Date: 26th October 2017
TACT Care Leaver
My name is Natasha, I am 18 years old and I am currently living in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire. I am originally from Merseyside but moved to Skelmersdale when I was seven with my sister Brianey, who was four, to live with our TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust) foster parents.
Fortunately for my sister and I, moving in with foster carers Sandra and John was an instant success and we have remained with them now for 11 years. Living with the same carers for so long has given me the best life possible as I know I am properly part of the family. I have become an auntie to Sandra and John’s grandchildren – two girls and two boys, and I have been a bridesmaid for my older foster sister Stacey. I treasure so many amazing memories with my foster family, for example from our holidays in Disneyland for New Year’s Eve.
When I first came into foster care I couldn’t read as I hardly went to school. Luckily Sandra and John helped me, ensuring that I went to school every day. They also taught me how to tell the time and even ride a bike. They have taught me all my life skills and really set me up for adult life.
Being in foster care enabled me to work hard at school, leading me to be in top sets by the time I hit year 11. I worked very hard for my GCSEs and Sandra helped me revise, resulting in 11 GCSEs. I was offered a place at West Lancashire college where I studied Health and Social Care level 3 BTEC. I applied for three universities, for which I had to write a personal statement with the help of Stacey as she is a qualified midwife. My other foster sister Hayley helped me revise for the math test as she is a teacher. Finally, Sandra and Stacey helped me prepare for my interviews. I am now in my first year at John Moores University where I am studying paediatric nursing. I am really enjoying it and about to start my first work experience placement.
When I turned 18 I had the option to move into my own flat, but I decided to stay with my foster family as I felt that was the best decision for me. In addition, I have a leaving care worker Rachel who is there for me if I have any problems. It is good to know there will be support for me until I am 25 if I need it, but hopefully, I will be a paediatric nurse by then.
My advice to young people in care is to appreciate their foster parents because they are doing everything they can to help. Also, make the most of every good opportunity you come across as dreams can come true, I am proof of that. Before I was fostered through TACT, I could barely read and I didn’t think I would ever pass my GCSEs, and now I am at university. I think more people should consider fostering as it must be very rewarding knowing you have helped a vulnerable young person and turned their life around.