Advice & Guides
Diversity & Inclusion

4 Powerful Women Who Grew Up In Foster Care

There have been a great number of famous foster care cases over the years, with many celebrities having had experience in the care system. Having trouble at home can happen to anyone, from all walks of life. Family tragedies like abuse, neglect, death, or mental illness can affect anybody.
Celebrating International Women's Day

This International Women’s day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the inspiring care experienced women, who you have likely heard of! Where did their journey begin, and how has being in care affected them?

Coco Chanel

‘A girl should be two things: who and what she wants’ -Coco Chanel.

The fashion mogul was born Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel in 1883. She had four other siblings, so from the start of her life her parents struggled to provide for them. She spent a lot of time living between other relatives. When Gabrielle was 12, her mother died.

Her father decided that he couldn’t look after her and her siblings and sent her and her sisters to to an all-girls orphanage. It was in this children’s home that she learnt to sew, leading to her notorious life’s work.

Years on, Chanel’s work has had a huge impact within our fashion world. She was responsible for ‘the little black dress’, costume jewellery and the woman’s suit.

Marilyn Monroe

The famous Hollywood star was born in 1926. She was born to her mother Gladys, with an officially unknown, absent father, Norma had a tough start to life. Her mother did not have the financial capacity to look after her child.

When she was two weeks old, her mother took her to the house of the Bolenders, who became her first foster parents. She had frequent contact with her mother, who visited the foster home throughout her early years. She lived with the family until she was seven years old, until her mother was able to provide a home for her.

Her mother was was determined to keep Marylin’s wellbeing her priority, but sadly she began to experience mental illness issues, resulting in her being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Her mother was institutionalised, with Monroe being moved from multiple foster homes and orphanages from the age of eight until she was 16, when she married her partner.

After a turbulent childhood, Marilyn Monroe went on to have a huge Hollywood career. Not only was she an actress, but she also modelled and sang. She won 3 golden globes, declared ward of the state and made a total of 29 films. She was even the first woman to get script and director approval in her films!


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Simone Biles

Simone Biles is an Olympic gymnast and became the first woman to win four straight U.S. all-around titles in 42 years. She is also an outspoken advocate for sexual assault survivors.

Simone’s birth mother struggled with drug and alcohol problems. In her early years, Simone and her younger sister lived with various foster families before being taken in and eventually adopted by her grandparents when she was six.

‘My road to success began the day my grandfather and his wife officially adopted my sister and me.’
-Simone Biles.

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Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, now known as American singer, TV personality and actress Cher had her own experience in foster care. Her mother and father split when she was young, and financial pressures, along with family illness led her mother to place her into care.

Cher was placed in a foster family for a short time when she was at a young age, as well as her mother placing her in a children’s home for several weeks. Her mother had contact with her every day during her time there, but the two of them found the experience quite traumatic.

Her experiences and trauma didn’t let her let go of her dreams. “I don’t think that we are born with a finite number of dreams. One thing about dreams is that they can be whatever you want them to be, you don’t have to put a limit on them, you don’t even have to know them.”

Famous people who were fostered were able to harness their talents because of their experiences. Many children are unable to achieve their full potential as they don’t have the support. Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer. Let’s help children and young people make their dreams come true.

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