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Christine, 16
Dallas, Texas

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I had a good experience in foster care. I had two sets of carers over a year, both of whom cared very deeply for me. Did social services always get it right? No. Neither did my foster parents. I had a good childhood. 

A foster carer should know the boundaries between being a foster parent and a biological/adoptive parent. Neither sets of care givers stayed within those boundaries, and it becomes extremely difficult for the person in care. I care about my foster parents deeply, but no one can replace my parents no matter how awful they were. 

Matti, 17
San Antonio

I remembered sharing a room with other children. In my first family there were only four of us, but with my second family there were seven children and it was never very personal or intimate.

I felt like a leftover and like a piece of crap that was being carried around from family to family. I would have appreciated more dialogue and discussions, and explanations about what was happening. I learned a lot of bad things from the kids who were living in the same family (some were from violent backgrounds and sometimes I was scared so I locked my bedroom door at night). 

Ellie, 12
Corpus Christi, Texas

I lost both my parents at the age of 8 and found myself in foster care. The local authority had, and still have, a shortage of people willing to foster and I found myself moving away from the city where I grew up. This meant I lost my community, my school and also the friends I had known since nursery. Education was a particularly difficult issue as I enrolled in a school where everyone already knew one another and it was difficult to make new friends. 

Brooke, 14
Fort Worth, Texas

My experience of being in foster care was good in 2009. My sister and I were fostered by a loving and caring family. I was four and she was six at the time. We do have two other brothers who were sent to two different foster carers, but we got to see them every now and then. My sister and I were in care with our family for 10 years, and we regard them as our family and love them very much.

The most valuable thing I learned from my experience is that you should never give up on a child, even if they upset you. They just need the time, love, support and energy to get them on track. I did a lot of stupid things as a youngster but my foster mom never gave up on me. 

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