Help with move from foster care to independence in Rotherham
A university student who used to be in foster care is aiming to change the way young vulnerable people leave the care system.
As part of National Care Leavers’ Week, Paislie Garner, aged 20, has worked with Rotherham Council who have opened a specialist “home from home” in the centre of the town where care leavers can meet each other, make friends, hang out and even do their washing.
But most importantly they will be able to experience a feeling of belonging to a wider “family” community.
Paislie has described how when she was 18 she had to leave her foster carer behind and how lonely it was coping on her own as she embarked on her university career. For most teenagers setting off to university is one of the most exciting times and a huge part of this excitement is living away from their parents for the first time.
A few weeks into term when the excitement dies down however, many limp home to mum and dad carrying their washing with them as they seek some home comforts and cuddles. But for Paislie this was never an option. Instead university holidays and weekends are all spent on her own in halls of residence at Birmingham University, where she is studying for a degree in Media and Communications.
“Don’t get me wrong,” said Paislie, “I am so grateful for all the love and support I got from my foster carer who has been much more of a parent to me than my own parents ever were. If it weren’t for them I would never have been able to settle down and do well at school and now be at university. I owe them so much and we do still keep in touch.
“But when you turn 18 the law says you are now an adult and you no longer need a foster family to help and guide you.”
Deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council, Coun Gordon Watson, said: “Those at Rotherham Council are working closely with partner agencies including health, education and accommodation providers to make the transition from the care system into adulthood as smooth as it can be.”