Capstone Foster Care Blog

The Real Life Foster CarerNearly every day starts the same way in our house, it’s usually the whispers and giggles of a tiny human ready to start their day.

We could never have imagined our house being filled with little people especially as we started fostering before we’d had any children of our own, but we can definitely vouch for the fact that it’s the best way to start your day.

We look after a seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy who both attend the same primary school. It’s only a short distance around the corner so we have a lot of time together in the mornings. Once everyone’s had breakfast, got themselves dressed, brushed their teeth and said good morning to the cats and the gerbils, they both head down to the play room.

We are really lucky both kids adore school so sending them off in the morning is easy, then it’s time for me to start on my to do list for the day.

I start most mornings by just giving the house a tidy up as although fostering is my main job, meaning I get to spend a lot of time at home, I still have to make sure that I set myself a schedule and prioritise things that need doing because at any moment something could crop up.

My first port of call is usually my logs from the previous day! Each day, carers have to keep a log of what the child/ren has been up to for that day, behaviours they have displayed, how school was, any accidents appointments or incidents! These are not only important to keep everyone safe but also, it’s a fantastic archive for our kids to look back on when they’re older! It’s also a brilliant means of communication between yourself and your social worker or anyone else who may need that information, as it’s all done online and sent to a secure central portal!

90% of my time is just spent being a mum, so washing and ironing, packed lunches, tidying toys, sewing swimming badges on, paying bills and the odd coffee with friends!

Every four weeks though I have supervision with my social worker from Capstone Foster Care. She comes over and quite often it leads to hours of nattering away and I can sometimes feel like I’ve had a free therapy session! There are also lots of other types of meetings and training that I attend as a carer, so some days are busier than others when these things are in my diary.

Our children have activities almost every night of the week so once they’re picked up from school it’s often go go go! They attend cubs, brownies and swimming as well as three after school activities! There’s also homework and reading to be squashed in there somewhere and not forgetting a bit of down time for them to process their day. But we always make sure we sit down together as a family for our evening meal to connect. As our little boy wants to be a chef and open a restaurant one day, he often helps me with the cooking too.

On Fridays we’ll usually have a later night and watch a film with some popcorn too, which the kids really look forward to.

It’s then bath and bed time for everyone! Before bed we always take this opportunity to ask the children if they have any worries or want to speak about anything, so it doesn’t linger and disturb their dreams, and then we think of 5 things that makes us happy right before we close our eyes.

My days can be very busy at times and no two are the same, but we wouldn’t change what we do for the world!

Conne & Nico Robertson-Gurie, The Real Life Foster Carer

Teenage Girl
Hi my name is Emma, I have been in foster care for nearly four years and today I am sharing my story with all of you.

At first I found it really hard being away from my mum and dad, and my social worker at the time kept on telling me it will be okay and that I will live a more happier life without them but all I wanted was to live with my birth parents and for them to be there every day – but as I got older I realised I live a lot happier life with other people and that you can love more people than your original family.

Two and a half years ago I lived with different foster parents and I didn’t like them at all. They were really mean, and my social worker could tell that because I was upset, and I felt like I could not trust anyone anymore. So, they decided to move me to other foster parents, so we packed all of my things and drove all the way up to London. That’s when I met A and L.

As soon as I stepped foot into their house, I immediately felt safe and that I would stay here for ever. Two and a half years later I am still here safe and sound along with my twin brother.

But sometimes everything isn’t a walk in the park, I still struggle with a lot of things; here are a few – manners, keeping my temper and treating people in a respectful manner.

If I was still living with my birth parents and I asked for something and they said no to the thing or toy I wanted I would go in a bad mood and get physical until they gave in, but A and L don’t give in even if I try and push the limits. Once I have calmed down A and L will talk to me about my behaviour and explain the decision they have made. Even if I am disappointed at not getting my own way, I understand they have done this for a reason and not to be cruel. I like the way they do this instead of talking to me when I am angry and making me angrier.

I think about when I have children and hope I wouldn’t give into them and I won’t because the way A and L parent feels right.

I want to stay with A and L until I am 18, after I am 18, I will still come and visit them because they and their family have changed my life forever.

I love them lots and I will love them forever.

By Emma

Capstone Foster CareI’m Kelly and I am one of the placements coordinators working across the Midlands region along with my colleague, Sunjay. I have worked in the fostering sector for four and a half years, previously with another independent fostering agency helping to recruit new foster carers and have now been with Capstone Foster Care for two years.

As a placements coordinator, it is our role to assess the referrals that are sent to us from the local authorities about children who need to placed with a foster carer. The referrals we receive are from around 21 local authorities across the East and West Midlands and we read through each individual referral to see if Capstone have any foster carers that can meet the needs of the child or children

Each day can be as varied as the next as you simply don’t know what type of referral you are going to receive – short term, long term or emergency care. On an average day, we can receive up to 30-40 referrals and this can range from solo placements, parent and child, emergency same day, planned placements and siblings, whether that’s for 2 siblings or for 6 children. There are a number of reasons why children are in care and this could be that they have been subject to abuse, neglect or there may be a change in family circumstances where their main care giver has fallen ill and there is no one else to provide the care they need.

When placing children with our families, there are many factors that need to be considered and this is when our careful matching process in consultation with our supervising social workers comes into play. When we start finding suitable families we have to take into consideration who is living in the household, the age that the carer is approved to look after, whether they are able to maintain school and contact, whether the child can be placed with pets or other children, the list goes on.

We then liaise with the local authorities to talk to them about carers – where they live and what skills they have in order to help support this placement and, to establish if our carers would be a suitable match. If our carers then wish to be considered, we send the local authority the details and a profile of the carer/s outlining their skills and what they can provide for the child/ren. The decision is then taken by the social worker of the looked after child to decide which carer/s are best suited to support the child/ren.

Sometimes, we find that the same referrals are being sent to us more than once. This could potentially mean that there are no carers to meet the needs of that child whether it is because their needs are too high, the carer has other children in the household that are unable to be placed alongside them, it’s a large sibling group that need to stay together or there simply just aren’t enough carers in the location required.

The most satisfying part of our job is when I get to hear stories from our carers about how the children are getting on in placement. This could be having their first haircut, learning a new skill or joining a new club to make new friends, having 100% attendance at school, or just generally being happy and enjoying time with their carers. It’s the little things like this that contribute towards a positive experience whilst being in care.

As the number of looked after children is on the increase, the number of carers being recruited isn’t. I would to encourage anyone who has thought about fostering or has any questions about fostering to pick up the phone and have a chat with Capstone. I’m proud to be part of a hard-working team that are all working together to help change the lives of our children and young people.

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