Why are foster carers important? Young people’s views (2)

The third of our special posts for Foster Care Fortnight.

By Ian Thomas, Project Officer with Core Assets and care experienced young person

For me the best place to start with this would be to ask an opposing question such as “Where would we be without foster carers?” And more relevant to me – “Where would I be without foster carers?”

What would happen to all the children and young people without families to look after them? I think and feel that foster carers are the backbone of the organisation I work for and without them we would be out of business…

Without foster carers we would have to place our children and young people in children’s homes/institutions and lots of us know what that looks like! And that’s if they even make it to the homes. For me I had no consistent positive relationship at all when I was in a children’s home. So there you have immediate attachment issues from the off which made gangs and negative peer groups look very attractive as it was there to fill a fundamental human need for “belonging” which I was not getting from my home life… which very often leads to crime, drugs etc. Crime gave me an income and there you have another fundamental human need: “Income – a way of making a living”. Then we move in to the realms of the criminal justice system which fits in perfectly with my institutionalism as having no experience of foster care and just boarding school or homes I am now a perfect candidate for prison – after all it is what I know, right? Each crime I commit has a ripple effect that’s so big! From my victim to their family and friends, police, any other emergency services, insurance companies, local bystanders/witnesses. Legal aid both defence and prosecution and all who are involved in the criminal justice system all paid for by the good tax payer of course. Different crimes have different consequences but there is always a ripple effect! And remember I will commit more crime than I actually get caught for as that’s just the way it goes!

At this point having had no foster family to care for me I might well feel unworthy and overall generally hurt! And we all know that “hurt people hurt people”… Having the experience demonstrated a way of living to me, like watching somebody go to work every day and caring for another in a relationship with other family members!

Not everyone who grows up in institutions are destined for a life of crime and prison but in having lived in 10 prisons over 2.5 years I know from experience that over half were care leavers – this is no coincidence! And they all have stories to tell of institutions…

So “Why are foster carers so important”?
Because every child deserves the opportunity to have a family setting and to not be conditioned by a system that stacks odds against them, because every child deserves to be loved!.. People loved me until I could love myself… It’s a journey but I am on the right path!

Why do you think foster carers are important?


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