The role of the foster carer is awe inspiring. A significant factor in their role is in caring for a child and ensuring they feel a genuine sense of belonging and acceptance, yet also being ready to let go of the child when the time is right. That right time may not always feel right and may not always actually be right...it may be influenced by limited access to resources, or an unwelcome change in the child's circumstance. If fortunate, the right time will be when the child is ready to move on; When they are ready to leave behind the part of their lives that has served them thus far; When they are ready to move on to develop the skills needed to make a potential future life change.
The story of Tony, who is the teenager with autism profiled in a recent BBC4 programme, epitomised this perfectly. It is inevitably difficult for most parents or care givers to say goodbye to the life they shared with their child, especially when that life has been as colourful and multi dimensional as the one that I imagine Tony shared with his family. The overriding factor must have to be what is in the best interests of the child, as Tony's mum recognised, as she dropped him off to his new home in a small, residential provision. Fighting back tears and offering watery smiles, she proclaimed how happy she was for her son to be starting 'a new phase in his life' and as she poignantly and honestly added, 'and so are we'. Bravo.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01lyczl for a link to the programme and bbc.co.uk/actionline for more information
Strategic Development Executive