“My foster carer took the time to understand me.”

Author: TACT Young Person

Tags: Leaving Care

Ethan
TACT Care Leaver

My name is Ethan, I am 19 years old and I live in Liverpool. I went into care at the age of 10 because my mother wasn’t well due to her mental health problems.  I stayed with three different local authority carers before I was placed with TACT foster carer Debbie at the age of 13.

Debbie and I developed a great relationship since the beginning – it is hard for me to get along with people and get used to them, but with Debbie it was different. She took the time to learn about and understand me. She just treated me as family. I also got on well with her daughter and a refugee girl who is still in Debbie’s care.

Being taken away from my family to live with strangers felt weird at the beginning but gradually I got used to it and I started seeing more benefits. I realised that thanks to being in care I was able to do a lot more with my life. When I first came to Debbie’s I was a bit shy, so she helped me get into the army cadets which built up my confidence. She took me hiking and do other fun stuff which I normally wouldn’t be able to do. Most importantly, I was failing at school so Debbie helped me get a personal tutor and eventually she managed to keep me in school. Now I am in college and in two years I plan to go to university and hopefully get a degree in politics, work for the government and change things in this country for the better.

I have been living independently since the age of 17. However, Debbie lives just around the corner, so I go around for tea often and we also keep each other up to date via texts. I still have pictures of all of us together – Debbie, her daughter and the dog – on our days out and it always makes me smile just to look through them.

During my time in care I encountered different social carers and professionals, some of them better than others. However, my TACT social worker and leaving care worker were really good people. TACT supported me a lot, for example when I was 16 years old, I decided I want to go volunteering to Africa, but I needed a financial support to be able to do that. TACT helped me fundraise money to fly me over to Ghana and volunteer in local schools for two weeks. I have always been interested in helping people and this was truly an amazing experience.

There is an urgent need for more foster carers so if you are willing to give a child or a young person like me a chance, get in touch with TACT. And if you are ever struggling with your children, I would advise you to speak to other foster carers about how they’ve dealt with issues. I don’t know how Debbie does it, but she seems to understand us all.