A student and her foster carer have taken to the TV screens - to promote fostering.
Kirklees College student Caitlin Marshall, 17, and Viv Marshall are amongst those who have appeared in the ‘Foster Me’ video as part of a joint Kirklees Council and Leeds City Council drive to get more foster families to take in teenagers.
Just launched, it gives an honest insight into some of the challenges, misconceptions and rewards that come from fostering teenagers.
It hopes to encourage at least 30 people to become new foster carers through Kirklees Council, which in the last six months has had to deal with 26 new teens brought into care.
She went to live with Viv and her partner Martin last October after some short term placements.
“For me going into care was inevitable”, said Caitlin.
“Visits from social services had practically become a way of life so I knew it was on the cards. But when the day finally came it was a shock.
“I think in some respects that being taken into care as an older child was worse than if I was younger; I knew exactly what was happening and why. I knew things were difficult at home yet somehow I believed I’d be going back. There were many emotions running though my head.
“I knew pretty much straight away that I wanted to stay with Viv and Martin and now I feel a lot happier knowing I can do so until I’m ready to live on my own.”
Since being fostered Caitlin has got her life back on track.
“Before going into care my life had no direction. I skipped school and my grades suffered. Now my outlook is completely different. I feel like I’m able to get somewhere with my life.”
Martin and Viv have looked after 16 older children on a long and short term basis.
Viv said: “It’s true that most of the children we’ve looked after have had various problems, but that’s not the same thing as being badly behaved.
“The vast majority go out of their way to be polite and don’t want to be seen as different.
“Most just need love and support, someone who can invest a little bit in them by listening, letting them talk and express their opinions.”
Viv and other foster carers will be available to talk to those considering fostering teenagers at a drop-in information event between 9.30am and 2pm at Dewsbury Town Hall on March 15.