Seeing the world through Fostering

Niall Crozier

Reporter:

Niall Crozier

Email:

niall.crozier@ulstergazette.co.uk

PAULINE has Fostered children from a diverse range of backgrounds and welcomes every young person into her home regardless of their race or culture.

In recent years she has cared for a number of young people who don’t identify as Irish/Northern Irish – instead they identify as Portuguese, Latvian, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Romanian, SE Asian and Polish.

Three of these young people could not speak English at first so the technically minded Pauline quickly employed the services of Google Translate.

Pauline added: “Each day brings its own new learning experiences, and I am now much more educated in various cultures and traditions from around the world.

“I enjoy cooking and I enjoy learning about foods from the young person’s country so I can cook a dish that is familiar to them”.

“Food, language and celebrating cultural holidays are all ways in which I have made young people feel valued and accepted”.

“This has been a great way for all in the household to learn about the world around them with everyone picking up phrases from various languages.”

Pauline recognises the important role that sport can have in the healthy physical and emotional development of young people and consequently is always happy to facilitate this participation in any way she can.

Perhaps some of the greatest rewards Pauline has had is seeing the progression of young people in her care go on to achieve well academically.

Pauline said: “Study time is traditionally a little after arrival from school and all phones must be set aside – a major house rule!

“One young person who had ‘left school’ and did not speak any English upon arriving aged 13, was able to return home aged 17 with nine GCSE’s and two years later is still in full time education. She is totally fluent in English; complete with a perfect Dungannon twang!

“Another who had extremely poor school attendance throughout her first three years at secondary school returned home after three years with eight GCSE’s.”

Some young people in Foster care return home when the concerns that existed previously have been addressed.

This is a key goal for Pauline as she understands that a young person should only be in Foster care for as long as is absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, she has also had experience of some young people not being able to go back home before their 18th birthday.

When asked about what wisdom she would offer to prospective Foster carers Pauline advised: “Try to treat Foster children like your own and take the rough with the smooth”.

“There are many more rewards than down sides. I don’t ever think I will retire from Fostering.”

If you have any questions, would like to find out more or are interested in becoming a foster carer please contact HSC NI Adoption and Foster Care or call on 0800 0720 137. You can also visit www.adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net

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