A teenager who has been in care from the age of eight is helping to break down awkwardness and barriers when young people first live with new foster carers.
Chloe Geer has created a booklet with Fixers featuring different activities that children and their foster carers can do together to break the ice.
The 17-year-old, who says she has a great relationship with her carers, wants to share her resource in schools to help other cared for children build a happy life.
She says: ‘Foster care hasn’t been the easiest journey, but it got me away from a difficult domestic situation that I was too young to understand at the time.
‘I had to learn to be an adult from a very young age. I looked after my sister and fulfilled many duties which were overwhelming to me at that age, but life changed when I went into care.
‘A lot of people have similar experiences and I want the booklet to benefit other children and young people and help them deal with their emotions. I hope this helps break the ice between foster carers and children, because it can be hard.’
Chloe, who lives in Waterlooville, made the booklet with the help of 21-year-old Joe Weltch, who went into care when he was nine.
It features activities such as a chart asking children to split words into positive and negative categories and a doodling challenge to draw their emotions on to faces.
Chloe, who is studying Health and Social Care at South Downs College, began living with her current carers - Jan and Kevin Turner - when she was 15 and has built up a close relationship with them.
‘I didn’t know what they were like or how I would find living there, so I was nervous at first,’ she says.
‘They spent a lot of one to one time with me, which helped me get to know them better, and they’d talk to me about how I was feeling and take me out at weekends.’
The booklet also includes tips for carers urging them to take time to listen to the foster child and to treat them as a member of the family, essential qualities that Chloe found with her own foster parents.
‘They are amazing and our relationship now is fantastic – we couldn’t be any closer,’ says Chloe.
‘They have always been there for me and are honest, understanding, loyal, loving and give amazing advice and cuddles. I couldn’t be more proud to call them my mum and dad – they have made me the person I am today.’
This project has been supported by The Blagrave Trust.
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