My time in care: care leavers share their experiences

Tuesday 02 February 2021

The number of young people in foster care has steadily increased in the last few years. When thinking about these alarming numbers, it’s important to also reflect on what this means for those in care

Most of us can’t imagine the overwhelming experience of moving into care. Life is turned upside down and there is so much to process. At Action for Children, we want to make this transition more comfortable for young people.

We’ve launched a month-long Instagram campaign called My time in care specifically designed for young people who are moving into or already living in foster care. Each day, care leavers will explain a different aspect about being in care and share their own stories and advice.

As part of our campaign, we spoke to Connor, one of our care leavers, about his foster care journey and how it’s impacted his life.

How old were you when you started in foster care?

About five or six and I stayed in foster care until I was 16. Then I returned to one of my birth parents, but that broke down. So, I went back into care. After this, I went into a Staying Put arrangement until May last year.

How did you feel when you moved into your first placement?

I was in school, and my sister and I got picked up by a police car. And I think we were taken to a family centre, to say our goodbyes to our mum. Then we were taken to our new home. And I just remember going in, not knowing what was what, or what was happening. I didn't know what to think. It was a bit of mixed emotions, to be honest.

I don't think I ever really settled in any home. I guess I adjusted to make it work.

What would you say to a young person in care to help them adapt and adjust?

I guess I would say that things take time. And the foster carers, or workers if you're in a residential, should understand that. Do whatever you need to do. Whether that’s shutting yourself away for a couple of days, or, if you are wanting to talk, they should be there to talk to you as well.

In what ways you would say you’ve developed and changed as a person because of your experience?

I guess I can see things from different perspectives. I've got a good understanding of different types of people and how people work. I’m able to speak up and stand up for myself because of my experiences. 

If you’re interested in hearing more about Connor’s journey, and stories of other care leavers follow the My time in care campaign on Instagram.