Mo has been a Foster Carer for The Foster Care Co-operative since 2003, and from that time has cared for over 50 children and young people, sometimes as an emergency, perhaps only for the night and sometimes for as long as 3 years.
Mo says, “The important thing to remember is that all the children who come to us, whatever their age are individuals and they all have their own needs depending on what their experiences have been. Some children are frightened, some are angry, and some are relieved to be in a safe place… the essential thing is to allow them some space so that a relationship can develop at the pace of a child and when they are ready. It’s also pretty essential to have a sense of humour and bucket loads of patience!”
Young people like Rose* arrived as a frightened teenager who had recently discovered she was pregnant, but did not have the support of her own family. Mo and Rose formed a very special and close bond, and when Rose went into labour, Mo went with her into the birthing room. Rose remains in touch and says she would not have got through this time of her life with Mo’s support.
Similarly, Michelle* went to live with Mo after a decision was made that it was no longer safe for her to continue to live with her own family – she was frightened and scared. Reflecting, Mo said, “It took a while but eventually the nightmares stopped, and Michelle started to make friends. Witnessing this slow but positive change and seeing her trust again was special.”
Although they can give all the help they can to the children they care for, the rewards for them as carers are immeasurable – “the best feeling in the world is to see a young person or child move on to the next stage of their life, whatever it may be – perhaps a return home or possibly onto independent living – and to know I have made a positive contribution in that achievement.” Mo added, “It’s a humbling thought and I remain in constant awe of the ability of children and young people to thrive in a nurturing environment that I feel privileged to provide.”
* Names have been changed to protect identities