Fostercare Fortnight campaign in East Dunbartonshire
The Little Moments Change Lives campaign has been launched by East Dunbartonshire Council to coincide with Fostercare Fortnight, which runs from May 14 to May 27.
Emphasising the everyday experiences that help children feel secure and loved, it is hoped that it will urge potential foster carers who believe they could provide a loving home to get in touch.
Andrew (17), from East Dunbartonshire, has been in foster care since he was 13 and was more than happy to lend his voice to the campaign.
He said: “Every day is always good with my foster carers but the thing I always love most is on a Sunday; loads of family come up and my foster mum makes a massive steak pie.
“Everyone is there and we all eat together and watch TV. It’s not much, but it means a lot to me.”
For many children and young people who come into care, it can be these small family moments which are most cherished and, over time, create the stability that helps them flourish.
Having a loving, supportive home has given Andrew the confidence to apply to college. He also volunteers at his school, coaching younger students.
However, every year, there are another 40 children and young people in East Dunbartonshire, just like Andrew, looking for a home.
Paolo Mazzoncini, chief social work officer at East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Foster carers come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences: single, living with a partner, in a same sex relationship or married.
“We need more local foster carers for our children so they can maintain important family, school and social relationships and benefit from remaining part of their own community.
“Foster care transforms lives. We are passionate about the difference that foster care makes.
“As chief social work officer I see this every day; children and young people flourishing in our care and achieving in all areas of their lives.
“I also get a sense of the real satisfaction that foster carers experience from helping these youngsters reach their full potential.”
Children and young people need foster care when they are not able to remain with their birth families.
Foster carers provide care in emergencies, for a few weeks or months, as well as for longer periods of time.
To be eligible one adult needs to be at home full time and you need to have a spare bedroom.
Foster carers receive regular support from a supervising social worker and receive a fee and allowance when caring for children.
If you can help local youngsters through fostering, call 0141 777 3003 or search fostering at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk.
Best life I could have hoped for
Andrew was placed in foster care when he was aged 13. This is his story in his own words...
My dad left my mum when I was a few months old so it was just me and my mum for a long time.
We moved around a lot. My mum had a history of alcoholism. There was an incident where I woke up and my mum was not too well and I just had to sit and watch. I phoned an ambulance and then social work got involved and they moved me in with my foster carers.
It took me a while to get used to it but I love it now.
I felt quite sad that I wasn’t going to be living with my mum or my step-dad, who brought me up. My mum and step-dad broke up and he went to live on his own.
There were a lot of empty spaces in my life which my foster carers helped me fill because they gave me everything I needed really. They made me feel happy.
Everyone is always up at the house.
It’s one of those houses where family never stops dropping in.
I make tea for my foster mum – she says I make good tea.
My foster dad and I like to do outdoor activities together like going walking, camping and fishing. We are also planning on doing the West Highland Way.
My foster dad is a bit of a joker. He’s always playing pranks. He is brilliantly stupid sometimes! He is not the type of person to sit around; he always has to be doing something.
My relationship with them is very close. They are always trying to encourage me to do things for myself, like do my own cooking.
I can do that now, although my foster mum’s cooking is the best. My foster dad encourages me to iron my own clothes.
They are just trying to teach me to be able to live independently.
I think they are proud of me for trying to do my own thing and go to college. I am grateful for the life they have given me.
This has been the best life I could have hoped for.