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Harrow Council appeals for new foster carers
Two teenagers who grew up in care and gained places at their dream universities are calling on more people to follow the example their foster parents set.
TK Egenti was offered a place to study law at Cambridge University this year and credits his achievement to the support his foster family gave him.
The 18-year-old was taken into care when he was 11 and has spent the past four years living with a Harrow family.
He said: “Being fostered has been a much better experience than I expected it to be.
“I was very nervous when I first heard I was going into foster care, obviously it is quite scary going to live with strangers.
“To anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer I would tell them its one of the best things you can do. Children going into foster care need stability and support – if you are able to provide that then you will be making a real difference.”
TK was fostered with his older sister and plans to keep in touch with the family who have given him love, care and support over the past four years.
Francesca Elonga, 21, who has been in foster care in Harrow since the age of ten, was offered a place at a drama school in Wandsworth
She admitted she found being in care difficult at first - but was inspired by many of the people she met and is now planning on becoming a foster carer herself.
She said: "My first foster carer was amazing. She was a lovely woman, really caring and gentle. She had a real mother’s touch that I had not experienced before.
"For anybody who has got the right heart, I would say foster caring is an amazing thing to do. I can’t wait until I’m ready to do it myself in the future - I will definitely foster children.
"It has been a huge learning curve for me and I had a pretty positive experience. I learned so much from the people I met. I think there were a lot of people who saw potential in me and didn’t give up on me, for that I think I’ve been lucky, so I’m really grateful."
Harrow Council is looking to increase the number of foster carers who will be able to provide a safe and secure home to children in the borough.
There are 175 Harrow children in care at the moment and the council has 58 fostering households.
Harrow Council's cabinet member for children and schools Cllr Janet Mote said: "TK and Francesca are just two of the hundreds of young people who flourish in foster care and go on to a have a bright, successful future.
"This wouldn’t happen without dedicated and supportive foster carers who take them into their homes. We want more people to come forward to take on this vital and rewarding role and continue providing a bright future for our children."
Foster carers receive a weekly payment, comprehensive and continuous training and ongoing support from social workers.
Each carer has their own dedicated supervising social worker and there are monthly support groups and a network of other carers to offer help and support.
For more information, visit www.harrow.go.uk
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