Chelsea (22) and Anthony (20) are on a long term placement with foster carer Sarah Haswell. Here they talk about their experiences and how the support they continue to receive has opened up a world of opportunity for them.
I was nine when Anthony and I were placed with Sarah.
While it was scary at the start because I was a young child going into a strange house, I soon started to settle and before long it became clear I was in the best place. There was a lot of positive reinforcement about this from everyone around.
From the very beginning we both received lots of support from Newcastle City Council's fostering team. For example, because we came to England from Scotland and the curriculum was different, our social workers made sure we got support with English, maths and the core subjects. Sarah also was very helpful in terms of ensuring we understood the importance of study and helping us wherever needed.
All this paid off – I’m now studying for an MA in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development at Northumbria University and I also have a part time job. I feel I can achieve anything I'd like to.
The fact I was placed in a home with my brother Anthony made a big difference to our happiness. Being young and placed in foster care is one thing but being taken away from those you love is another. I would definitely have been more hostile without him and I can’t imagine having grown up without him.
If there are no problems between siblings it would be so nice for families to take in brothers and sisters where possible.
My advice to children and young people being offered a foster placement is to stick with it, get your education and listen to what people advise because actually all they want is for you to do well. Finally, keep an open mind and concentrate on your future, not what's happened. There’s so much you can achieve.
I was just seven years old when I was placed with Sarah and it was difficult at first. I was very nervous but Chelsea was there so that gave me some reassurance.
Thankfully the fostering team have always been close by and they continue to be on hand whenever I need help and guidance.
From hoping find me tutors and supplying things like a laptop to support my studies, my social worker has always been brilliant, especially when things have been tough. Sarah has also always provided lots of care and support.
Now I’m going into my second year in Forensic Science at Northumbria University and have just come back from a summer of travel. It feels a lifetime away from those difficult first few weeks.
My advice to other young people is similar to Chelsea's. You don’t need to be nervous or disruptive. You might feel like rebelling but think twice because everyone is there to support you and ensure you have everything you need. They just want you to do well. Sarah has looked out brilliantly for us and we continue to enjoy being part of a loving and supportive home.