A foster carer’s thoughts on cultural identity

A full-time foster carer from Birmingham, Devine began fostering with Five Rivers in July when her first placement, 14-year-old Ayanna*, joined her large family. As part of Black History Month (Monday 1 October – Wednesday 31 October), Devine shared what the awareness month means to her and how important it is to nurture a foster child’s sense of cultural pride, identity and sense of belonging.

Devine, 35, decided to foster after many of her childhood friends had been in care. This meant she saw first-hand how the love of a committed foster carer can turn a child’s life around. Devine is already seeing the positive impact joining her large family has had on Ayanna*. Devine said ‘‘We are such a large family – cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents – we often have three generations sat around our table. We enjoy eating traditional food together and cherish our family traditions and routines. Ayanna* fits right in and it’s been a joy to watch her become a part of our proud and loving family.’’

She continued, ‘‘Many of Ayanna’s* friends are from a different background and culture to hers, she was missing a figure in her life to nurture her awareness of her black culture and where she originates. It’s important for black children to understand their value and the achievements of other black people, to help them develop confidence and aspire to achieve against the odds.

Ayanna was surrounded by information that was not relevant. It’s the everyday things that make the biggest difference. Before, Ayanna wasn’t being shown how to take care of her naturally curly black hair. The way the hair had been managed had left it so damaged that it was harming her self-esteem. I want to develop her confidence, a sense of her identity as a black girl and awareness of our culture. She now understands her beauty as a black girl and has pride in who she is.’’

Devine believes that Black History Month is a time to remember important people and events, but even more importantly, it reminds us that we should feel proud of our culture every day.

If you would like to know more about how you can help a child in need, or the personal and career benefits of fostering or would just like an informal chat with our team you can reach us on 01527 834653 or [email protected]

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