THE JOURNEY Activities to help carers and those in care. By young people in care.
Introduction As a group, we have found that we have had similar experiences and issues in foster homes. With the help of Fixers, the campaign that gives young people a voice, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve created this booklet to use our own experiences to help you overcome these barriers, and to recognise some of the feelings you may have. Also to help make the transition process in to foster care that little bit easier. We have found how important it is to have a good relationship with your carer, but this can be difficult when meeting them for the first time. This booklet should help and encourage a great relationship between you and your carer and give you tips on how together, you can both achieve this.
WHO ARE WE? My name’s Joe and I am 21 years old.
I was nine years old when I went into care. It was a normal day at school until I was told to go to reception. There was a lady standing at the desks who my head teacher was talking to. The three of us went into my head teacher’s office and that's when I was told I was going into care.
My name is Chloe and I am 17 years old.
I have been in foster care since I was eight years old. Foster care hasn't been the easiest journey, but it got me away from a difficult domestic situation that I was too young to understand at the time. I had to learn be an adult from a very young age. I looked after my sister and fulfilled many duties which were overwhelming for me at that age, but life soon changed when I went in to care.
When I arrived at my new carer’s house I was really nervous but as it turned out, I couldn’t have asked for nicer foster parents. I was introduced to my new two-year-old sister and they explained why I was in care. The carers that I have now are amazing. They have always been there for me and are During the eight years I lived there, my honest, understanding, loyal, loving and give foster dad became my best friend and amazing advice and cuddles. I couldn’t be someone I truly trusted. more proud to call them my mum and dad and most importantly, they have made me I even ended up working for the same the person that I am today. company as him, which was great apart from having to wake up mega-early. This is my story. Life is what you make it. Live life to the full. That is the story of me being in care.
your new family Meeting a new family for the first time can be a very daunting experience. Sometimes fear and anxiety can make us sad or even angry, so use this part of the booklet to discuss the feelings you may be having with your new carer.
Feelings you may have coming in to care
ALONE CONFUSED ANGRY
your new family Now try splitting these words in to positive and negative emotions. In the box next to each word, write ‘P’ for positive emotions and ‘N’ next to negative emotions.
For the positive emotions - discuss and write down what makes you feel this way. For the negative emotions - discuss and write down how you can avoid feeling this way.
ANXIOUS ALONE CONFUSED ANGRY EMOTIONAL STRESSED WELCOMED INCLUDED LOVED HAPPY EXCITED COMPLETE
TIPS FOR CARERS From our experiences living with foster families, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made a few tips that may help carers form that special bond and warmly welcome their new family members.
We believe that listening to your new foster child is one of the most important parts of being a carer. Listening to them when they want to talk, have strong feelings or have a problem can be a great way to develop trust and form a strong relationship. Be open to having conversations about all kinds of feelings - happiness, frustration, anxiety etc.
We think that foster children should be welcomed in to any new family without judgement. Going through the care system can be emotionally challenging, and some foster children have had difficult pasts because of this. But it is important they are welcomed in to your family and loved for who they are now.
TIPS FOR CARERS a member of the family! Caring for a foster child should be seen as an addition to the family. In our experience, some carers can tend to treat their own family differently to their foster children. Make sure you treat your new foster child as a member of the family to help them feel comfortable and welcome.
Have 1-on-1 interaction As well as involving your foster child in family activities, try to have 1-on-1 time with them. Time alone is really important to us because it will give you a chance to really get to know each other and form a bond. This can be anything from going out to a coffee shop together to bigger days out, such as a trip to the zoo.
DRAW the emotion Moving in to a new foster home can involve many confusing feelings. Drawing the faces of the emotions listed below may help you understand the feelings youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re having. Do this activity with your new foster family to open up discussions about what causes you to have these feelings.
DRAW the emotion upset happy angry
HOW DO YOU FEEL? Sometimes it can be difficult to speak openly about emotions you may be having to a new family. To show your new carers how you feel without starting the conversation yourself, write the emotion youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re feeling on the next page and draw how you feel on the blank face. Once you are done, leave this booklet open on this page somewhere your new carer will see it, such as a coffee table, so they know how you are feeling. Remember to fill in the blanks in pencil so you can erase it and reuse it another time!
TODAY Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;M FEELING..
This booklet has been created by a group of young people from Portsmouth who have been through the care system. It was produced with the help of Fixers, the campaign that gives young people a voice. For more advice and information, please visit: www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk www.fosterline.info www.fosteringsolutions.com