THE two lads look at each other across the table and speak almost in unison. “Where would we be if it wasn’t for Kibble’s fostering service?” they repeat the question. “No doubt about that – we’d be in the jail.”
The teenagers are talking about the amazing turnaround in their lives since they had each been placed with a loving family through the Kibble Education and Care Centre’s Intensive Fostering Service, based in Paisley, which is now in its fourth year.
Jordan and Billy are 17 years old and, if growing up in your teens isn’t difficult enough, the pair had been in and out of children’s homes – and trouble with the authorities – before settling with Kibble’s foster carers.
The pair of them think back to the days when they were in a residential home together and are genuinely grateful for the second chance in life they have been given. And give them their due, they grabbed that second chance with both hands and made the best of it.
Now with a stable home, life both lads now have full-time jobs – Billy works with Kibble in their New Start project, giving under-16s vocational training and Jordan is working in retail at one of Scotland’s largest shopping centres.
But life wasn’t always so good for the boys.
Jordan said: “Billy and I were in a children’s home together when we were younger and we were right tearaways, getting into trouble all the time.
“All the time we were in the home we thought we would always meet up with each again later in life – in a Young Offender’s Institution or in some jail.”
Billy said: “After we left the children’s home we didn’t see each other for about 18 months, but thankfully we weren’t locked up when we met up again we were both living with foster carers through the Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service and our lives couldn’t have been any more different.
“Both of us are now working making money to buy things we want and we are living with brilliant families.”
Kibble is believed to be the largest multi-service centre in the United Kingdom specialising in work with young people at risk. As well as fostering it provides community outreach, residential care, secondary education, secure care and employment training for care leavers delivered through a portfolio of social enterprises.
The Intensive Fostering Service finds carers for boys aged between 12 and 18 who have previously faced difficulties in their lives.
Kay Gibson, operations manager at Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service, said: “We are unique to Scotland as our emphasis on finding foster placements for adolescent boys is combined with a placement for every young person – either at Kibble’s school or at a KibbleWorks employment training enterprise.
“With IFS, the young person attends Kibble on weekdays where specialist care and education staff are on hand. So it is not just the foster carer who is providing stability and support.”
Jordan continued: “Kibble’s fostering service has given us a different perspective on life and I now have something to work for. Life is now not just about going out, getting drunk and getting into trouble. I’m 99 per cent sure that I would be in Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution if it wasn’t for me being with Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service.
“Being in foster care has changed my life – it’s changed both our lives and it’s just brilliant. The Kibble’s fostering service is great and I would hope other young people get the same chance as I did.
“It can change the lives of young people and give them a second chance to make something of themselves. Being in foster care makes you feel secure and cared about.
“In a children’s home there is not the same stability in your life. You don’t have the same staff looking after you every day, the youngsters in the home will move on, there’s usually a lot of police presence and everything is loud and in your face.
“Kibble’s fostering service has definitely changed my life for the better.”
Billy added: “Jordan’s absolutely right – Kibble’s fostering service has changed my life for the better as well. Before I was placed with a foster carer I was in with the wrong crowd and most of these guys are now in Polmont or in jail.
“Having a foster carer has shown me what a family is like and what a difference it is having a stable family life. Before, I didn’t think I was going anywhere and I wasn’t going to be able to do anything with my life. But now I’ve got a job and it’s made me able to trust people and have a different perspective on life.
“I haven’t been getting into trouble and I have a clean record and that’s the way I plan to keep it.”
Issued on behalf of Kibble Education and Care Centre.
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