Children in Care – Amy
My name is Amy. I’ve been in care since I was eight years old and I’e been with my FFI foster carers since I was 14. I’m in foster care because my mum had a problem with drink which meant she couldn’t look after me and my two younger brothers. When we came into care we were admitted into hospital because they hoped that we could go home with our mother when she was well enough.
That didn’t happen and we were placed into foster care. We were moved to a long term placement and I found this really hard because I had always looked after my brothers. When my mother was out drinking we would be home by ourselves and I had to take care of everyone. We often had no food and nothing to drink except the water out of the tap. I really struggled when our foster carer started looking after them and giving them direction. That had always been my job.
When I was 14 I was moved to my current placement on my own. At first I was really upset at being separated from my brothers but looking back at it now I can see that it was the right decision. This was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to mind anyone else, just me. My carers really encouraged me to stay on in school. I went on to get my leaving certificate and I’m the first person in my family to ever finish school and to go on to college.
The support I got from my carers as well as from Claire, the FFI Education Liaison Officer, is the reason I finished school. I definitely would have left school in third year without them. Claire really supported me through school and arranged help for me when I was struggling in some subjects. She also taught me study and exam skills and helped me to find a course I was interested in doing and then to apply for it.
Another thing that really helped me was going on the FFI family days like the summer BBQ or ice skating at Christmas. I used to think I was the only kid in foster care and then we would go along to an FFI fun day and I’d see the other kids and then I knew I wasn’t that different. These were a great way to meet other foster kids and we would keep in touch and we became friends.
My advice for anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer is to accept the foster child and to treat them the same as you would your own child. My carers always did this with me which I really appreciate. I have the chance now to get on with my life and to not let what happened to me as a child hold me back. I know I can always count on my carers.