I was lucky to grow up in a home that was safe, secure and loving. I had a brother, John, and a sister, Claire to play with and a lot of freedom to roam and explore. We would run around outside, playing with our football and just be kids. Growing up in Gloucestershire in the sixties, we didn't have a lot of money but the house was full of laughter and noise and our parents always gave us lots of love and support.
We moved several times when I was a child. It always meant starting afresh - starting a new school, getting used to a new house and of course making new friends. It's safe to say that moving home was never my favourite thing. The average family in the UK only moves eight times in their lifetime but this upheaval is nothing compared to what too many children in care face.
I was deeply concerned when Action for Children found that one in four foster children in the UK have moved twice or more in one year. That's over 15,000 children who don't get the chance to set down roots and who constantly have to start again to make new friends.
We know of children as young as four who have had to move three times in a year before finding a stable family home. I can only imagine how hard it must be trying to deal with so many moves at such a young age.
For those who are already vulnerable, constant moving can be both very daunting and distressing. It means trying to deal with the fear that they might be rejected, making it hard to form relationships. After all, what is the point of finding friends if they think they'll be moved on? It also means getting used to a new home, people and schools. All this can affect mental and physical health, as well as exacerbate any behavioural issues.
I know that there are many reasons why a child in care needs to move - they experience some of the worst things in life, meaning that they may need several moves before they find a suitable foster carer who can meet their specific needs.
At Action for Children, we have a high success rate in providing stable foster homes in the UK. In Wales alone more than 80% of the children and young people in our care have thrived with stable foster carers for over two years.
This is what our 'Stickability' campaign is all about - highlighting the importance of providing stable and loving foster homes to vulnerable young people and the positive impact that this has on children in care.
The keys to our success are our amazing foster carers. They do a fantastic job providing the love, care and support needed by children and young people who have too often had a very tough life. The stability those foster carers provide can make a huge difference to the futures of the children they support, in so many ways: in education, health, career, family life.
We urgently need more foster carers. We need people who are resilient, calm and understanding. Whatever your marital status, sexuality, religious beliefs, whether you rent or own your home, if you have a spare bedroom, you can be a foster carer. Have you got what it takes to make a difference? If so, you can visit our website or contact our fostering team on 0845 200 5162. We promise to provide you with all the support you need, whenever you need it.
You can support our 'Stickability' campaign by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
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