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This #FosterCareFortnight we’re sharing Hannah’s story – an inspirational care leaver whose foster carers helped her become the person she is today

As part of Foster Care Fortnight, an annual campaign that raises the profile of fostering which runs from Monday 9th – Sunday 22nd May, 18-year-old Hannah Bradley who grew up in care and is studying in Leeds to become a social worker, is sharing how her experiences have motivated her to help other children like her.

 

 

Hannah went into foster care at the age of 10. She grew up with her biological parents until a series of difficult circumstances led Hannah into care where she lived with a number of foster families. Shortly after Hannah’s 13th birthday, she started living with Jean and Hossein Sheneva, who foster with Five Rivers Child Care, and who made a huge impact and changed her life for the better.

 

Hannah said: “I was with Jean and Hossein for over 3 years until I left care, and having the security of being with one family for that amount of time really gave me the stability and support I needed at that time in my life. I was treated like I was part of their family. I’m still really close with the couple now, even after leaving their care. They made a huge difference to my life, and I don’t know if I would be in the position I am today without their support. They helped me persevere at school and encouraged me to follow my goal of becoming a social worker, even helping me with my uni application.”

 

Having made such a positive impact on her life, Hannah has her foster parents, Jean and Hossein, to thank for encouraging her to give back and take the plunge and become a social worker, drawing on her experiences of being in care.

 

She said: “Social work has always been something I’ve been interested in because of the number of people I came across during my time in care. I was placed with so many different social workers over the years and some of them really went above and beyond to help me succeed. As a foster kid, you naturally have some mistrust towards people despite them wanting to help you, and it’s the job of good social worker to break down these emotional barriers and show you that genuine support does exist. It was during my time with Jean and Hossein where I met my social worker, someone I’m still in touch with today, who inspired me to follow in the same career path because of the round-the-clock support she provided me when I needed it most.

 

“And because of this, I now want to be that person for other children and young people in care who need that support. I want to share real insight and ideas on how to improve social care practice from my lived experiences because all I want to do is have an impact on the lives of children for the better.”

 

Hannah is currently studying Working with Children, Young People and Families at Leeds Beckett University, which she hopes to follow with a Masters degree to enable her to become a social worker.

 

Alongside her degree, Hannah also dedicates her time to sharing her experiences of growing up in care with those training to become foster carers in our ‘Skills to Foster’ training – the same training Jean and Hossein did prior to fostering.

Speaking about this, Hannah said: “I’ve always been open about my time in care, as I think anything I can do to share my own experiences can only inform others who are looking to try and help youngsters in need. The more people who want to help those in care the better, and I’m proud that I can have an active and important role in the future of fostering.”

 

Adding to her successes, last year, Hannah was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award at The Fostering Network’s Fostering Excellence Awards, the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards. This award celebrates the achievements of a young person who has succeeded against the odds on their journey through foster care.

 

We are holding virtual information events on Tuesday, 17 May at 7pm and Tuesday, 7 June at 6pm for people who are interested in learning more about becoming foster carers.

To register, visit: https://bit.ly/37yzISi

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