Today is International Care Day 2021. Care Day is the world’s biggest celebration of children and young people with care experience and an opportunity to share their stories and achievements.
Brighton & Hove City Council supports hundreds of children, young adults and their carers in a variety of settings. One way is through is our fostering service.
Lydia and James have been fostering in the city for nearly six years. One of their foster children is Vinnie, who came to them as a teenager five years ago and will be turning 18 in June.
This is what they had to say about their experience of fostering Vinnie.
“I am not sure if any care experienced individual thinks, 'I’m really glad I was in care.' No individual is going to be pleased with the reasons that lead them to being placed in care.
"But we can celebrate and champion all those individuals with shared experiences to let them know that they are seen, they are heard and that there is nothing they cannot achieve.
“To see Vinnie deal with more than life’s fair share of challenges on top a global pandemic is inspirational. If, five years ago you would have told the teachers, social workers or even Vinnie what he would have achieved by 18 they would have laughed in disbelief.
"A two-time national boxing champion, on the England Boxing pathway, a place at university secured, a part-time job and Olympic aspirations, who would have thought it.
“For James and I, it is just about enjoying time with him, going for walks, making pancakes, laughing and talking, and having one more person to love.
“We need to change the narrative around children in care. They are not destined for school exclusions and prison cells. Children don’t need to change, children are all the same they need to be afforded the same opportunities, relative to them, to be able to find themselves and fulfil their potential.”
Karen Devine, head of service for fostering placements and permanence, added:
“The strength, determination and resilience we see in the amazing stories of young people who had such difficult early experiences, who, with the right care and support go on to show us just how special, talented and strong they are. Inspiring!”
If you would like to find out more about fostering, please visit the Fostering page or call 01273 295444.