When Tammy joined her fostering family at age 15 her confidence and self esteem was really low. She found it hard to eat with others and didn’t have very many life skills. To quote Tammy during a recent interview, she said: “I wouldn’t say I had a great start in life”.

At school, Tammy had some friends but they weren’t real friends. Looking back Tammy can reflect that they may have taken advantage of her.

Tammy has been living with the McGlade family who fostered her for 4 years. She is now 19 and staying put. When she was 17 she started to prepare for independence, but as time went by neither Tammy nor the McGlade’s could or wanted to say goodbye.

This is when a decision was reached to allow Tammy to stay put, so that she could feel part of the family and relax, without feeling there was any need to leave or move again, which might have disrupted Tammy’s plan to go to college. Over the years, Tammy has become part of the family, and in 2014, alongside the wishes of the family, Tammy decided to adopt the family name McGlade as her surname. The McGlade’s are no longer Tammy’s fostering family, but her own family with whom she has built real bonds, and a relationship for life.

Tammy now goes to college 4 days a week, she is studying farming due to her love of animals. Tammy travels on the bus independently, and has good friends, whom she has learnt how to trust.

Watch: Tammy talks about staying put: https://youtu.be/0sw-Aie-sFc 

Watch: Tammy’s video on Father’s day

Tammy for web

Mark, Tammy and Michelle talk about staying put and changing names

Foster carers and staff from Capstone Midlands gathered for a festive lunch and celebration of foster carers with an ‘Inspiration Award’ ceremony. They were joined by celebrity singer Kaz Hawkins who spoke and sang about her own experiences of the care system.

The event took place at the Hilton in Warwick, a central location for foster carers across the midlands region. Sara Chambers-Ross, Regional Director for the midlands, organised the event. She said:

“I wanted to organise something really special to the foster carers in the midlands. Each and every carer deserved to be acknowledged for what they do each day to change children’s lives. The Inspiration Awards went to a selection of carers for their outstanding service.”

Keith and Julie Thomas web
Awards were given out to carers by Richard Compton-Burnett, CEO of Capstone Foster Care, Sara Chambers-Ross, Regional Director for the Midlands region and special guest singer Kaz Hawkins. Foster carers were impressed by the celebration, and one added: “The talk by Kaz Hawkins was very touching. Her children were placed in foster care and she delivered a strong message, thanking foster carers like us, for looking after her children when she was unable to do so. It was really interesting to hear her perspective as that viewpoint isn’t often heard.”

The team in the midlands regularly host events and support groups for foster carers. If you are interested in joining us to find out more about fostering please contact us on 0121 374 2650.

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Kirsty Williams

Kirsty is a foster carer from Dudley who supports twins with autism and was nominated and won an award to take part in Wear it for Autism, an event hosted by a charity promoting the awareness of autism. Kirsty, 27, was nominated for the award because of the exceptional support she provides and the advocacy she has demonstrated on behalf of the autistic girl-boy twins she supports.

She said “I was nominated for the award by the previous foster carer of the twins I foster. They both have autism, in different ways. The little boy is non-verbal and the little girl has mild autism and anxiety. I was nominated because of the support I offer, I was thrilled to then win!”

Kirsty started her career as a nursery nurse, and teaching assistant. She has completed training in Makaton and PECS to support youngsters with communicational special needs and completed a degree in Inclusive Studies and Disabilities. She also gained the Early Years Teaching status.

Autism is a disorder that affects many children, each in a unique way. A diagnosis can happen as early as 2 or 3 depending on signs and symptoms. The condition usually affects communication, behaviour and social skills. Children with autism may not have the same spoken language skills as their peers, and demonstrate limits on the language they use. Communication in other forms such as PECS or Makaton signs and symbols are techniques often used to support children with communication disabilities.

Kirsty met the twins when they attended the Pre-school where she was Deputy Manager. Their foster carer at the time was an older foster carer and the decision was made to find a younger fostering family for the twins.

Kirsty said; “When I knew the twins needed to move, it encouraged me to think about becoming a foster carer. I have developed lots of skills to support children who have autism, just like them. My brother is also autistic, so I already had a lot of experience of autism through living with him. In the back of my mind, I hoped that when I was approved I could foster the twins, and I was delighted when we were matched.”

Kirsty and her partner Martin, 28, support the twins together and offer them the life opportunities, support and care they need.  The previous foster carer has stayed in touch and is great support on days out.

Kirsty added: “ Their previous foster carer, Claire, has a fantastic bond with the twins. She had them from 6 months old and she is a really important part of their lives, we regularly meet up an enjoy days out with the twins together”.

For various reasons Kirsty was unable to attend the charity’s London awards ceremony, but she was delighted that the children’s previous foster carer nominated her for the award.

“I am applying all the experience I have gained and going one step further to support children who need the help that I can offer. I’d like to thank ‘Anna Kennedy’, the charity that hosted the fashion show.”

Anna Kennedy is dedicated to promoting the inclusion and equality of children and adults with an autism spectrum condition throughout society. The charity promotes its mission of disability equality by developing and sponsoring training, by raising awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities and also by its advocacy efforts with and on behalf of people with an autism spectrum condition.

Foster carers can make a big difference to the lives of children with autism. With training, guidance, support and understanding of autism, foster carers can make a positive impact on the lives of the children they support with autism.

At Capstone we welcome anyone with specialist skills who is thinking of fostering. We also provide specialist training for foster carers who are interested in support children with special needs and challenging behaviours.


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