Thriving in kinship care

As of 31 March 2020 there were 2,673 children living with foster families in Northern Ireland. Around 35 per cent of those children are in kinship placements. To put it simply a kinship placement is when a child goes to live with a member of their family or close friend who must be approved by their local trust.

Behind those numbers are real people. I am one of them.

I have been in a kinship placement for just over six years now. I live at home with my aunty, my uncle and my little cousin who was only three weeks old when I moved in. She calls me her big brother and always has and I will always refer to her as my little sister. I moved in after a big loss in my life, at a time when things were tough for our whole family. Nevertheless my aunt and uncle have always put us children first and provided us with a safe and loving home. I still have worries about my mum but I know I have people I can speak to and I am never on my own with those worries.

I have achieved so much over the last six years. We all have as a family. We have had a lot of support from our local trust and The Fostering Network who have allowed me some great opportunities. I have just finished a cross community programme with Sport Changes Life and I really enjoyed meeting new people and linking up with other children in foster care in lockdown as its been tough at times. I am also taking part in a life skills programme through them and YMCA which is great. I am so grateful for the support with school I have received from my aunt and uncle who really believe in me. I am dyslexic but The Fostering Network have helped me have tutoring for English which has really helped me build confidence with my school work and improve my grades. 

My aunty and uncle just feel like my real parents now. I feel really settled and have everything I need. I still get to see my mum weekly which I love. It’s only for a short time but it’s what works for us. My parents and social worker have always supported that as they know it’s very important to me. 

When I’m older I would like to be a physiotherapist and also support vulnerable people in some way. I know that with the love and support of my family and the professionals around me I will go on to achieve my dreams. 

S Aged 14