Fostering the Future - a blog by 18-year-old Caoimhe
The Fostering Network Northern Ireland offer children aged eight to 20 in foster or kinship foster care a programme of support and personal development called Fostering the Future. The Big Lottery-funded initiative includes arts and sports based projects, peer mentoring and residential weekends.
Caoimhe has taken part in Fostering the Future and shares her story below.
My name is Caoimhe, I am 18 years old and I have been in foster care for nearly two years. Two years ago I was a very different person. I was abusing alcohol and drugs after my mum passed away. I was put into care and I was honestly so scared! However, with the help of so many different people I have started to move along a new and improved life path! I have been off drugs for over a year now and don’t abuse alcohol anymore. I feel if I wasn’t placed with the foster carer I am with now things would’ve turned out differently. Barbara has wiped away many of my tears and given me that extra nudge whenever I needed it. She is a remarkable woman who has been a huge influence in my life that will never leave me. There’s a saying Barbara has and if I’m ever going through anything she would say ‘nothing lasts forever’ and it’s true.
Becoming a young leader
Over the past six months I have been doing work with The Fostering Network, and specifically with Lauren and Mikhaila who work on the Fostering the Future project. They have been outstanding people to work with. I and a group of other young people are learning to become young leaders and develop many different skills as part of the Young Leaders Programme. As part of the programme we go away on residentials and activity days, and it is good to be in a group where everyone has had similar experiences as me. The young leaders group has given me many opportunities to grow and build my confidence and without this I wouldn’t have had the courage to write this blog. I feel that working with The Fostering Network has given me a lot of help in many different ways and I am excited to continue working with them on many other projects.
My experience in foster care has been very positive since I was placed with Barbara in Feb 2015. I have been with her for over a year and it has overall been a very smooth ride the whole way. I am currently studying Health and Social Care and ICT in school and next year I am going to Southern Regional College to study A-Level biology. After that I hope to go to university to study to become a mental health nurse.
I’d like to thank everyone who has been there for me and helped, supported and stuck by me from day one, particularly my foster carer Barbara.