Fostered Youngsters Shape Up; ACHIEVEMENTS: Awards Night Doles out a Pat on the Back

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Byline: By Andrew Heath

YOUNG people who are overcoming major challenges to be successful have been celebrated in Warwickshire.

The awards evening marked the achievements of children brought up in foster homes.

Children aged as young as eight were recognised for their efforts in overcoming difficult circumstances at the Shaping Up awards.

The event aimed to mark the success stories among the 400 children brought up in care in Warwickshire.

Among them are historians, ornithologists, artists, promising sportsmen and women and a smattering of graduates.

Stephanie Cooper spent 13 years in foster care and was given an award after undertaking a research project into why so many women who grow up in care end up in prison.

Now married with two children, Steph, aged 23, of Stockingford, Nuneaton, said: "I read that around 22 per cent of the female prison population grew up in care, compared to just 2 per cent of the male population and I wanted to follow it up."

One Rugby woman has even been inspired to go into social work in Warwickshire after directly experiencing the service for herself.

Kelly Starkey, from Rugby, was taken into care at the age of 13, exhibiting very challenging behaviour.

As a result, she was forced to change her foster homes on a number of occasions and barely went to secondary school.

She left school at 16, supported by the county council's Leaving Care team, and with their help, eventually decided she wanted to be a social worker. …