12 December 2016

 Cultivation 

Cultivation: The process of fostering the growth of something.

~ vocabulary.com

 

“I firmly believe that every young person has the power within him or her to change the world. It is the role of those who teach to believe in that power, to encourage and release it.” ('A Piece of Mirror', Daisaku Ikeda)

 

The journey within mum’s car remains somewhat vague. The grey, bleak, stone building upon arrival was unimportant as I slammed the door with ultimate attitude and began my journey within the Social Services care system.

 

I was unhinged, ruthless - deep and affected. Fundamentally I guess I simply felt rejected. As I cast my memory back, it’s difficult to comprehend, somewhat mind boggling. The angle from which I write this blog from and how I wish it to be interpreted is ‘diverse’, but my intention is for an understanding to be established around an individual’s ability to grow.

 

When does adulthood truly begin? The law states at 18, but for me this is hugely questionable. I believe some of us need and require support, guidance, chances and opportunities well into our 30’s, 40’s…lifetimes. At 37, I confess to still remain ‘a work in progress’. We grow and learn constantly throughout our lives and this should not be overlooked or underestimated.

 

“The process of human revolution cannot be undertaken alone. It is through our interaction with others that we polish our lives and grow as human beings.” ('A Piece of Mirror', Daisaku Ikeda)

 

Do children in foster care have the same opportunities as those who are not? We would hope this was so but in reality statistics state that only 1% of children who were in care go on to study within further education. This fact alone is one that shocks me, leaving me with a sense of disappointment and a bad taste in my mouth.

 

I love individual stories. To reflect and learn from another’s experience is massively influential and heartfelt. To sit and listen to others is a skill in its own right. Such an attribute is truly paramount when empathy is given through shared identification. This is not to negate however, the professionals within Social Care, whom in the main are given a really bad time through the media, influencing public perception on an almost radical scale. There can be no doubt that cases such as Baby P and the Rochdale grooming scandal were dire stories, but they cannot and should not be used to define an industry where so many genuinely amazing people toil for the greater good of others on a daily basis.

 

In my opinion there is simply no denying the deeper depth of shared experiences, perhaps in some cases proving more beneficial than any therapist, counsellor or group could offer. Placements of children to a home take time and the match takes much thought and insight. The role of the Foster Parent is paramount to the well-being and growth of the child. There is much debate around the Foster Parents' professional credibility. They seem to have little recognition within a professional status, which is deeply disturbing and ultimately far off the mark.  

 

My decision to change careers from teaching into foster caring was a natural one, I guess stemming from my own experiences and my on-going vocation towards working with children and young people. It was always something I had considered but hadn’t truly put my focus to until I started making contact with Diverse Care, primarily Jimmy Harris. It was then that the long process to Panel began. The application and checks can be time consuming and intrusive, and there were moments whereby I felt I was laying my soul bare to people I didn’t even know. However, the genuine treatment I received from every single member of staff was welcoming, professional and unique from any other company/organisation I had worked with previously. They have certainly nurtured growth within me -  sometimes I have been shocked at how well they have managed this!

 

They continue to provide me with innovative and thought provoking training; I am learning again and embracing new challenges. The support from the company as a whole has been huge and necessary. For me, this sets it apart from fostering directly through Local Authorities, which are often overworked and struggling to meet the needs of everyone.

 

Diverse Care recognises the importance that their Foster Parents need to be from all walks of life, offering different resources and attributes to have the skills in dealing with a multitude of vulnerable children. They are a company that are massively personable and value their workforce. They are an organisation that believes in children, and adults like me, who have experienced life in care and am now in a position to make positive contributions, with insight, empathy and professionalism. 

 

I have absolute gratitude to Diverse Care who continue to give me inspiration within a profession I am still new to. Their belief has enabled me to grow, tuning into once again, my own self-worth and capabilities. I feel privileged to be a part of this growing company!

 

Fostering: The process of cultivating the growth in someone.

~ Diverse Care

 

Image credit: Pexels

 

written by

Jenny O'Callaghan

 

Last modified on Friday, 17 March 2017 14:55

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