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From care leaver to fostering social worker – here’s her story

Middle aged woman

Photo of model by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

Lynda*  spent a childhood in care following the loss of both parents. Now a team manager with us at Five Rivers, she is joining the call for more people to step forward to become foster carers.

Lynda was the youngest of six siblings, born to older parents. When she was three years old, her mother passed away from cancer. Tragedy struck the family six months later when her father also succumbed to the disease. By this time, three of Lynda’s siblings were old enough to look after themselves but not yet suitable guardians for Lynda and her older brother and sister.

Lynda’s brother and sister were sent to a children’s home while Lynda was rehomed with a temporary foster family while an adoption process was started.  However, Lynda struggled living away from her siblings and after a year she joined her two other siblings at the children’s home.

On remembering her move to the children’s home, Lynda said:

“I’m not quite sure how long I lived in the children’s home, but I really did enjoy my time there. The staff were strict but loving and ensured we were cared for and had everything we needed. I have vivid memories of the playroom and the treat boxes that were kept in the kitchen – we were allowed something from our tin at 6 pm.”

Eventually, the three siblings were placed with foster carers in Bristol; they already had two children of their own but enough spare rooms to cater for their growing family. Lynda spent 13 years in this long-term foster placement.

When the foster carers moved away, Lynda made the decision to remain in Bristol and enrol at a college where she studied to become a nursery nurse. As a ‘care leaver’ Lynda lodged with a family and received a grant from the Prince’s Trust on a weekly basis to pay her rent. On gaining her NNEB qualification, Lynda worked full time as a nanny and later as a childminder.

Lynda is mum to three adult children, two girls and a boy, and more recently has become a grandparent.

Lynda continues:

“From talking to my brother, who shares vivid memories of living at home, it is clear my birth family struggled to provide all that we needed. I am very aware that living in a long-term foster placement has provided me with the ‘secure base’ and opportunities I may have otherwise missed out on.”

Lynda’s childhood experiences inspired her to change her career and pursue social work so she could help vulnerable youngsters just like her and her siblings. Lynda embarked on an Access to Social Work course before completing a three-year degree in social work, which she completed in 2009. Now Lynda is a team manager, following a recent promotion from supervising social worker, with us at Five Rivers Child Care where she works with foster carers and those going through the rigorous foster care assessment process.

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 0345 266 0272 or [email protected]

*Name has been changed

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