Read about Sophie's story of being the eldest of 6 siblings and the reason why she came into care at the age of 12 years old.
Sophie is the eldest of 6 siblings. A history of neglect and physical abuse led Sophie to come into care. Due to her background, Sophie was very much the main care giver for her siblings and like a mother to you youngest brother. She was just 12 years old, when she came to live with Helena and Gary.
Sophie always enjoyed school, but she had a difficult time, as her parents would change schools when questions were raised regarding the children’s care, this led to a number of school moves and led finally to Sophie being ‘home schooled’ for a period of 6 months before coming into care.
Home schooling generally consisted of crafts and outdoor activities rather than meeting Sophie and her sibling’s full academic needs. Once Sophie came to live with Helena and Gary, she was really keen to get back into school and she was back into a school place within a week.
Sophie is a determined girl, and works hard to achieve in all that she takes on. Alongside her getting back up to date with her school work, following her 6 months out of school, she battled to keep her siblings together.
It’s unusual for 6 siblings to be kept together in one fostering family, after all not many people have space in their home for 6 children and also questions are asked about a fostering family’s ability to manage all of the children’s individual needs of such a large sibling group when they have all been exposed to early life trauma.
As such, it was planned that Sophie’s siblings would be separated, 3 of whom to live with Helena and Gary, and the youngest 3 to live with another foster carer whilst adoptive parents were found. But Sophie was determined to keep her family together, even writing an impassioned letter to the judge deciding her family’s case. Sophie was successful in her efforts and Helena and Gary now care for all 6 children, the youngest 3 are cared for on a special guardianship order and the eldest 3 are fostered.
Dealing with not only her background, but her fight to keep her family together makes Sophie’s achievements all the more remarkable.
In 2019, Sophie took her GCSE’s and achieved 4 9’s, 3 8’s 2 7’s and a 6. Alongside a Diploma with Distinction for Home Economics.
Alongside her academic success, Sophie has excelled in school life too, becoming School President, the school lead on LGBT issues and also achieved her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award.
Sophie was the first to recognize the impact of being in foster care on her achievements, saying ‘I wonder what I would have achieved if I’d not been in care’. Sophie’s success is due to her own hard work and determination, but living with Helena and Gary has enabled Sophie to focus on her schooling in a safe and secure environment, free from the parenting role she once performed and most importantly for young people to thrive, being free from fear.
Sophie is now at 6th Form College, studying ‘A’ level English Literature, English Language and French and aims to go to University to Study English Language with French.
Her career goal is to work as an English Teacher in France. Helena said “I have no doubt that Sophie will achieve her ambitions, she is a remarkably young lady that has such drive and determination to succeed”.