Jamie is a friendly, active seven year old boy who was in foster care for over two years before moving to Arran Villa. Sadly his birth mother was unable to look after him due to severe addictions and mental health issues which affected her ability to provide Jamie with the care he needed. From a difficult past, Jamie has overcome significant obstacles and is now settling well with a foster family.
When Jamie initially moved to foster care, he found the adjustment very difficult. He was in three foster placements, all of which were disrupted due to the challenges his behaviour presented to his carers. At times, Jamie would speak of feeling sad and hating his life. He tried to hurt both himself and those around him, which his foster carers found very upsetting and hard to manage. They did not feel they could continue to care for Jamie due to the level of support and supervision he required.
Jamie’s social worker believed it was in his best interest to spend some time at Arran Villa – a care home for children and young people. The staff care team at Arran Villa were available to support Jamie 24 hours a day. At that time there were four other children at Arran Villa aged between five-12 years old who also came from challenging backgrounds like Jamie.
Children at Arran Villa have dedicated support workers who work alongside the children to set, and help them achieve their goals, whilst overcoming challenges. For Jamie, this meant learning to live with others and trying to understand and manage his feelings about his birth family.
Jamie was introduced to respite foster carers who worked closely with Arran Villa staff. They had a role in assessing how he could be managed within a family again. Jamie spent two nights a week at the respite carer’s home and was very positive about this experience. Jamie’s social worker met with him and the care staff regularly, and was very encouraged by the positive feedback. Whilst Jamie continued to express confusion about his past, he seemed more settled generally. He interacted better with the other
children in Arran Villa although he said he did not want to live with them anymore. Instead, Jamie wanted to live with a family, join a football club and have his own friends and a large bedroom full of toys.
Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service, along with Jamie’s social worker, identified foster carers that were suitable to care for Jamie. The carers, Janet and Ken, were both in their mid-50’s with two adult children who lived outwith the family home. Janet worked full-time as a teacher, whilst Ken gave up his job as a chef in a local restaurant to become a full-time foster carer. After a period of introductions and visits Jamie moved to his new foster placement.
Janet and Ken both say that fostering Jamie has been a rocky journey but also very rewarding. They talk about their satisfaction when Jamie achieves what might seem like small things such as the first time he slept through the night, or when he learned to ride his bike without stabilisers. They acknowledge that whilst they are still getting to know Jamie, they have taken great pleasure from seeing his personality and sense of humour emerge. Although they know that there will be challenges ahead in fostering, they feel happy about the level of support they receive from staff and other carers.