Various informative events are being held online in the coming weeks and months (credit: Havering Council)
There are still children who rely on support from foster carers during the coronavirus lockdown and the council is recruiting more now than ever before.
Andy Clark, 59, from Upminster, has been a foster carer for 15 years and says he has helped children tackle a variety of issues such as drug abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome and neglect.
“One thing that sticks in my mind over all of the years is how devastating an effect drink and drugs can have on children when parents unfortunately take those during pregnancy,” Andy Said.
“We had one little girl that had mixed personality disorder as young as eight-years-old which was due to cannabis abuse during pregnancy. It’s frightening to think a little girl of that age could experience voices in her head.”
He told Time 107.5 it can take time to build trust with children who have been betrayed by those closest to them.
“You engage with whatever counselling or therapy is available, play therapy is quite popular within the Havering cams network,” added Andy.
“But very often it’s really about trying to heal those emotional wounds just with time, patience and love by listening and understanding.”
Although the role can be challenging, Andy said it is also extremely rewarding.
“Seeing a child, that really everyone in society is looking at and saying ‘well really they have no hope’, yet you can make a difference over a year, two years or more,” he explained.
“A lot of carers are taking on children long term, until they are 18 and beyond. To actually see those children go on and achieve and have families of their own is fantastic.”
A foster carer called Alison will be working with Havering Council to host a virtual coffee morning at 10.30am today.
“She’s got first hand experience and has a wonderful manner in terms of engaging with members of the public and talking about what fostering is all about, the benefits as well as some of the challenges,” said Head of Care Resources, Tendai Dooley.
“Most of our carers are really adept at adjusting the way they parent to make sure every child they have is helped to feel safe, is helped to settle and is helped to start enjoying childhood.”
You can register to take part here.
A Facebook Live event will also take place at 10.30 on Friday, 22 May for people to meet foster carers and the fostering team.
You can find out more here.
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