Celebrating Success at our Foster Carer Conference

By Lorraine Kubski

On 31st October 2017, Care Visions Fostering Scotland had the privilege of hosting our 4th annual Foster Carer Conference at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. We welcomed 41 of our fostering families to enjoy a day of ‘celebrating success’ for our children and young people.

The day got off to an incredible start thanks to Karyn McCluskey (Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland) who spoke passionately to our carers about the need to stand between looked-after children, and the adversity they have experienced. Karyn is an inspiring and passionate advocate for change, and spreads her message that investing in our children today can prevent the cycle of trauma and abuse repeating for future generations. It was a wonderful way to begin the conference.

This was then followed by workshops on ‘internet safety’ and ‘child sexual exploitation’, led by experienced practitioners in their fields. The workshops helped foster carers to understand the measures they can put in place to protect children and made the day both practical and inspiring.

Conferences like this confirm my personal and professional belief that Care Visions values the contribution of all our foster carers and supporting teams. We function as a community, with a shared value base where children come first and the commitment for all of us is to improve their lives.

These events bring us together, an opportunity to meet new people and catch up with those we share this journey with. It is also a wonderful way to appreciate the day-to-day differences carers make for our children. On the day, this was illustrated in the most powerful and moving way, by a collection of quotes and pictures shared by our carers of the children’s progress and achievements over the past year.

You could have heard a pin drop as we heard stories about children learning to ride their bike, a child with disabilities who has mastered the art of tying the laces on her trainers, and one child who has a history of non-school attendance – currently achieving 100%. Another child had started to enjoy being part of a family for the first time, and learning to trust adults.

For us, this is a beautiful tribute to the dedication, hard work, and stick-with-it-ness of their foster carers; many of whom have waited a long time to see the children move from a place of trauma and chaos, to flourishing hope.

It is an absolute privilege to work with foster carers who, despite the challenges, keep going. Their perseverance and tenacity to reach those children whose journeys have been characterised by trauma, are truly inspiring. I am always so humbled when I hear carers make comments like “It’s just what I do”.

Foster carers are heroes, for the children of today and tomorrow.