The Modern Day Foster Carer Part 3- The Challenges & Support
31 July 2023
31 July 2023
Part 3- The challenges- Up against the system
‘However hard the story has been, we are still here’
Halima and Adam went on to speak about the challenges in a positive narrative and how the challenges of a teenager, are the joys of a teenager, and how they had to learn to be the advocate for their young man. Escaping the narrative that children in the care system are seen as scapegoats as they have ‘problems and issues’.
‘Every positive story, always positives outlay the negatives, otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today, however hard the story has been, we are still here’. ‘We went into it thinking, of course, we’re going to advocate for him, as we would any child. But putting that into practice is very different from thinking about it, as you come up against everyone in the system. We went through lockdown with still no school placement, and we had to fight. So, we have been in fighting mode for the last three years for him. Fighting for him and what he deserves.’
Their approach was to build a positive opinion and for people to feel good about their young man, and although teenagers can be challenging, they wanted him to be seen as an individual rather than seen for what they’ve done wrong or as a problem that needs to be fixed.
‘We valued him as a being, as an independent being, and when we did that, we saw the positives in him, advocating for him became more natural. It was a natural process of we want the best for him, and we want him to have the best.’
‘It wasn’t that he was coming to us as something that we were going to fix or change or help but grow together. We move forward together. He has been there for us as well. And we are changing, growing, and learning so much. We have never parented a teenager before. The way that he makes us feel is an indication of how he’s feeling and being receptive to that and moving with him. We are always very careful to be inclusive that he’s with us and we love him being with us and he is part of us. We have negotiated and built a relationship in that way, it’s not that he was bolted onto us or that we are here to correct or serve him, but it is a relationship. I think you naturally become more mothering in that way, and advocating and fighting is like for your own child.’
‘The child social worker will often change, sometimes you feel like you are starting back to the beginning again, it’s frustrating but part of the process. We have had changes in Nexus as an agency, and we’ve had chances in our social worker, but it’s always felt smooth. The transition has always been brilliant because our previous social workers are still working for Nexus and the transition is smooth. We spent a lot of time researching but felt like it was the right fit for us. As an agency it feels really organised, the consistency of the service is wonderful and because everything else about foster care is inconsistent, our job is to provide a consistent life model for a young person.’
‘Nexus is growing as well with more things coming even when there are changes it’s consistent and balanced for us and the young people involved. The participation within Nexus is part of the personality and the young person can recognise the consistency with that. Activities and engagement are always available; our young man took part in the Duke of Edinburgh with Nexus and has completed his bronze expedition. That was huge for him and he achieved it with the help of Nexus, he displays his medal in his room’.
31 July 2023