Capstone Foster Care News

Young Carers Awareness Day is an annual event, led by Carers Trust, and is taking place today, on 30 January 2020.

Every day across the UK thousands of young people help to look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

According to the Carers Trust, recent research shows that one in five secondary school children may be a young carer. For many, their caring journey begins at a much younger age. Caring for someone can be very isolating, worrying and stressful. For young carers, this can negatively impact on their experiences and outcomes in education, having a lasting effect on their life chances.

However, being a young carer isn’t always about a young person caring for their parents, grandparents and/ or their guardians.

Many young people that find themselves in foster care have been assuming the role of carer to their younger siblings. This can be due to parents poor health, parents being absent due to working long hours and working multiple jobs to provide for their family, and addictions along  with mental  issues can also mean that parents may be absent physically or absent emotionally.

When these children who have been taking care of their siblings for a long period of time find themselves placed with a foster care family there is often a period of adjustment for older siblings, not only to the new of environment but also getting use to having someone take care of them as they are so use to being the who provides the care.

Giving up the caring role can difficult for some young people as many of the place a great deal of responsibility on themselves by being ‘in charge’ and/ or taking care of younger siblings. They identify as being the person who is needed by their siblings and so can feel worried or unwanted by the change in dynamic.

Young people with younger siblings need to be encouraged to spread their wings and socialise, find activities and hobbies they enjoy doing, along with allowing their carer in the to meet their needs and the needs of their younger siblings.

A Capstone carer said:

“When LP first came to live with us it was as if we lived with a 30 year old in 12 years old body. He had worries no 12 year old should have, he had given himself so much responsibility.

Naturally, he would try to tend to his siblings and we had to explain to him that this was our role as his care givers. He felt as if he wasn’t needed anymore so we focused on encouraging him to focus on himself.

We enrolled him into clubs and he started making new friends and spending time outside of his club with his new friends. His siblings still loved him and needed him around but he needed to be a 12 year old little boy.”

Today LP thrives having learnt to trust his carers not only with himself but also with his siblings. He has been able flourish and a big brother and not the guardian.

To celebrate the hard work and achievements of our foster carers in 2019, the Capstone East London team hosted a New Year Celebration carers event on the 17th January for our Stratford and Dartford foster carers at the Wazir Turkish restaurant in Ilford.

We had a really great turn out and a lovely evening was had by all. It was a wonderful opportunity for foster carers and staff to get together and celebrate what we have achieved in the past year.

We reflected on 2019 and looked ahead to 2020 and the brighter futures we will continue to make. We all enjoyed a lovely meal and conversation. We then had a live caricaturist join us to draw pictures of our foster carers, to take away and serve as a lovely memory of the evening.

The carers said ‘It felt like a BIG family reunion’.

Thank you to all that attended, the staff had a wonderful evening and was lovely to spend quality time with you all and to thank you for all that you do!

On Saturday 7th December 2019, Capstone Midlands held their annual Children’s Christmas Party at Whitemoor Lakes in Lichfield. Slightly different from previous years, as this event featured outdoor activities such as zip lining, rock climbing and agility courses. For the younger children the team organised art and crafts along with face painting and indoor entertainment from Mr Twister. Those who know the Midlands team well, will know that food is always involved! They kept up tradition with a Christmas dinner being served around lunch time for all.

Over 170 carers and children attended the event and celebrated with the team. Carers had the opportunity to get together without the children to chat about what has been happening, what they were up to over the festive period, along with generally catch up with one another and the staff.

One of our carers said:

“It was brilliant, and the kids absolutely loved it. Our young man was a bit disappointed that he couldn’t go on the climbing wall because it was for children aged 8 and over, however the crafts and seeing Santa, more than made up for that and he absolutely loved the magician. In fact, we have now bought him his very own Spinning Plate!”

Throughout the year the team make a conscious effort to organise as many opportunities to get together as they can with carers and children. The regular summer event and Christmas celebration is always planned with the children in mind and inspired by previous events. This year our Midlands team have a Support Worker in place and there will be even more local activities planned for carers and children to attend and spend time with the team. Some of the team don’t have regular contact with the children and families so it’s important to share these activities together as it gives staff the opportunity to build relationships with the families and children.

Sunjay, Placements Coordinator, said:

“For me it brings my job to life. In placements it starts with a referral – you read about this child or children, but don’t get to see them often. We hear how they are doing and chat with carers via the telephone but to see them as a family at events makes you feel proud.”

Regional Director, Sara added: “Our Christmas party is one of my favourite times of the year. It is so brilliant to catch up with everyone and watch the children enjoy the activities. The best bit is seeing their faces when Santa arrives… it’s just magical. This event is when we can all see the results of the amazing work our foster carers and staff do all year round.”

We look forward to moving into the New Year and spending more time with our Children and Carers in 2020.

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