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Posted On: 3rd Aug 2018

Fostering Love

Madison wants to show the benefits that fostering has on families
Madison spoke to Olympic athlete Fatima Whitbread about fostering
Brenda Farrell, head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo's

'There are a lot of challenges that come with letting someone else into your home, but for me the positives definitely outweigh the negatives with every aspect of fostering.' 

 

A teenager from York wants to challenge negative assumptions about fostering and show the benefits it can have for families. 

 

19-year-old Madison Clarke, who has had foster siblings since she was six, has teamed up with Fixers to get her message across. 

 

Her campaign was broadcast on ITV News Tyne Tees and ITV News Calendar on Thursday, August 9. 

 

She says: 'A lot of people have misconceptions and worry that fostering will have a negative effect on their biological children. A foster family is the same as any other regular family that you will meet.

 

'People believe that foster kids are completely unruly and have all these problems.

 

'A lot of them have gone through really difficult backgrounds, but mostly they want to please and they just want a safe space. I’ve found in my experience that they are better behaved than I am. 

 

'I am an only child and it has predominantly just been me and mum, because my mum is a single mother. So I think learning the skills that you do when you have a sibling, of how to share and take other people’s needs into account, is so important.' 

 

 

Madison's campaign is supported by Brenda Farrell, head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo's. 

 

Brenda says: 'Across the UK at the moment we have the need for 7,000 foster carers to come forward.

 

'When families are considering fostering it’s only natural that they’re concerned about the health and wellbeing of their own children when a new child comes into the home.

 

'I think it’s about giving the family a time to talk that through and look at techniques to find ways to support that child.

 

'Many birth children and foster families will tell us that they’ve really valued having a sibling and they enjoy sharing their lives.' 

 

Madison also met with Olympic athlete Fatima Whitbread, who was fostered by her javelin coach when she was a teenager. 

 

Fatima says: 'She asked me would I like to come and meet the family and have tea with them. I was overjoyed by that. From that point on we all got on well together and she asked me if I would like to be part of that family.

 

'I’ve never looked back. What I craved all my life in children’s homes was a loving family, and I was lucky enough to find, at age 14, the love and security of the Whitbread family.

 

'Between us we conquered the world. We won the world championship, world records. Whether I would have done that on my own in children’s homes, I’m not so sure.' 

 

Madison adds: 'I would love to spread my message and get people interested in fostering. If I could just encourage someone to pick up the phone and call their council, then I would have achieved my goal.' 

 

To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.

 

Author: Molly Kersey

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