12th August, 2021
It’s International Youth Day today! International Youth Day is held on 12th August each year and is an initiative that celebrates the qualities of young people and recognises the challenges that they may be facing.
Whilst the day does normally have an overall theme (this year is “Transforming Food Systems”), many of the young people in foster care are very much fighting to overcome their own personal battles each day. Often, things that many people take for granted, initially feel out of reach with the challenges that a young person in foster care may face. That’s why we would like to mark the day by highlighting a story about a young person in care who; with love, security and support has overcome so much. For children in foster care, the small things signify the biggest achievements. This is R’s story, as told by her supervising social worker.
When R came into foster care 6 years ago, she had suffered extreme neglect and was in a poor state of health, both physically and emotionally. In addition to this R had been a young carer and had lost significant periods of education as she had felt unable to attend school regularly. Her attendance levels were below 10%.
R’s foster family welcomed her by accepting R as she was and not expecting her to adapt immediately to her new home. R was able to help decorate her own room and to choose from one of her foster carer’s stuffed animals to use as a transitionary object to help to develop a sense of security. The foster family took time to support R as she tried out different hobbies and activities, allowing her to discover what she enjoyed which helped her to develop a sense of identity.
In order to ensure that R was able to meet her potential, it was critical that she was supported to engage in full time education, and this was managed by finding a new school which was better suited to meet R’s social and emotional needs. R was able to make a fresh start, where her peers didn’t remember her or her past and this had a hugely positive impact on R’s engagement and success at school.
As a supervising social worker, we are used to young people finding it difficult to engage with us at times, as it may be a struggle for them to trust adults and those perceived to be in a position of power. The first time R made eye contact with me and smiled during a visit was really powerful for me as it showed that R was feeling more comfortable and less anxious. When R has chosen to ring or email me unprompted, I have felt honoured that she has chosen to reach out to me for support or guidance. Over the past 6 years we have developed a positive and mutually respectful relationship.
Through being loved and cared for by a fostering family who have provided a stable long-term placement, R has grown into a confident and healthy young person. She has also made phenomenal progress educationally, achieving fantastic GCSE results and has found out this week that she got an A and two C’s in her A-levels, meaning she’ll be heading to her first choice of university in September. R is now excited as she looks forward to her move to independence this Autumn, with the added security of a staying put placement to return to during the holidays.
Could you help a young person like R discover their potential and find their identity by providing a safe and loving home? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to talk about becoming a foster carer.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.