Friday, 25 March 2011

Somebody Else's Child: Privately fostered, two years on...

When Keelie was 15 a series of arguments with her parents led her to leave home and move in with her best friend and become privately fostered. A few days turned into weeks, then months. Fortunately her best friend’s father called their local authority and a private fostering social worker was assigned to make sure everyone in the new arrangement was happy.

When I lived with my parents, we would clash an awful lot. Especially me and my mother—everybody says it’s because we’re so alike, but I’m not so sure about that! My parents were very strict, and when you’re 14 or 15 you feel like the world can’t touch you and nobody can tell you what to do. I didn’t talk to anyone about the problems we were having because I was too embarrassed, and when my friends were out doing things I sometimes had to lie to them or make excuses about not being able to go because I wasn’t allowed off our street.

After one really bad argument, my best friend Vickie invited me to stay at her house for a few days. A few days passed and I still really didn’t want to go back home. It seemed like such a bizarre suggestion at the time, but Vickie asked me if I’d like to move in with her permanently. So, Vickie asked Steve—her Dad—and he agreed, just as long as we all went through the proper procedure. I always got on really well with him, but it was still strange that he just said “yeah, you can move in”!

Steve officially became my private foster carer and we got a social worker to help us. I was a little worried about the social worker getting involved at first. I thought they were going to be really nosy and expected them to be knocking on the door every three minutes, but they were really helpful. They would check up on us every six weeks, and every time they visited they would take me to one side and ask if there was anything I’d like to talk about in private. That was really reassuring because I always knew if there was something I wasn’t completely happy about I could always let them know.

My relationship with my mum and step-dad has improved so much since I moved out: now I’m always so happy to see them. I still really miss my sister though.

My relationship with Vickie has definitely changed, but we’re closer than ever in a lot of ways. We were always best friends and always got on really well, but now I’ve learnt so much about her that I didn’t know before. Sure, we sometimes fight, but eventually we’ll laugh and make up. We’ve built a very strong relationship - she’s like my sister now, she even tells everybody we are.

If you know of a child who is being cared for by someone who isn’t a direct relative for more than 28 days, please let your local authority know. For more information visit our

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