“I am where I am today because of my foster carers.” Abi, a foster care leaver shares her story
“I am where I am today because of my foster carers.” Abi, a foster care leaver from Mid Essex, helps promote Foster Care Fortnight
A teenager who credits her foster carers in helping her get to where she is today is encouraging more people to come forward and foster as part of a campaign run by Essex County Council during Foster Care Fortnight from 9th to 20th May.
19-year-old Abi from Maldon in Essex was in foster care for 10 years from the age of 8 – 18 years and. She says:
“Many foster carers I met changed my life and are still in my life now, even after I have left care. Knowing I have them by my side, and that they are still there to offer me support after all these years, means the world to me.”
Abi recognises that her fostering journey wasn’t smooth sailing and there were challenges, but the support she received from her foster carers showed her that they were willing to stay by her side through it all.
“Placements can be tough - or sometimes they break down completely - but when foster carers support their foster children, and the young person lets their walls come down, then you begin to have a connection and build trust. The foster carers I still know 10 years on, didn’t give up on me, they stuck by me, and I couldn’t ask for more.”
There are 1,100 children in care and Essex County Council is urging more people to consider fostering because more foster carers are needed to offer part-time and full time fostering. Foster carers can be single, married, from the LGBTQ +community or retired.
Essex County Council offers all foster carers excellent local training with an active network of support groups providing opportunities to meet and learn from other foster carers. It also offers 24/7 local support, a dedicated social worker and access to clinical psychologists
Cllr Beverley Egan, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years at Essex County Council, said: “We need more people to consider fostering to help children and young people become confident and independent.
Our foster carers provide a safe, stable, and nurturing home environment to hundreds of young people across Essex every year, which helps them prepare for independent living.
The support provided by Essex County Council enables our foster carers to follow their passion and make a real difference to a young person’s life.”
Abi is encouraging anyone thinking about fostering children or young people to pick up the phone and enquire.
“I am where I am today because of the support I received from my foster carers. These foster carers stepped in to be the parental figures that I needed: they didn’t become my parents, but they took-up the role, which was so important to me growing up. They showed me love and support.
“It’s these things that made such a difference. The stability, support and guidance I received from my foster carers helped me grow and move towards independence. Now when I see some of them for dinner, I walk back in like I never left. They make me feel a part of their family, that I’m one of their children who has just grown up and left.”
Find out more by visiting: https://www.essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/fostering.
If you prefer to speak to our friendly helpline call: 0800 801 530.