Deborah’s Fostering Story
Deborah (46) from Kingswood, signed up to be a foster carer with South Gloucestershire Council 5 years ago. Deborah talks about what made her decide to become a foster carer.
“At the age of 13 I had a friend who lived in a children’s home (over 30 years ago). She told me she was sexually abused by her father and then when she went into foster care. My friend struggled to make friends as often people said she was a ‘liar’ and didn’t believe what she said. She was very promiscuous so didn’t have the best reputation amongst our peers.
When she was 14 she became pregnant with twins within a week or so of telling me she suddenly left our school without any notice. I had no idea what happened to her and if she continued with her pregnancy. This had a huge effect on me and at this time (I was 14 years old) I decided I wanted to become a social worker to help ensure that all children would be looked after properly and be kept safe from harm. I also knew one day that I wanted to foster children myself to encourage children & young people to reach their full potential and to keep them safe from harm.
I qualified as a social worker and have worked with children and young people for nearly 30 years. In my work with children and young people I have witnessed several incidences where children have been neglected, abused and emotionally traumatised by their birth families. I wanted to offer a safe, stimulating home where they would be encouraged, supported, listened too and their wishes and feelings would be taken into account and their everyday needs would be met. I also wanted to support birth families to bring about change so that they could be ‘good enough’ parents to look after their own children.
Furthermore I have always had an interest in understanding why children behave the way they do. As a young person I was often in trouble at school, mainly because I used to ‘stand up’ for what I thought was right. Often children and young people are not listened too and they often feel that no one understands them. I know from personal experience that when someone listens to you and understand what you’re going through it makes it so much easier to get through it and encourages your self-esteem. So I decided as a single carer that I would start the fostering process (having brought up my own 3 children).
The process didn’t take long (just over 3 months) before I went to panel. I have been fostering now for 5 years. I have had 17 different foster children staying with me from an overnight stay to my longest placement being 18 months with a variety of backgrounds and reasons why they are in foster care.
Since fostering there have been many challenges and at times it has been tiring, time consuming (attending meetings, completing my recordings, training & temper tantrums), however I have thoroughly enjoyed being a foster carer and I have never felt so fulfilled.”
If Deborah’s fostering story has inspired you, please enquire today about becoming a foster carer.
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