July 22 2014 Latest news:
by Amie Keeley
Monday, May 19, 2014
A radio DJ and stand-up comedian is backing a campaign to encourage more people to become foster parents after his own experience of being cared for when he was growing up.
Kojo, who presents the In The Morning show on Capital Xtra, was placed in foster care in Springfield in Hackney by Islington Council at the age of five along with his younger sister, Anita, after his parents were sent to prison.
He said his foster family, who he remained with until he was aged 17, gave him huge stability and is urging others who are considering becoming carers to apply as part of Foster Care Fortnight.
The campaign, organised by the Fostering Network Charity, is also being championed by Islington Council which has 300 children in care and 138 foster families in the borough.
Kojo said: “Being fostered and living with my foster family until the age of 17 gave me the stability that every child deserves and needs.
“My sister and I were looked after and loved by a family that already had two of their own children and two other foster children. We all became one massive family.
“I will always be grateful for the stability and support that my foster parents gave me.
“My foster mother gave me the money to join a work shop for stand-up comics. This massive vote of confidence gave me the push to do what I do now.”
His parents were deported back to Ghana to finish their sentences.
He and sister went out to live with them when he was nine years old, but he later returned to London to live with his foster mother again.
Kojo, who is still very close to her, said his turbulent childhood could easily have led him down the wrong path and is keen to share his story to inspire others with equally complicated backgrounds.
“Anyone who is thinking about fostering should get involved, they could be helping children to have happy lives and achieve the best they can,” he said.
Applicants need to be able to provide a bedroom and a secure, safe and loving home. They will receive full training and support from social workers.
Islington Council’s director of targeted and specialist children services, Cathy Blair, said: “There are different types of fostering alongside the mainstream care where children are placed for varying lengths of time.
“We offer respite care for children with disabilities, supportive lodgings for 16-21 year olds preparing for independent living, specialist fostering for teenagers with challenging needs and a remand scheme for those pending sentencing in a court. We are looking for people from all backgrounds to come forward and help these young people who need it the most.”
An information sessions will be held at Islington Town Hall on May 28 at 10am.