Capstone Foster Care News

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.

My name is Lara, I am a currently studying Social Work at Plymouth University and Capstone Foster Care has been my final practice placement. At Capstone I have been made to feel valued and part of the team, while encouraged to develop my knowledge around attachment and the effects of childhood trauma.

The priority at Capstone is improving the lives of children and young people through finding them stable and nurturing placements. I have had the opportunity to take part in the many training opportunities offered to staff and foster carers, on a variety of subjects to support reparative parenting.

A highlight of my time at Capstone has been working with our foster carers and the young people they support. I have enjoyed meeting talented, resilient young people who are achieving their goals and making plans for their futures.

Through a lot of hard work, commitment and compassion foster carers are providing children with a nurturing environment in which children and young people can thrive. Working with a team of child-focussed social workers and foster carers has been a fantastic opportunity in my professional development.

On the 15th April our Devon carers and children had a get together at Crealy Family Park. Capstone have held this type of event over the Easter period for 3 years now, and this year proved yet another great success with children making new friends and carers meeting and supporting each other with advice and friendship.

The Easter Egg hunt was fun and through some fantastic team work clues were solved and each of the children received an egg from the gigantic (but not scary) Easter Bunny.

You cannot understate the value these events have for our children… Knowing they are not the only ones living in foster care and that other children have shared experiences too can be very therapeutic and a lot of fun!  The event enabled our children to meet up, some of whom had been on respite together previously – it was the perfect opportunity to see friendships flourish.

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