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Middlesbrough care leaver shares his story for Care Leavers Week

Care leaver, Josh, is speaking up about his experiences of growing up in foster care as part of National Care Leavers’ Week, which runs from Monday 26th October – Sunday 1st November.

Josh, lives with two of our foster carers, Gordon and Marylin, and his younger sister is also fostered by the family. Having spent more than 11 years in the care system, Josh is sharing his personal experience of being fostered in the hope that it might encourage others to open their homes to a child or young person in need.

Josh, who turned 18 in July, has been living with his foster family since he was eight. Although legally allowed leave the care system and live independently now he is 18, Josh and his foster carers decided that he’d stay with them until the age of 21.

Speaking about his time in care, Josh said: “No one wants to have to go into care, all I’ve ever wanted is to be considered normal and have a normal life. Throughout school and growing up, people would naturally treat me differently because they know I’m in care. G and Maz (Gordon and Marilyn) have never done that, they’ve taught me what it means to have a kind family and have been there to support me every step of the way. I didn’t always get on that well at school, but I wasn’t punished for it, they’ve just helped me work out what’s best for me. Now I’m studying something I enjoy and I can work hard at it, I never thought I’d end up going to university but that’s now the plan.”

Currently in his second year of a Media and Game Design BTEC, Josh already has his sights set on studying Game Design at  university next year. Josh said: “I’m really lucky that I’m able to stay with G and Maz for a few more years as I don’t feel I’m quite ready to live independently yet. Because I want to go to university close by next year, I can stay here and hopefully get a part time job and save up so that I can put a deposit down a small house. It sounds quite mature for someone of my age, but I have to be thinking ahead to what I want to do come 21 as it will be up to me to stand on my own two feet.”

For more information on foster care, contact Five Rivers Child Care on 0345 266 0272 or

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