Sixteen years ago, Nina decided to apply to become a foster carer with Ealing Council. Since then she has fostered girls and young women aged 14 and over: Eight teenagers, six mothers with babies and numerous respite placements.
Nina, who lives in Acton, said: “As a single parent with two young daughters, I felt I had the capacity to work with young people. A friend suggested I give fostering a go, so after some thought I decided to apply with Ealing.
“Like many, before I started fostering I had my misconceptions about children in care – too many issues, sleepless nights and police knocking on the door. Since becoming a foster carer, I realise society often sticks labels on foster children as being problematic. My views have since changed. Foster children – like my own children – require love, stability and a chance to prove themselves.
“I get asked all the time, ‘how do you deal with teenagers?’ Everyone experiences difficulty during their teenage years, coping with puberty, moving into high school and dealing with peer pressure. Although teenagers’ behaviour can be challenging at times, this task can be made less stressful if carers have the right support. I’ve found Ealing’s ongoing support and training has been great in assisting me in my role as a foster carer.
“For someone considering fostering teenagers, I would advise them to go in with an open mind and an open heart. It’s a journey with many twists and turns, but ultimately the joy of seeing a young person develop in life is the greatest reward in this job.”