What it’s like to be a foster child

Felicia, now 16 years old came into care 5 years ago, with her younger sister Maya. She has been living with her foster carers Theresa and Jenny since.
Felicia shares how being in care has helped changed her life for the better. 

Why did you first come into care? 

My Mother found it hard to look after both me and my sister, there was a lot of alcohol, drug abuse and violence in the house. This made me feel scared and upset sometimes. We had social workers and police coming to the house a lot and this didn’t always end well. You didn’t know what was going to happen and how people were going to react and stuff. I stayed home most days, and rarely went to school, school was far, and mum said this was as we didn’t have the money for me to travel in, this could sometimes happen for a while. After lots of years of police and social worker visits, we were placed in foster care. That’s when I first met Theresa and Jenny, I was 11 at the time. We have been with them since. 

What did you like about being in care? 

I have been living with Theresa and Jenny now for 5 years, I consider them family, they have done everything to make home feel at home. I like the feeling of knowing I’m safe. Having people around I can talk to, who will listen and the routine of meals, bedtime and school has become something I enjoy. My foster carers are great, the way they care for us and they are always there for us helping us with problems and I feel part of their family now too. 

What did you dislike about coming into care? 

When I first came into care, I wasn’t sure how everything was going to work as it all happened at once, but it helped that I was with, and could stay with, my sister as we supported each other, and I didn’t feel so alone. It took a while to get use to the changes but once we got the hang of rules/routines I started to feel more comfortable and happier at my new home. 

Once a foster carer was identified what was settling in like for you and how did you adjust to your new home? 

I feel like I adjusted pretty quickly, my foster carers did a lot to help us adjust, every Christmas we get a box of biscuits as that was what I used to get when I lived with my mum. When we first arrived, they welcomed me and my sister, letting us play with all of their toys, bathe us and began the steps of helping us learn basic hygiene.

What were the challenges settling in and how did you overcome these?

There were many things I didn’t know when I came into care. Some of them where basic things having a routine of waking up and going to bed at certain times, knowing basic hygiene, what foods and drinks where appropriate and basic table manners, but Theresa and Jenny we patient with us and helped us learn. 

What post support have you received?

My social worker is nice too and whatever problems we have she tries her best to help us. She listens to my problems, visits regularly (or calls because of lock-down). Lock-down isn’t too bad, my college is giving me a few bits of work here and there and I’m don’t miss the commute, although I do miss being in the kitchen, at both college and work. It’s different then just cooking at home somehow.
As I’m getting older, she has been helping me with life skills for when I leave care. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being in care?

Since being with Theresa and Jenny I’ve enjoyed learning new skills and having the support around me to help me with my decisions. I have enjoyed doing things I wouldn’t have been able to do before, joining clubs such as police cadets and sports clubs, exploring new countries by going on holiday. And even going to school and meeting new people!

What advice would you have for a young person coming into foster care? 

The advice I would give to a young person coming into care is to try not to be scared or upset and if you feel this way they should speak to their carer, social workers or someone they can trust. They are understanding and can help support, give it time and things will get better/easier. 

What advice would you have for foster cares? 

The advice I would give to foster carers is be kind and patient with a child or young person living in your home. It is so important that you listen to them and they feel like they can talk to you.