We recently had an article in the Glasgow Evening Times about how some of our foster carers helped make a big difference to the life of a looked after child. Here is the article in full, with the PDF of the article also attached.
Watch them thrive in a new home
Despite a chaotic start in life, 16 year-old Emily is now doing well at school, has a part-time job and is about to learn to drive.
Her future is looking rosy but she believes her life could have been very different if she had not been taken into the care of a foster family when she was nine years old.
"I have been given chances I probably would not have got if I'd stayed with my parents," said Emily who is currently sitting Highers and hoping to become a nurse.
"If I had still been at home, school would not have been as good and it would have been difficult socially. Now I have lots of friends."
Her parents had drug and alcohol problems and Emily was fostered on an emergency basis with foster parents, Nicola and Andrew, but settled in so well she had been there ever since.
While she admits she was apprehensive about being fostered, it did not take her long to settle into her new family.
"Everyone gets on well and it has been good the way things have turned out." she said.
Her foster parents, who also have two grown daughters, decided to foster nearly ten years ago, after their son was born.
"There is a big age gap between our daughters and our son and we decided it would be nice to have other children in the house," said Nicola (46).
"Rather than have more of our own we wanted to help others, My husband's parents had fostered so he had grown up with it and was very positive about it. We've since looked after children from babies to late teens. Emily is has been with us longest although she was first placed with us on an emergency basis and it wasn't until she had been with us for three years that we knew it would be longer term. She had a very chaotic upbringing prior to being placed with us but she has done really well."
Nicola added: "A lot of people have the misconception that they are all troubled kids but that is really not the case. They may have baggage but generally they are brilliant kids - they just need a chance and need to be shown there is an alternative to the way they have been living. They get opportunities that they otherwise might not have had such as going on holiday abroad. It works for us and as families go we are probably happier than most. There are very few arguments in the house. They have learned to compromise and help out and it works." Said Nicola.
For those who are interested in becoming foster parents, Nicola warns that it is not a job but a lifestyle choice.
"If it suits you and your family then it is the best thing in the world." she said.
"I love every minute. It does bring some heartache when you say goodbye to children but the benefits of seeing a child's life turn around far outweighs the disadvantages. If people are thinking about it, talk to those already doing the job and find out as much as you can."
Comprehensive training and support is provided by National Fostering Agency Scotland and there is an opportunity to speak to experienced foster carers at an open day in Glasgow on Wednesday, 23rd May between 11am and 1pm at the GoGlasgow Urban Hotel, 517 Paisley Road West. Free parking is available.
To find out more check www.nfa.co.uk/events/scotland/Fostering-NFA-GoGlasgow
Original piece in the Evening Times can be found here: NFA-Scotland-Newspaper2.pdf