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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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!

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Blog | Time for Home

Emma’s fostering blog

Time to go home

They say all good things come to an end, which is a shame as we have had a really successful week camping, and I say that with relief because the boys can be tricky at times; sometimes the loss of routine can be difficult for them or just being out of their comfort zone.

We often try to go to the same smaller campsites as they have been to before because they are they are familiar, and we have established a good camping routine now as they are both well-travelled. This morning with precision planning we were up early and all doing our bit to put the tents away.

I felt a bit sorry for the neighbours though, as asking them to do the task quietly was an impossible request. Looking back on the week I can honestly say it was a joy to spend quality time.

Each day we voted on what we should do next; playing board games was fun, crazy golf and pool was a favourite. We were happy we actually all managed a 2 mile walk through the many scenic fields surrounding us, and then finally ending up at a lovely country pub where we had lunch and giant ice creams before heading back. They thought it great that they could stay up later as they were on holiday.

The pool area was great they had a giant slides so everyone enjoyed having a go on them. Its helps that we all have similar interests, and we also went to see some lovely old fashioned steam trains and had a visit to a very large exhibition of model railways which I think my husband and the boys enjoyed the most. 

For me a whole week of doing no cooking or washing up was great, as the boys took turns in helping to cook dinner every night with my partner and we had some great meals outdoors. The most enjoyable part was being together; no social workers, no meetings or training, no emails, phone calls, no school runs, no making packed lunches, or worrying about school uniforms. 

Having a break where it’s safe for the boys to be themselves and spend quality time, hearing them laugh, no pressure, just able to make new good memories together.

I think they are looking forward to their own beds and a couple of early nights. I’m looking forward to the Summer camping now, bring it on…

My thought are foster children who are going on holiday for the first time, a trip within the UK to the seaside or countryside is probably best to see how they get on, before considering getting permission to take them abroad.

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