Teenage foster child from Redbridge speaks about being in care

A 19-year-old received the stability and encouragement to carry on with her studies and live a normal life thanks to her foster parents.

Sehrish Butt, of Conistan Gardens, Redbridge, has been in foster care for almost three years under the guardianship of Syed and Razia Jaleel.

The student, who is originally from Germany, moved to Chigwell in 2006 with her father but due to personal circumstances began living with the couple in 2009.

She said: “The more I got to know Mr and Mrs Jaleel, the more and more I realised what a great family they were. When I first started living with them it gave me a sense of stability, which was amazing.

“I spoke to people who had lived with other foster parents who found it difficult but it didn’t take me long to settle in.

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Sehrish is studying for her A-levels at Waltham Forest College, Forest Road, thanks to the encouragement she received.

“When I first began living with the Jaleels I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do and after not getting very good grades in my GCSEs I could have easily not carried on with my education.

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“Mrs Jaleel really helped me to decide what I should concentrate on and encouraged me to carry on and study for A-levels. I hope to go to university in the future.

Mr and Mrs Jaleel, who are one of 67 foster families in Redbridge, hope to encourage more people to get involved and foster vulnerable children.

Foster Care Fortnight, which began last week, is an annual national campaign that hopes to raise the profile of fostering and highlight the need to recruit more foster parents for children of all ages.

Sehrish added: “All foster parents need is time and the ability to listen.”

• To find out more call the duty fostering team on 020 8708 7528 or visit www.redbridge.gov.uk/fostering.

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