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We spoke to our colleague, Nicole, a member of our Child Care Department. Nicole is a “foster sibling” and her Mum does an amazing job of fostering vulnerable young children.

Nicole has shared her thoughts about life as a foster sibling and why, in her view, fostering truly is an amazing job.

What’s it like being a foster sibling?

As a Foster Sibling, you learn not to take your parents for granted. Children come into your lives who have experienced things many of us would never even imagine. You gain a better understanding of others being less fortunate than yourself. For me, I love having the siblings round growing up. I find that they look up to me and see me as a role model. It makes me feel very lucky to know that I have a role in changing young children’s lives for the better.

Why should people foster?

Whilst Fostering is challenging, ultimately you can make a tremendous difference to a child’s life. You often witness children flourishing and developing in front of your eyes, as a result of the love and care your family has provided. For me and my family, it is extremely rewarding. Sometimes, fostering can lead to long term placements. This can provide children with a true family and ultimately rewards the carers and the children. Fostering truly is rewarding.

What are your tips for foster carers?

I think it is really important that you know as much information as you can about the children you foster. Knowing more and being willing to learn about each particular child makes it easier to understand and cope with their behaviour. You need to be up for the challenge. Fostering is not a walk in the park for any family member. However, if you put the work in you truly can make a difference. As a sibling, it is important not to be jealous of the time they spend with your parents.

What experiences spring to mind?

A young girl aged 13 came to live with us with her 6 month old little girl. Motherhood is a scary time for anybody, especially when you are still a child yourself. My mum guided the young girl and supporting her parenting her child. After three and a half years, now 16/17 years old, the girl moved into her own property where she has successfully gone on to have two more children and created a family of her own with no social services involvement. The very first adoption process we experienced was difficult. An innocent three year old came to live with us and we were told by his previous carers he was a ‘devil child’. Although his behaviour for the first few months was very challenging, my mum used many techniques to manage his behaviour and we all adopted this. A positive relationship is the key to helping children behave positively. Once an adoptive placement was found, although we were ecstatic that he was going to have a new mummy or daddy, we were devastated he was leaving our home. He lit up any room he went in and as much as he was lucky to find a new mummy/daddy, they were lucky to find him. We still keep in touch and visit him and get regular updates on how he is doing. Seeing the difference my mum makes to these children’s lives in such a short amount of time makes me realise how extremely lucky I am to have her all of the time.

For more information about fostering please visit the Foster Care Associates website here.