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‘Moments like these are the reason I foster’

Themed ‘Fostering Moments’, this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, 13-26 May, shines a light on the incredible moments foster carers create in the lives of children and young people. Whether it’s a shared laugh over dinner, guidance through a tough piece of homework, or the comfort of a listening ear during difficult times, every moment matters in fostering.

“My young person came down out of the blue with open arms for a hug for the very first time and I was taken back and said wow what happened here? She said I just wanted to do that.”  This small moment for Shakuntla, a foster carer in the borough, is just one reason why she fosters.

This month, in support of Foster Care Fortnight 2024, Ealing Council will be hosting a variety of events and initiatives to raise awareness about fostering and supporting its foster families. From a virtual and in-person information session at Perceval House to social media campaigns and outdoor advertising as well as local community gatherings outside the Town Hall, Northala Fields and Southall Park, there will be opportunities for people to show their support for foster care.

Reflecting on moments

Naima, who has been fostering for the last couple of years, and Lesley who has been fostering for much longer, shared moments they have experienced. “My fostering moment is when my current foster daughter told her social worker that she did not want to hurt my feelings”, said Naima. “This is because my foster daughter did something that she was not supposed to do and therefore when the issue was addressed by her social worker, she apologised, but more importantly she said she did not want to hurt me. This incident made me happy; I know my foster daughter cares about me as much as we care about her.”

Lesley has many moments but chose to share her wedding day as her favourite fostering moment: “We shared our wedding day with our foster children, past and present. Foster grandkids were ushers. Our foster son sang during the service, another did a reading and the first little girl we looked after came with her adoptive parents and walked the bride, (me), down the aisle.”

Many forms

Foster caring takes many forms, and Davina provides respite care which is often for a short period of time and can be at a time when the child is very traumatised. Davina said: “There are so many moments that have melted my heart.  But 2 that really stand out for me are the first respite children who were with me during the pandemic.  Handed to me with no clothing or anything because of lockdown rules and their Daddy had been rushed to hospital.  Clapping for carers with these lovelies, the poster they made for Daddy but kept in in their ‘new house’ and when he was well enough to be able to video call from hospital were just wonderful moments.”

“Another time was a young person who shared his journey in a letter so I would understand the trauma he had gone through and why he behaved as he does.  A very heartfelt tough letter he handed to me. A breakthrough moment.”

Nina fostered Kumari and her newborn baby, Kavitha. “Imagine being born in hospital and having nowhere to go.  This was the plight of a teenage mother and her baby.  I was introduced to Kumari when her baby was 9 days old, they moved into my family home the next day”, said Nina. “Fast forward 22 years, baby Kavitha graduated from Liverpool University in 2023 with a degree in Zoology.  She decided to pursue a career in teaching.  A few weeks ago, Kavitha was offered a full-time post in a high school in Liverpool to teach science, commencing September this year. And on Mother’s Day Kavitha decided to surprise me, travelling from Liverpool with her boyfriend.  This was the best Mother’s Day present ever.”

Becoming a foster carer

Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for a fairer start, said: “The level of compassion and understanding shown by our foster carers and their families never fails to impress and inspire me. Fostering is not an easy job, it’s lifechanging for children, young people, and foster families and the rewards are obvious. If you’re thinking about fostering but not sure how to approach it, there is lots of help and support available.”

Foster Care Fortnight runs from Monday 13 May to Sunday 26 May.

For more information, contact Foster with Ealing on freephone 0800 731 6550, email fosteradopt@ealing.gov.uk or visit the website.

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