Spurred on to foster
Now more than ever foster carers are desperately needed in Haringey to provide a warm, loving and nurturing home for children and young people in care.
Janet has been a foster carer in Haringey for six years and currently looks after Farouk, who is also part of Tottenham Hotspur’s To Care is To Do programme.
To Care Is To Do is designed to engage and inspire looked after children and care leavers within the local community, and sees Tottenham Hotspur's Foundation provide a range of support services to help improve educational attainment, increase employability, develop life skills and promote healthy and active lifestyles
Janet has been Farouk’s foster carer for five years and during this time she has seen such a positive change as he has grown up, and with the help of the programme, she has seen his confidence blossom.
Janet told us:
“I have been Farouk’s foster parent since he was 12, I have been his foster parent for five years now. He was so little when I first met him.”
Janet’s interest in becoming a foster carer started when she was a child. “My parents used to be foster carers and ever since it has been an interest to me. I always said that when my daughter grows up and she has moved out, then I would give it a try. I used to help my parents with the children they fostered, as my daughter was young so we would do things together.”
Janet said: “I heard about the programme through Haringey Council. Since Farouk has been on the programme, Spurs has played a big part in Farouk’s development, it has definitely helped to boost his confidence. He even got a job at Spurs as a steward.”
“I would have never expected a football team to be delivering this type of project, but I think it is a very excellent idea. Especially for both boys and girls that follow the football team.”
Here at Haringey we always make sure our foster carers and children have the support they need. “My experience fostering through Haringey council has been quite good. The support from my social worker has been good. Farouk knows that he has to be at home by a certain time and he has never been in trouble with the police. So, with that, I haven’t felt the need to call my social worker to tell them I can’t cope or need help, I just get on with it, we have built an understanding between us. However, I know that my social worker is always there for me.”
Working as a foster carer, Janet has learnt that every child comes with their different needs. For anyone interested in becoming a foster carer, Janet had this advice: “I would tell them it is a very good experience, and they have to realise that they need to have a good heart and to be able to gain a child’s trust, that is the main thing. You also need to be very supportive and a good listener to the child.”
Janet is very proud of Farouk’s progress with Spurs, especially after his story was highlighted on the club’s website and through social media. His experience at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham has also been good. He is doing well there and plans to go on to Oxford University.
“I am very proud of him, they have given him so much encouragement and I think it was really excellent. It has made him feel like he is doing something great and people are looking at it. It made him feel good, he was so proud of it. He even sent it to me on WhatsApp and I was amazed, it looked so good, like he was experienced at that sort of thing.
When Farouk hosted the award ceremony, he was really good, he was speaking so clear and I could see his shyness slowly disappearing. He is getting the ability to talk to a big crowd, and I thought that was great and it’s just improving even more. I even sent a copy of the video to his mum and she was really proud and happy of him. I’m going to try and put it on a DVD so he can always have it, so when he reaches his twenties and thirties he can look back over it and think “yeah look at me” and see how far he has come. He has potential and he is going places. He knows what he wants, he just has to go for it.
I have never been hard on him, I just made sure he done his work. Farouk once said to me “I know you moaned at me but I’m glad you did, because I could have easily slipped”. Which is true because all of his friends wanted to be out late at night. I was making sure he was going to school and he said that he really does appreciate it now because he got ten straight A’s. He done very well at school and he tells me that I did a good with him. The social workers have also praised me saying that I have done a really good job with him, I made sure that he sat down and did his work.”
For anyone interested in joining the To Care is To Do programme, Janet had this advice: “I would tell everyone it’s a very good idea and as with Farouk, he didn’t want to do it at first, I encouraged him to go and try it, you won’t know until you try. He tried it and he loved it. I would encourage anyone to go and have a taster day and try it, then they can see what it is about and what it has to offer. There were other kids there that he met through other things he has done and through the care system, so he was meeting people he could relate to as they had similar backgrounds.”
Janet’s story is only one out of the many foster carers that have come through Haringey and have signed up their foster child to the To Care is To Do programme.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer through Haringey please fill out our online form.
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