Foster parent Nicole is Rock in the Surf: ‘I was eleven. My best friend lived in a family home. I decided I wanted eight or ten children. Also foster family

Velsen councilor Sebastian Dinjens slides across the bench to the middle, ready to hear the experiences of this foster mother and project parent. She currently has eight children under her care: “Three from my own breeding, I always say. In addition, two sisters aged 9 and 8 and two brothers and their sister aged 6.5, almost 4 and ten months.”

A total of eleven foster children have lived with her for a shorter or longer time ‘and some emergency bed children’. Children who come a few hours or a few days before they can return home to a crisis family or foster family.

backpack

© picture Kenter youth aid

As a project parent for Kenter and Willem Schrikker Groep (WSG), Nicole has children at home with a heavier backpack than the average foster child. “They’re not like most foster kids.” Project parents were created after the termination of the housing groups at Kenter in Santpoort-Noord. The children with more serious problems could not be taken care of in a foster family. Specially trained and supervised foster parents now look after these children and receive extra support. They are employed by the care organization. “It means I don’t have to work in addition to raising my children.”

“Mine” in her sense isn’t meant to be cute, definitely not. “But they live here and they stay here. For me, placement only works if I can put the children in my heart. Then I can fight for them.” For Nicole, there is no difference between the biological children in the house and the foster children. Everyone follows the same rhythm and the same rules. “It works precisely because I do the same for the foster children as I do for my own children. I didn’t have to adjust pretty much, this just suits me.” Her oldest daughter agrees. “Everyone is right here.” She was 17 or 18 when the first foster child came. “I can only imagine there are children in the house. It feels very natural.”

Young

She knew what she wanted from an early age. “I was eleven. My best friend lived in a family home (also a form of foster care, ed.). Around that time I also decided that I wanted eight or ten children. Also, foster care, organic was not necessarily a must. I also wanted to adopt, but that was before I knew it was so expensive. But I knew early on: I want to be a mom. I’m not the sticky cookie and tea waiting for the kids to come home. No one coffer.”

Stadsschouwburg Velsen in green light because of the care week© image Kenter youth aid

Siblings

Nicole is very clear about one thing. Brothers and sisters belong together unless there is absolutely no other way. But in many foster families there is no room for that. “You belong together, so you are together. I really don’t want to tell a child that they have a brother or sister, but that they live somewhere else. That they can only see them once in a while with a visit.”

For example, the two brothers in the family got a sister earlier this year. After her birth, she was already taken away from her parents for her safety. In a family in crisis, the girl was waiting for the judge’s verdict, which would decide whether the parents would get another chance. “I can no longer take care of children if I am not sure that they will stay. I used to be able to. Parents are given options and help, and the judges have to decide what is best, which can be grueling. I took it very badly. I almost went under.” The judge ruled that the girl should grow up in a foster family, and Nicole’s door was immediately open to her.

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Standards

For one or more reasons, the children in the project family need more attention than other (foster) children. For example, most of Nicole’s children are in special education. “I don’t follow standards. Every development out there is one. The hardest thing is the outside world. Explain to others how to deal with the kids and why it’s important that it’s done. These kids have trauma, these kids have missed love and attention and attachment problems. Not going along with the limitlessness is very important.” What helps?clarity.

© picture Kenter youth aid

The councilor hears it all. Nicole tells in great detail about the children’s past. “I can think about it, about everything they’ve been through. It also makes me sad sometimes. But you are here and now. I show and repeat what I want to see, and the children pick it up.” Foster parents are also flesh and blood people, she explains. “People sometimes think that a foster parent has to be perfect. That everything in education must be trauma-sensitive. But sometimes I’m just angry. And we get to curse and mark things.”

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Moving house

Is there any way the church can help her? Nicole does not get permission to renovate her terraced house. She would therefore prefer to ‘buy a shed or an old school building’. “But I don’t have half a million. Then the children could play and make all the noise they want to make.”

Rock in the surf

Dinjens takes out a box, laughs Nicole. “Is that the key in there?” The box contains the Rock in the surf pin, awarded once a year to a Velsenaar who is committed to the community. With which he will express his gratitude for her work for the children. “Thank you for opening your heart and your home.” A little surprised, Nicole takes hold. The hour before the handover, she was talkative with a dry sense of humour, straightforward and honest. It gave a clear picture of her (foster) parenthood. Now she is silent. “Beautiful. Really fun. If you do what suits you, you’ll never quit.”

Nicole with her Rock in the Surf pin.© photo United Photos/Paul Vreeker

50 children are waiting for a safe home in the Kennemerland and IJmond regions

In North Holland, 50 children and young people are waiting for a place in a foster family. They get help, but there is no family available.

The foster carers Kenter Jeugdhulp, Levvel, Parlan and William Schrikker Gezinsvorm (WSG) together support around 500 foster families in North Holland, where more than 600 foster children live.

In 2021, almost 23,000 young people have lived with foster parents for a shorter or longer time. There are around 900 children on a waiting list across the country. Shortages are an ongoing problem. There is a national need for 3,500 new foster families. There are currently just over 300 foster children in Zuid-Kennemerland and IJmond. Twelve children are on a waiting list for a safe place.

There are children on the list for all types of foster care: crisis care (emergency, temporary care), part-time care (eg one or two weekends a month or a few days during the week), and full-time. family care.

Most children and young people waiting for a suitable place are over 10 years old.

Information evening

For more information, visit openjewereld.nu or the website of the nursing staff.

On Thursday evening, November 10, Kenter, Levvel, Parlan and WSG organize a joint online information meeting about foster families.

For more information and registration see: openjewereld.nu/regio/noord-holland/

The Zandhas in green light in connection with the care week.© image Kenter youth aid

‘No more separating siblings’

Siblings who are removed from home must, as far as possible, stay together. The House of Representatives wants to amend the law accordingly.

Defense for Children believes that, in the case of a major event such as a detention in custody, as a standard, it must be assessed whether it is in the interests of the brothers and sisters to be placed together. Children may only be separated from each other if it is in (one of) their interests. Such an assessment point based on a ‘together, unless’ principle is not currently contained in the law.

Due to a lack of foster families and family homes where brothers and sisters can go together, it is difficult to let the children grow up together. It is therefore not enough to simply change the law. There is a structural need for more host families.

For more information, visit openjewereld.nu or the website of the nursing staff.

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