being outdoors; I think he has finally found his future. Obviously he has made some mistakes on his journey because of his autism, and sometimes he needs help to understand what is expected of him, but we support him in everything he does and we believe in him.

It won’t be long before his College course will end and he will be looking for work perhaps an apprenticeship working with animals.

My thoughts are we know that when supervised properly, specific animals, including chickens, can offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits to children and adolescents with autism as well as conditions including anxiety, depression, and attachment issues.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

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Fostering Outcomes Blog

Emma’s fostering blog

Different outcomes

How is the system fair when ‘Looked after children’ can remain with their Foster carers until they are 21 but young people in residential homes are out in the cold on their 18th birthday. 

On the night on their 18th birthday now adults, the services stop caring when they need them the most. Some care leavers are often emotionally young and have no one to rely on, but the current system doesn’t care because in the eyes of the law at 18 they are adults, so legally that’s it, they have done what was expected of them.

Ok so the government have put in place Personal Assistants for care leavers, but many are not social workers but people who obviously want to try and help but so often have no experience of ‘Looked after children’ or their journey through the care system.

Unfortunately most of the support workers are young so they have limited life experiences, and thrown in to the job, because there are not enough staff to shadow them or train them.

In the first six months of becoming a care leaver Steve had two changes of workers who both left because of high caseloads, too much paperwork, but the expectations put on them was as if they were social workers. Both went back to the industry they came from.

Since then there have been many more personal assistants come and go, they never stick around long enough to build a relationship.

Steve had spent 14 years of his life in the care system with too many changes of social workers and now happening again with Personal Assistants. He has since lost faith and he dreads the visits, the questions and having to repeat his story each time, so much so now, that they are lucky if he acknowledges them.

He is luckier than most as he lives with us and we continue to support him but many don’t because the government are not really committed, it’s just talk and more policies.

The whole system needs investment, it needs more carers offering ‘Staying Put’ it needs creative ideas for young people leaving residential so they can have an adult to support them through adulthood.

All care leavers deserve the very best, the system can’t turn its back on them at 18- age is just a number! For too long many children leaving care have had a raw deal, with no one to ease their path into adult life. Some care leavers who were in foster care still have the support of their ex foster Carers through their adult life. Unlike in residential they often have changes of staff and high turnover of staff.  Who supports them through their adult life!

My thoughts are that we need to be every bit as ambitious for these young people as we would be for our own children and help make their dreams come true.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!