What I wanted from a foster family - by Tia
Tia came into care aged 13 and spent time with a number of our Xcel foster families. We are very proud that she has recently successfully completed an apprenticeship and helped us at a number of our information events. She is passionate about improving the lives of children in care. She has reviewed information which we provide our young people to ensure that it is current and relatable. She has written this piece about her experiences in care and what she qualities she thinks it is important to have as a foster parent;
"I think that a good Foster Parent would be warm hearted, understanding and passionate about making a change to people’s lives.
When I went into care I was so scared. I had never heard of being in care before. The only thing I had to go on was Tracey Beaker, even then I wasn’t too sure. It’s such a scary thing to happen. Imagine walking up to a strangers door. You don’t know anything about them or the area – one word, terrifying. My best experience was going to Southend for a day out with the foster carers and young people that they were looking after. It made me feel like I wasn't alone and that there was other young people in the same position as me.
When I was in care, a room was never important to me. I moved so much it was just somewhere to sleep, it was never mine. Looking back at it now, I would have liked to be able to pick stuff for my room with the foster carer. A blanket always goes down well. A choice around food is also good. I hoped that every placement I went to had something that I liked. Some young people may feel uncomfortable sitting around the table with the family eating a meal. At the end of the day, they may not feel comfortable sitting down with the family – you should try to tailor it to their needs.
A foster parent should know this – you have to be in it for the young people and want them to do well. Don’t ever underestimate their potential. Don’t patronise young people in care. At the end of the day, we want to be treated the same as any other human being. If you wouldn’t talk to your family like that, don’t do it to the foster child either. Be patient and don’t expect what you wouldn’t expect from your own. If you’re thinking about fostering, this is what you should know. It’s bound to be tough and hard but the most rewarding thing for you guys, as foster carers, is when a young person makes it against the odds."