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Can you open your home to a Havering child in care?

PUBLISHED: 14:13 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:13 12 May 2017

Havering foster carer Alison

Havering foster carer Alison

Archant

Foster carers play a crucial role in giving children from difficult backgrounds a safe environment to grow up in.

Havering's fostering teamHavering's fostering team

There are 250 children currently in care in the borough, and as part of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight 2017, from May 8 to May 21, Havering Council is calling on residents to open their homes to youngsters in need.

Foster carer Alison, 48, has been working with children in care for the last 12 years and has looked after children of all ages with various issues. So she is well placed to offer insights into the challenges of being a foster parent.

“These children come from backgrounds where they may have suffered neglect or abuse so they may come with their own issues,” she said.

“On paper I’ve got 12 years experience but if I haven’t dealt with that experience before that’s a new challenge so my 12 years is irrelevant.

“When a child walks through the door they can bring different challenges and experiences and I can honestly say mine has been completely positive and I thoroughly enjoy my job.”

Alison looks after children between the ages of five and 18, but it can often be harder to find homes for older children and teenagers.

“You can have a teenager that smokes, a child that goes missing or plays truant from school and wants to argue with you about everything.

“You have to be very open-minded, to have patience, to try and have an understanding.

“I think if a child comes from chaos then a child will obviously then be chaotic and you may try to calm the chaos down and find it challenging, especially with a teenager because they’ve already experienced so much in their life.

“It can be a challenge and sometimes we can’t do it, we’re not Mary Poppins, you try and pull every trick out the bag that you can but it doesn’t always work, because the child has got to want to have a better life or to learn different ways.”

For more information about fostering, call 01708 434574.

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