Foster care fortnight, which runs from the 9-22 May, is an opportunity to celebrate how foster care can transform lives – and we’re celebrating the many kinship foster carers who have stepped up to raise children they love.
We caught up with Jaz, a kinship foster carer, who shared her story and how peer-to-peer support helped her navigate some of the challenges along the way.
Three years ago, Jaz became the main carer for her three grandchildren aged five, 12, and 15. She was not aware children’s social care were involved in their lives or that abuse had been reported. The local authority agreed that Jaz should care for her grandchildren and be assessed as a foster carer, which began immediately.
Thinking back to that time, she says, “Taking them in my life changed for the better. I brought my bed downstairs and they have the upstairs rooms, I’d give anything for them.”
The value of joining a peer-to-peer support group
Jaz joined a local kinship peer support group and talked about her experience with other kinship carers. They information and experiences shared in the group helped Jaz make the decision that for the children’s benefit, she would remain as a foster carer for her grandchildren, rather than seeking a Special Guardianship Order.
The support group is something that Jaz speaks incredibly highly of, and says that “I wouldn’t have known where to go otherwise, it is my lifeline. I enjoy going, I can get everything out and feel so much lighter once I get back home, I can say anything.”
Jaz found that the kinship peer support group has had a positive impact on her wellbeing. The way other kinship carers so generously shared information and advice enormously made a huge difference, and Jaz took comfort in hearing other people’s experiences and knowing that she wasn’t the only one experiencing the highs and lows of being a kinship carer.
Jaz is confident she made the right decision for her family. How does she sum up her journey as a kinship foster carer? “After three years the children call my house their forever home and that’s everything for me, it makes all of this worth it.”
Find out more about our peer-to-peer support service
If you’re a kinship carer, and like Jaz, would like to connect with other kinship carers to share information, advice, experiences and expertise, then get involved in our game-changing peer-to-peer support programme, funded by the Department of Education. More details are available here: https://kinshippeersupport.org.uk/