12th August, 2021
Today is 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”; something you will have likely seen highlighted across social media today by young people to help raise awareness and to make a difference.
We wanted to focus on the challenges that many young people in foster care face this year by sharing the incredible journey of R. Young people in foster care can often find themselves fighting their own personal battles each day to overcome the challenges that they may face. Things that many people may take for granted can feel out of reach to children entering care. Here’s R’s story as told by her supervising social worker.
R was in a poor state of health, both physically and emotionally after suffering extreme neglect when she came into foster care 6 years ago. In addition to this, R had been a young carer and had in turn felt unable to attend school regularly. Her attendance levels were below 10% and she had lost significant periods of education.
R’s foster family welcomed her into their home with patience and care; not expecting her to adapt immediately and accepting her just as she was. She was able to choose one of their stuffed animals to use as a transitionary object to help her to gain a sense of security and she helped to decorate her own room. They took their time to encourage and support R as she tried out different hobbies and activities so that she could discover the things that she enjoyed and to develop a sense of identity.
It was critical that R was supported to start engaging in full time education to enable her to reach her full potential. R attended a new school that was better suited to meet her emotional and social needs and she was able to make a fresh start without her peers knowing about her past. This had a hugely positive impact on R’s engagement and success 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, secure and loving home? We’d absolutely love to hear from you if you’d like to explore 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.