At Brighter Futures for Children IFA we try to match children who need looking after with foster carers of a similar cultural heritage to them. This may not always be possible but we are proud that we have a diverse team of foster carers in Reading.

Foster carer Belinda was born in Britain and her family hail from Jamaica. She has looked after black African, dual black Caribbean and white British children in her time.

Belinda believes it is important children are matched with foster families of the same ethnicity or religion where possible as they can form a greater attachment.

She says:

‘As a carer, I may have more understanding of their cultural heritage and I can emphasise more on what struggles they might have in life with regards to their race. However, that doesn’t mean transracial foster families won’t work as the key priority is that the child’s needs for things like a warm, safe home are being met.’

Belinda has been brilliant at cooking African foods with one of the children she looked after, so they could eat what their own family may have cooked at home for her. She also shares her own traditional foods with them and introduces them to her music and dancing too.

Belinda became a foster carer because her own mother left when she was young and she was brought up by her father. She wanted to give something back and share her experiences. It’s important that she can give a child the chance of a healthier, happier future. She started fostering when her youngest daughter became an adult.

And it’s Belinda’s family that provide her with a much-needed support network. Belinda is single and relies on her amazing and supportive family to give her encouraging words for when things may sometimes get overwhelming. She says:

‘My family have become even more empathetic, caring and understanding through my being a foster carer. They are all role models for the children that I look after.’

As well as her family, Belinda knows that Brighter Futures for Children’s IFA is always there for her.

‘They are friendly and always there for me when I need them. I get a lot of support from my supervising social worker and the team there.’

For all those out there who are thinking of fostering, Belinda explains,

‘If you have good parenting skills, and you would like to spend your time making a child’s life better and help them to feel safe and nurtured, then definitely become a foster carer. One of my best experiences of being a foster carer was seeing a child I looked after gain a really good school ethic and become more confident from being part of my family. It’s great.’