Children in care: isolated but not forgotten
The last year has been tough. Restrictions have made it hard for young people to get help, especially those in care who became more isolated in lockdown. Our services work closely with them so they don't lose hope. Karen coaches children in care and has not given up on them during the pandemic.
A people person
David is a teen living in residential care. He used to have problems coping with anger and concentrating at school. But Karen has helped him work through it and they are now looking for a foster carer.
‘Since I’ve been working with David, his aggression, what he’s doing at school, his attendance have all improved.’
But Karen is worried he might go back to bad habits while he can't see people face-to-face. And this could damage his chances of being fostered.
‘I saw him before Christmas and that went really well. But since then, I haven’t been able to go and see him in person. We did a games session virtually and a three-hour baking marathon.’
‘He’s only in school two days a week. He’s missing the face-to-face interaction with people.’
He’s a lively chatty person.
‘I’m now in the process of doing a risk assessment to see if I can take my dogs, because he loves dogs and go walking with him. He thrives on the interaction and he is doing so well in so many other things that I really hope I can go and see him.’
Focusing on the positives
In their sessions, Karen finds fun activities to help David learn to relax. They keep him focused. He finds it easier to stay calm. She concentrates on the things he is good at.
‘I sent him a care package a couple of weeks ago...He said you really didn’t have to do that, and I said well, but I wanted to, I want you to know that I’m thinking of you, even though I can’t see you. And he was just so grateful. I think he sees that I see him as a person’
I’ve worked with what I think are his strengths
Doing the dishes
‘We did a bake off. We made dog biscuits and a cake. He had to read out the instructions and so we worked on it like that.’
‘Whilst the things were cooking, he was in his kitchen and I was in mine and we had long discussions. We talked about how he had never had focus and dreams before. Well now he does. That’s a big improvement.’
‘The virtual baking, the fact that we were on screen for three hours I think he did amazingly. I said I'm just going across the kitchen to wash up and he said yeah, I’ll go wash up as well, and we carried on talking. It worked really well.’
Reason to smile
The progress David is making is a reason to smile. He has Karen looking out for him. She makes the extra effort. She gets him and he gets her.
A big part of our work is about giving young people hope
‘Everything I do is connecting with him as a person. I joke and jest with him, we make it fun. Those seemingly little things are hugely important, and I’ve done it with all my young people, the whole of this lockdown.’
‘I’ve sent them out care packages, whether it’s a few bars of chocolate, a magazine, a puzzle book or an A4 pad and some pens. They’re really simple things to you and I, but they’re really big to the young person.’
‘It gives them a chance to be listened to and to feel like they have a prospect in their lives moving forward. That changes can happen.’
Children in care were already an isolated group but the pandemic made them even more isolated.
We let them know we're thinking of them. Whether it's a phone call, a gift, or just a text to check how they are. We help them find the strength to overcome their difficulties.
Join us as we fight for their hope, their ambitions, and their whole generation.