When foster children come into care for the first time, they often have few or no personal belongings that they can call their own. At My Bag we know these children deserve better than that and we want to eradicate this situation starting in our home, the city of Nottingham.
To help foster children have a more positive experience, we plan to provide a holdall with a variety of items inside it that they can call their own for as long as they wish to, and to take it with them should they move. My Bag is a large, gender neutral in colour, holdall stuffed with a teddy bear, a blanket, a colouring or note book, crayons and also another large collapsible holdall for any personal possessions they may have. My Bag wants children in foster care to feel like children, and we believe this is an important first step in doing this and it will hopefully instil some self esteem at a very difficult time in their lives. The Foster system faces many challenges, so by working with My Bag we can help eradicate one of them. My Bag hopefully goes someway to help children feel like they belong.
There is also an additional, but crucial, benefit for the social worker who is tasked with collecting the child and taking them to their foster carer for the first time. Rather than going to see the child empty handed the bag can provide a focal point should there be any waiting time once the child has been collected.
Holdall Holds the items listed below and any items they are able to rescue should they be given the opportunity.
Soft Toy You would be amazed how comforting these are for children of either gender and of any age
Blanket To keep a child warm and cosy, bringing comfort during a difficult time
Notebook To use to write/draw in either whilst waiting for a placement or once there
Crayons To use to draw/colour in the notebook, adding a bit of colour in a dark time
The items listed above are the basic contents of each My Bag. Additional contents may vary from a book to a voucher, pencil case to toys, etc.
We have deliberately excluded food stuffs due to allergies etc…
Once we have purchased the individual contents of My Bag, we will make the bags up and deliver them to any of the 5 Care Centres where the Child Social Workers are based. Each centre will keep approximately 10 My Bags in stock at all times. Once the social worker receives a call to go and collect a child and take them to the Emergency Foster Carer, they will pick up the My Bag and take it with them. The child will receive this from the Social Worker whilst waiting for a placement to be found or as part of their transition to the Emergency foster carers home.