Diagrama Foster Carers Peter and Kristin Nevins share their home with four biological children and their 11-year-old foster child ‘Jack’.
Kristin Nevins and her husband Peter, from Surrey, foster with the charity Diagrama. For the last four years they have shared their family home with their foster child ‘Jack’.
Kristin Nevins, Diagrama Foster Carer, said, “ Our foster son ‘Jack’ joined us four years ago. We chose to foster with the charity Diagrama as from the start they understood how important it was that the foster placement would need to fit in with our four children. We have felt well supported with Diagrama, when surprises have arisen, they are able to help us to ask the right questions and think through things realistically considering our whole family. When further professional specialist support was needed our social worker helped us to find it. Because of this we have been able to establish a good working relationship with our social worker that is based on honesty and trust and has allowed for the longevity of our fostering placement.
“We had no preconceived ideas about what age or sex any foster child placed with us might be, we just wanted to offer a home to one of the thousands of children in the UK who need a placement. We discussed it as a family so that everyone was fully on board and comfortable with our decision to foster. When Diagrama suggested ‘Jack’ we looked closely at what this would mean for our family, and it just seemed right. ’Jack’ is autistic and has global development delay, so although 11, he has the processing time of a 3–4-year-old, needs simple, clear, consistent instructions, doesn’t have a sense of danger and is non-verbal.
“Diagrama promised to give us all the support and training we needed to care for ‘Jack’ and we decided as a family that we wanted to welcome him into our home. Having autism means that having a routine is very important so that he knows what to expect every day and that he is happy. We have learnt so much along the way and although ‘Jack’ can walk, we find that taking a special needs pushchair out with us means that when his autism triggers him to immediately need a safe and secure place, he can use the pushchair.
“Although non-verbal he can vocalise negatives and positives which gives us an understanding of what he wants, but a big part of our journey has been to develop an awareness of what ‘Jack’ needs when he can’t tell us. We now recognise that he often uses cues. For example, if he is missing his family, he will point to the ‘Finding Nemo’ DVD and can now say ‘Where’s Dad At?’ a quote he has learned from the film.
“Being a foster carer does not put you on a different or more complicated path, it is just part of an ordinary life, with highs, lows, and a myriad of interesting challenges. I have a strong belief that anyone can do it if they have the right support in place. I know that there are too many children needing safe and secure homes, so if you have ever thought about fostering, please do find out more. It is truly one of the most rewarding things we have ever done.”
Margaret Gardiner, Fostering and Adoption Team Manager, Diagrama, said, “Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, especially for older children, sibling groups, disabled children, and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. You can be assured of our full support, guidance, and training, so please do get in touch if you are considering this rewarding career.”
If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer Diagrama hosts online information events. Find the next available date by searching ‘Diagrama Fostering’ here www.eventbrite.co.uk
About Diagrama Fostering
Diagrama Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency. Diagrama foster carers provide a supportive environment for “looked after” children across south London, Surrey, East and West Sussex, Berkshire, Kent, and Hampshire.
The Diagrama agency is small enough to offer a personalised fostering experience while benefitting from the expertise and security that comes with being part of the larger Diagrama charitable foundation. www.diagramafoundation.org.uk
Diagrama works with many local authorities and gives their carers access to a wide and varied range of children in need of care.