The end of the year is traditionally considered a good time to reflect on what we have achieved during the year. It can come as a surprise to see how much we have been doing. Often we’re too busy doing it to notice. As a foster carer 2013 for me included seeing two children return to their families, giving respite to another child, mentoring two new carers, participating in the skills to foster training, as well as having the pleasure to meet Tayo again after nine years.
As a writer I answered many many emails, some from the desperate when I tried to give them hope; some from children and young adults living with abuse and neglect, whom I directed towards help. Some from foster carers and parents, or those working with children, who asked for advice on child-related issues, including managing challenging behaviours. During 2013 I’ve also had three lengthy email conversations (stretching most of the year) with adults who had finally found the courage to speak out about abuse they’d suffered as children. One woman had lived in silence for thirty years and said reading my fostering memoirs had given her the courage to go to the police and report her abuser. He was successful prosecuted and is now serving a prison sentence. The other two cases are due to be heard next year.
I hope that during 2013 I have continued to raise awareness about fostering and make people that little bit more aware, as well as encouraging those who had been thinking about fostering to take the next step and apply. All in all, therefore, looking back, I feel reasonably satisfied that I did my best in 2013 and achieved a fair amount. However, the greatest achievement of all in fostering must be the Fostering Network’s Don’t Move Me campaign, which achieved a great result. The government is introducing an amendment to the Children and Families Bill so that young people in England will be able to stay with their foster carers until the age of 21! What a fantastic achievement and great way to end 2013.
Happy New Year!
Love Cathy and family xxx