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Day in the life of a female foster carer 13th July

Background
My name is Tabatha and I have been a foster carer for 6 years.

The young people I have been privileged to meet have often been hugely affected by their life experiences and just want to feel safe. It is fascinating to see what they develop into when you assist them to find their voice! The results may not always be what you like, as they normally need to work through a lot of anger.
Since working for the Compass Group, I have provided a long term home for two sets of siblings, have offered respite for various young people and have supported two young people who were not in main stream schooling to return.

We are proud to be foster carers!
 

Monday 13th July

Just when you think you have seen it all as a Foster carer you discover something that makes no sense. G, the 8 year old, has been gnawing the window sill in her room! Why has she started this? What pleasure could she have found in eating her way through the wood?

This is a new occurrence and makes little sense to us. She is in huge difficulties at school and is exhibiting very difficult behaviour – mostly recreating Benny Hill sketches in the grounds when she is meant to be learning. My heart sinks every day I go to school and hear the teachers discussing her behaviour, it’s demoralising and I’m not living with it or coping with it.

In total contrast she is great most of the time at home. We have lovely experiences and she is creative, funny and loving.

Yesterday we got the hose pipe out and put the sprinkler on for her to play in. It was hilarious and very entertaining watching her and my partner doing silly dares. My Auntie Patsy once gave us good advice about fostering; she said “It’s the little things that are the big memories for them.” G remembers what she ate, what my partner was wearing and that I was not there but at work the day she arrived 3 years ago. She remembers how we woke her up and gave her a wooden cat to look after and most importantly, we were nice!!

Recently G was asked her opinion about us for our yearly review. Her response was that we take her to the park, buy her ice creams and care for her. G’s life is complicated but she has firm boundaries with us which she likes and responds well to. During our review the officer was surprised that she was still with us, the reason for this was that she was extremely difficult to manage when she came and the national average for children in placement is 2 years. The decision maker described some of the behaviours we used to deal with daily and we realised that the behaviour at school she is now experiencing was identical to that, it made us think differently about where this behaviour is coming from and how to manage it. Every day is a learning process for us and for her!