Lifestyle

Foster Care Fortnight #WhyWeCare: Why I Care

Nia Clark is a Final Year English Language and Linguistics Student. Featured Image is Vintage House Bicycles by Free-Photos on Pixabay.

This week commenced the second week of Foster Care Fortnight. Running from May 10th-23rd, Foster Care Fortnight is an annual event initiated by the UK’s leading fostering charity; The Fostering Network. The charity’s aim in this campaign is to “raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives”. This years theme is #WhyWeCare.

In line with their theme, The Fostering Network reached out to a diverse range of people in the fostering community, including myself; a daughter of foster carers. They asked us to film a very short video talking about why we care about fostering. (Links to videos provided at the end of this article.)

I was more than happy to create a 30 second video expressing why I care, but it got me thinking that I had more to say.

Foster care means a lot to me. And to be honest, it’s crazy to consider where my life would be without it. It brought me my foster sister, one of the strongest girls I know.

Over the years, it has opened my eyes to the world, in a way I hadn’t seen it before. Every 20 minutes, a child comes into care. I knew by sharing our home to these children we could help impact that statistic, however minutely. All children deserve a safe and loving environment where they can have the ability to thrive, and unfortunately not all children are provided with this which is why foster care is so important.

Being involved in foster care the way I am, also meant that I became aware of the public image of fostering. Foster care is often stigmatised negatively by the media, it fails to show people who thrived and succeeded in life who were in foster care. Positive representation is incredibly important. So I thought I would mention just a handful of the people who had very successful lives AND (not but) experienced foster care at some point in their childhood:

  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Seal
  • John Lennon
  • Neil Morrisey
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Coco Chanel
  • Steve Jobs
  • Simone Biles
  • Cher

Shocked? I know I was. I’m not shocked at their achievements, only shocked at the fact I was unaware that foster care played a part in their lives.

There is a lot of misinformation about foster care, and I believe more effort should go into positive and accurate portrayals of foster care in TV and film. This inspired my undergrad dissertation, about how TV shows represent foster care (through linguistic analysis). I think foster care deserves a higher profile and hopefully, in any little way, I can help add to that.

Foster children, as well as foster carers, continue to inspire me by their incredible resilience in the face of adversity and I am astounded by their strength every day. I believe more people should be aware of how amazing they are. I am proud to have been a part of this community since I was 14. And that is why I care about foster care.

Here are the links to The Fostering Network’s short videos about the #WhyWeCare campaign.

Collective #WhyWeCare video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8l8vEJvuug&t=30s

My personal #WhyICare video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaOcd3_nLb8

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