What makes a good foster carer?

Fernando, Michael and Asmara give their verdicts on being fostered

Fernando, 11

I have had only three placements. The first foster carer was a woman. She was a nice person, despite her nagging me, but it was for my own good.

I wasn’t used to being nagged, so the day I was first nagged, I stayed in my room and only came out to eat, go to the toilet, have a shower and go out. I was allowed to come out of my room, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I was there for a year and two months. I did a lot of work such as making the bed. The sheet had to be absolutely smooth, the quilt had to be in all four corners of the duvet. The thing that made it hard was the round edges because the corners in the duvet were triangular.

I like my new foster home a lot more. I have been here for under a year and have already been to more places and parties than with my previous carer. I feel comfortable with going downstairs and talking. Here I feel more like a part of the family.

When my previous carer went on holiday, I was left behind but this time I am going on holiday with my carers and their children as a family.

Michael, 18

Some may argue a good foster carer is someone from the same cultural background as the looked-after child, someone with the same traditions. No, not in my point of view.

For me, a good foster carer is someone who wants to learn about the child being looked after despite their many differences. A good carer would have the patience to wait for the child to open up and let their true feelings out. A good carer would treat the child as their own blood and flesh.

Some young people can actually tell the good foster carer from the bad just by observing their behaviour. The bad foster carers do the job because it’s an easy way of making money whereas the good foster carers do it because they can do something they truly enjoy and make money at the same time.

Furthermore, in the case of good foster carers, the fostered child always goes back for frequent visits after moving to a new placement. This can only be because of the build up of love and care during the child’s stay.

In all, it’s easy being a good foster carer. All you need to do is build up trust and confidence and try not to judge the child before you truly know them.

 Asmara, 11

Children in foster care have everyday problems, as well as having to adapt to a new home and family. This can be difficult if you are the youngest in the house – for example, when your foster carer isn’t home and you are at home with a foster brother or sister. If they want to go out and you can’t go out with them, this can sometimes make you feel responsible for the situation.

When your school is aware of your circumstances and your foster carer is late to pick you up, if your teacher sees you outside and tells you to come in, it feels a bit uncomfortable. It makes you feel like you are different from the rest of your friends, who are still playing outside.

Sometimes you want to do something but there is a catch – for example, you want to go to the park but you can’t go by yourself and no-one can take you. It feels like you can’t do the simple things in life you can’t take normal risks. Some foster ­carers say they would treat you the same way as they would their own children, but they fail to see what the child thinks a normal life is.

I personally think that a normal life is a happy and active family.

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