As a young child, Lamar Mohsen remembers feeling confused about what care was and recalls being put into a taxi and told she was going somewhere, but having no real idea what was actually happening.
“At first, you’re put into emergency placement while they try to find you somewhere more permanent. I felt unsettled and confused.”
Lamar has had four different foster placements since she entered care due to changes in circumstances and foster carers deciding they want to stop fostering. “You often don’t get much notice and it feels dehumanising,” she says.
For Lamar, the most challenging situation she faced was suddenly being moved 100 miles away from the south coast where she lives to a respite foster placement for three weeks while the foster carers she was with at the time went on holiday.
“A lot of people don’t know about respite foster placements,” she explains. “It is when foster carers go on holiday and you have to be placed somewhere else for a few weeks.
“Normally, they try to find a placement close to the area. But on this particular time, I was sent to a respite placement 100 miles away and it heavily impacted me. Before that, I didn’t even know it was a possibility to be placed so far away. Until it actually happens, you don’t realise how bad it is.”
Lamar describes how she was suddenly sent to a foster placement in Bedfordshire where she had never been before. “Those three weeks were awful for me and I just stayed in my bedroom. I didn’t have any friends there and I didn’t even know where the local shops were.
“It was very lonely and isolating and I didn’t know what to do in my days.”
Lamar is now involved in campaigning with charity Become, which supports children in care and young care leavers. She wants to ensure young people affected by issues in care have a voice so changes can be made.
i has launched its Christmas appeal Together We Care to urge our readers to support Become. We are aiming to raise £150,000 so Become can help even more children in care and young care leavers.
Lamar has visited Parliament with Become to campaign for improvements to the care system and has spoken to ministers on a number of occasions, which has boosted her confidence.
Lamar is still in care and has been with her current foster carers for around six months and her life is going well. She is at college studying law, sociology and philosophy and wants to go to university.
She tells i her campaigning work with Become has made her realise her voice matters.
As well as having a meeting at the Department for Education, she has helped raise public awareness of the impact of children in care being suddenly uprooted.
“We asked members of the public to place a random pin in a map and then asked them if they would want to move there and most of them said they wouldn’t want to as they had their whole lives around them. Then we told them that this is what happens to children in care.” she says.
“A child craves stability and security and even if their life before care didn’t have that, moving them miles away, even for just a few weeks is appalling.
“I did get an apology, but speaking up on the matter with Become is important to me as an apology isn’t enough. This needs to stop completely.
“Staying quiet might feel like the safer option, but it isn’t going to be safer for the next generation and I want to stop other people going through what I’ve had to experience.”
How to donate
i has launched its 2023 Christmas Appeal “Together We Care” urging generous readers to raise money to help Become give vital advice and practical support to 1,300 children in care and young care leavers.
We initially set a fundraising target of £75,000 but thanks to the generosity of i readers, we now hope to raise £150,000 for the charity.
Click here to read more about what Become does: https://becomecharity.org.uk/
Here’s what your donation can provide:
- £2.50 sends a handwritten Christmas card to a child in care.
- £5 helps a child in care stay in touch with brothers or sisters living apart from them.
- £12 gives Christmas dinner to a young person who recently left care.
- £25 gives a Christmas present to a child in care or young care leaver.
- £45 pays for a young person to travel to Parliament to share their story with interested MPs.
- £50 pays for employment coaching to help someone leaving care find a job.
- £75 provides one-to-one guidance for a young person applying to university.
Click here to donate: www.becomecharity.org.uk/i-appeal