Foster care: An eye-opening case study

As part of Foster Care Fortnight, we spoke to two of Aberdeenshire’s longest serving foster carers about their experiences.

Oz and Ann’s partnership with the council began some 23 years ago. They remember the first child they looked after who joined their home for six weeks initially and ended up staying more than two and a half years. When they face difficult moments now, his story continues to inspire them to stick in.

Having come to them from secure accommodation, it was a bumpy ride. He was a teenager and that comes with its challenges but he was able to turn his life around. When he left them he was able to get a flat of his own and now he’s ‘all grown up’ he has his own successful business and is still thriving.

Oz explained: “When we’re worried sick or we think ‘why did we do this?’ we think back to those early years and how we were a small part of this person achieving so much in life.

“The best thing about foster caring is to see kids thrive, flourish, achieve things, build their self-esteem and pride, and feel loved. Sometimes that takes weeks and sometimes it takes years, every child is different, but it makes it all worth it.

“To anyone thinking about foster caring, I’d say have a really good think about it, don’t go in with rose tinted glasses, do all the training you can and speak to other foster carers. It’s not a 9 to 5 but we support children as long as they need it.”

Ann recalls so many different experiences and explains why even if you can’t always turn things around for a young person it’s worth it. She said: “The best thing is if you can make a difference and help someone turn their life around, but even if you can’t you’re still giving these children good, fond memories to look back on. When they are older that puts them in a better place.

“I always encourage our children to accept the past and live for the future, to help them move on, and the good bits about foster caring definitely outweigh the worst. I remember the first time we sat down for tea with the two children who we care for now and they just got upset, they had no confidence… and now I’m so proud they are happy and achieving so much.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer, please visit: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/fostering/ You will find detailed information on the website about becoming a foster carer and the support and guidance available. You can then request an information pack by emailing fostering.befriending@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

For more information, follow @adoptandfosteraberdeenshire on Facebook or call 01467 532700.