12th August, 2021
It’s International Youth Day! Held on 12th August each year, International Youth Day celebrates the qualities of young people and recognises the challenges that they may be facing.
The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Transforming Food Systems”, a subject that many young people will be highlighting as the day goes on to raise awareness.
Often, young people in foster care are fighting their own daily battles to overcome personal challenges they may be facing. As you will see from the story we are sharing today, things like education, having hobbies, etc that many people may take for granted can feel out of reach to begin with for children entering foster care. We wanted to share R’s incredible journey today on International Youth Day, as told by her supervising social worker. For children in foster care, the smallest of actions can signify the biggest of achievements.
R had suffered extreme neglect and was in a poor state of health, both physically and emotionally when she came into foster care 6 years ago. Having also been a young carer, R’s attendance levels at school were below 10% and feeling unable to attend school on a regular basis, she had lost significant periods of education.
R’s foster family were patient and did not expect her to adapt immediately to her new home. They welcomed her by accepting her as she was and helped her to gain a sense of security by letting her choose one of their stuffed animals as a transitionary object and encouraged her to help to decorate her own room. They took their time to support R as she tried out different activities and hobbies to help her to find out the things that she enjoyed and develop her own sense of identity.
Having not been given the opportunity to reach her full potential at school, it was vital that R was supported to start engaging in full time education. This was managed by helping R to make a fresh start in a new school that was better suited to meet R’s social and emotional needs. Being able to start afresh where none of her peers knew about her past had a hugely positive impact and helped R to fully engage and flourish 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 cared for and loved by a fostering family who have provided a stable long-term placement, R has grown into a healthy and confident young person. She has also made incredible progress educationally, achieving brilliant 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 now feels excited as she looks forward to her move to independence this Autumn, with the added security of a staying put placement with her foster family 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.