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Parents and families needed to foster Islington teens

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 June 2015

The Duchess of Cambridge visits Islington foster carers in January

The Duchess of Cambridge visits Islington foster carers in January

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Borough needs about 20 new homes for young people to live

Islington foster carers Amna Waqar, Yvette Short and Nebyat Tesfai pictured with the deputy mayor Richard GreeningIslington foster carers Amna Waqar, Yvette Short and Nebyat Tesfai pictured with the deputy mayor Richard Greening

Fostering teenagers wouldn’t be most people’s idea of a dream job. In fact, some would assume it’s a nightmare.

But after 19 years as a foster carer, Yvette Short has found that the most challenging children are often the most rewarding to work with.

“Obviously with each child you have there’s something new,” said Yvette, 49.

“They all come from different backgrounds and have different reasons for being in care.

The Duchess of Cambridge visits Islington foster carers in JanuaryThe Duchess of Cambridge visits Islington foster carers in January

“The children I’ve got at the moment were seeking asylum and when they came they didn’t speak any English, so trying to explain things to them was really difficult.

“But one of them still managed to get some GCSEs and wants to become a 
doctor. It’s going to be difficult, he’s going to try and become a paramedic first and then go further from there, but he’s willing to work hard.”

Yvette, who lives in Chingford, chose to sign up to foster with Islington Council, as she found her own local authority didn’t offer the same level of information and training.

Since then she has become a big part of the foster caring community in the borough and now even helps train others for the task.

“I got in to it when my own child was about five and starting school, I wanted to do something where I could be at home and fostering allowed me to do that.

“A friend of mine said that Islington had a really good information evening.

“I went along and it was really positive. You go where you feel most wanted I suppose.

“I would definitely advise anybody who is thinking about fostering to look into it.

“Go to the groups and find out about it because they do really good information sessions. They’ve got a four day course that gives you a really good insight into fostering. After you’ve done that I think you know if you’re ready or not.

“After nearly 20 years I’m still enjoying it. You never stop learning as each child is so different.”

Despite the success of Islington’s fostering network, which saw the Duchess of Cambridge make a visit to meet carers at one of the council’s facilities in Highbury in January, the number of teenagers needing a home is on the rise.

Susanna Daus, operations manger for fostering and adoption for Islington Council, said: “We could do with about 20 new foster families this year.

“We want people to be a lot more confident taking on teenagers, you can really make a change in the teenage years. We provide a lot of support and generous allowances, we’ve even got our own psychologist who can work with them.”

The council currently runs nine support groups a month to provide for about 140 families which are part of the fostering network.

Information given out covers all aspects of fostering and it’s also a great place to share experiences with other carers.

“We do a lot of training for our foster carers,” said Susanna.

“People really enjoy the sessions. It’s important with fostering that you keep up to date with what’s going on and what children are doing.

“We’ve had some real success stories, we’ve currently got 48 children in universities, but there are a lot more children who still need help.”

Email islington.fostering@islington.gov.uk or call 0800 073 0428 for more information.


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