Messages on tenth birthday cards sent to Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service have revealed just how much its carers have helped young people. The Intensive Fostering Service (IFS) was launched ten years ago by Kibble Education and Care Centre, in Paisley as an alternative to residential care for young people from troubled backgrounds.
Young people who have been looked after and are still being cared for by IFS carers sent tenth birthday cards to the organisation. The message on one card read: “Thank you IFS for helping me through my highs and lows and offering me a great amount of support. I couldn’t ask for a better family and they can’t do enough for me.”
Another card said: “What IFS means to me is that it gave me a great and loving family to stay with. They’ve also turned me on to the right path so I don’t make bad choices. They’ve have turned me into a man and helped me grow up big time.”
And another said: “Cheers for giving me my life back.”
In the past ten years IFS has placed 36 young people, between the ages of five and 18 with 26 fully-trained and approved carers. Some of the young people have gone on to university and complete an Honours Degree in Computing, hold down an apprenticeship and work in social care. Kieran, 17, has been looked after by a Kibble IFS carer for almost seven years. He said:
“Being in foster care has turned my life around and it’s made me more mature and sensible. I had come from a dodgy background and I can’t tell you how many times I got in trouble with the police with under-age drinking, vandalism and doing stupid and daft things. But being in foster care has made me want to stop behaving like that. I want to be a better person and have respect for other people, so they have respect for me.
One of the first carers recruited was 51-year-old Tommy Arthur, from Port Glasgow who says the fostering service has changed the lives of carers just as much as the young people being looked after. He said: “You have to go on a journey with them that often involves supporting them to come to terms with their past abuse and losses in their lives that can be painful for them and painful to watch. You have to give an unconditional commitment that goes beyond liking children.” Tommy added: “However, seeing them come through the other side and flourish in your care makes my career so worthwhile. At the end of the day I know I truly have made a difference to the lives of young people. I have seen them go on to university, start their working lives and have their own families. Fostering has changed my life as much as those of the young people I have cared for.”
Kay Gibson has been IFS operations manager since the service began and she said:
“We have created a community of dedicated professional carers and staff to meet the needs of complex young people in a family environment who were otherwise destined to spend many years in residential care. I am inspired every day by the dedication and commitment of the carers. And I am so proud of the young people who have overcome adversities in their lives.”