Could you provide a little background on yourself and how you are connected to Futures Group?
No problem, my name is Chelsea, and I was taken into care at the age of 7 for neglect and abuse. I was looked after by Futures Group and many carers that worked for the agency. I remained in care until the age of 18.
What is the most memorable moment from your time with Futures Group?
My most positive memory from Futures Group would have to be some of the carers I was placed with. Looking back on my experience, I can tell the carers just wanted to make a positive impact
Do you still have contact with anyone from Futures Group?
Yes, I do. My first family, who looked after me. I lived with them for a total of six years; they were by far the best family I ever lived with. To this day I am still in contact with them and visit them up in Norfolk where she moved to.
To me, they are some of the closest family I have. Even now they always remain supportive of me and like and push me to achieve the best I can; in all areas of my life. I would say, that most of my morals and the way I present myself now is down to this beautiful family. I also remain in contact with a lovely lady call Polly, although I am not as close with her she was an excellent carer, and I would always recommend her to anyone.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of fostering?
The advice I would give is always to show unconditional love. Sometimes, even though the journey may not always be a smooth one, the impact of showing you care can mean the difference between what path the child will take.
How do you think your experience of fostering has positively shaped the person you're today?
I was lucky enough to have experienced some fantastic care. In a way, even though I was looked after by several families, I feel like have taken a little bit from everyone and feel this has and will continue to shape me as a person and a parent.
What advice would you give to a looked after a child that might be reading this interview?
I would advise them to take advantage of the care and support they will receive, and never be too scared to ask for what they want or need
Is there anything we, Futures Group, could have done better?
Not really no. The only thing I can think of is that more emphasis should be put on empowering young people by asking a child what they want and how they would like to be looked after. I know it's hard for an organisation to do this because of the number of children looked after by yourselves. But I feel that it is always something that foster carers, social workers and child's support network should strive for.