Dawn is an experienced Senior practitioner with over a decade of experience at Capstone Foster Care, a national independent fostering agency. She was afforded the opportunity to develop the area, which is one of the largest counties in the country. Dawn is supported by a regional team who support foster carers across South Cumbria and Lancaster to the North, Blackpool to the west, Skipton to the east and Bolton to the south – plus all the towns and villages between.
Capstone Foster Care have now established a fabulous cohort of carers across the county who are ably supported by excellent training opportunities which in turn assists the carers in managing and providing care to many looked after children with a wide range of needs. Supervision is very regular and telephone contact and support is available 24 hours a day.
Capstone have a qualified child therapist with whom the carers can consult and take advice about issues related to the child or children placed with them and teachers, who support the children in a variety of different ways to enable them to achieve to the best of their ability.
We continue to recruit carers able to provide a high level of care to children in the main, aged 10 years and above; for children with a variety of disabilities and parent and child placements. Many of our children suffer from conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Attachment Disorders due to experiences during their early years.
Many parents have not had positive role models during their early years thus when they become parents, they need advice and support in order to learn new skills in order that they can parent their own children appropriately and positively.
Carers need to be understanding, resilient and committed to the task which is not always easy as many of the children placed, have experienced multiple placement breakdowns. The matching process has not always been used to full affect by other agencies and local authorities, in the main due to the lack of foster carers. Our carers consistently say that the training and support provided is second to none which has enabled such positive outcomes for the children in placement.
Our reward is to observe our carers grow and develop their skills and abilities which in turn sees children and young people develop into mature young adults who are able to make their way confidently in the world. One of our ex looked after children is now studying to become a Social Worker and is employed by Capstone Foster Care to support a young person in a long-term placement.
Carers, after a full assessment and Skills to Foster training, can be approved for short-term, long-term, respite, sibling groups and parent and child placements depending on each individual household’s capacity and situation. The Preston team are very fortunate in that we have recruited a very diverse group of carers who all afford children different opportunities. The majority of these children and young people were referred to Capstone on a short-term basis and because the carers are able to fully meet the child’s needs, these children are now staying in placement on a long-term basis. Matching the children’s needs to the carer’s strengths and skills is our priority and as a result of this good practice, there are very few placement breakdowns.
Our Lancashire carers are enabled to hold support groups and buddy systems, which affords them mutual support in times of need and discussions around certain topics of choice. Capstone Foster Care also ensure that carers and children enjoy activity days; there is an annual trip to the pantomime – “oh yes there is! An activity / fun day and this year our older young people enjoyed a Christmas treat at Nando’s.
We recognise that birth children, no matter what age they are, need support and advice as do the carers “babysitters/support people” thus we host individual groups for these to enable them all to gain a better understanding of why looked after children at times, present challenges and advice can also be given. Our training calendar this year includes topics such as Managing Challenging Behaviour, Understanding Attachment, Equality and Diversity to name but a few. If there is an area that is not covered by our training, we will look to identify external training.
There is very little that Capstone Foster Care do not cover but occasionally carers need advice and guidance on subjects such as a specific medical condition. One of the Lancashire carers is attending an accredited course in London regarding Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as the child placed with them suffers from this condition. This will be funded by Capstone Foster Care.
To this end, Capstone Foster Care have developed excellent working relationships with the Local Authorities with whom we work and we receive many compliments with regard to the holistic support that is provided in order to benefit our young people.
If you would like more information on becoming a foster carer, the fostering allowance, the various types of fostering, or indeed would like to speak to someone knowledgeable about how to foster with us, please call 01772 842 091 or simply click here.