Meet our favourite super-mum, Jacqueline
Jacqueline Williamson MBE is an inspiration as both a mum, and a kinship carer.
At 4 years old, Jacqueline and her sister went to live with their grandmother because their mum was unable to care for them. Sadly, their grandmother also passed away and Jacqueline spent a total of 14 years going from care home to care home.
After the birth of her own son, Jacqueline realised the importance of having relatives around to help raise children. Sadly, there was more tragedy on the horizon and when her sister passed away, Jacqueline became a carer for her niece too. She found that support for kinship carers, like her, was non-existent.
Jacqueline’s mantra is “keeping families together”, and she is truly passionate about it. That’s why she founded Kinship Care Northern Ireland in 2010.
Jacqueline said, “I remember when I was in care, and even after I was out, I was often told I wouldn’t ever amount to much and I was going to end up like my mother. To come from a situation where I left care at the age of 17 with no support, sleeping rough on the streets, to being on the phone to the cabinet office and being told they haven’t made a mistake and that [I was really] getting an MBE is a remarkable journey.”
So far, Kinship Care Northern Ireland has helped over 3,000 young people by placing them in the care of family members, when parents are no longer able to look after them, and supporting the carers. It supports 439 grandparents bringing up grandchildren and their helpline handled 2,470 calls between 2013 and 2017.
This Mother’s Day we’re paying tribute to Jacqueline and all of the amazing women out there.
16th March 2020
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