If you listen to what the carers and children say, you will appreciate the services that an agency like Capstone Foster Care provides to children from birth until they have aged out of the system. There are as many foster care stories as there are foster carers. Capstone’s carers come from a variety of backgrounds.
Michelle and Mark from Leicester came to Capstone Foster Care with plenty of experience in supporting youngsters. Michelle worked as a project worker in a hostel for homeless 16 and 17 year olds and Mark manages a small care home for adults with learning difficulties. Michelle and Mark have been fostering for several years and relish the new challenges which they enjoy overcoming.
Using a balance of professional expertise, their own parenting experience and their own team-work attitude to fostering, they have enabled children and young people to thrive. They both have experience and awareness of the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and are able to understand and help children to develop with support.
Phil and Sheila live near Derby and started fostering in 2015 after enduring the ‘empty nest’ feeling when their children grew up and moved out of the family home. They began as respite carers, allowing other foster carers to take a break during the summer holidays. They are now fostering a little girl full time.
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Linda fosters alongside her husband Mike and her joy is in supporting young parents to look after their children. She’s had several young mums in placement, and has supported them to learn life skills to maintain a household and establish routine for their little one. At the moment, they are fostering siblings and a parent and child placement. Like Phil and Sheila, they came to Capstone Foster Care when their children grew up and left home.
Lesley and Dave are foster carers who don’t have children. They found fostering to be a steep learning curve as they learned how to understand and support the needs of the child. During the training period, they wondered about becoming a foster carer family. “Could we really support young people who are potentially traumatised within our home and family?” As it turned out, they could.
“We don’t leave work at 5pm, we can’t switch off, and we’ve had our ups and downs along the way. Our Capstone social worker is always there for us and we have got to know other foster carers in the same position. If I were asked to go back to a 9-5 job now, the answer would be ‘definitely no’. When you see you’re making a difference and hear genuine laughter coming from a child, who has had so many reasons to be sad, it makes everything worthwhile!”
Whether you approach local authorities or agencies, the process is similar. During the training period, you will hear from others who are fostering in your area and the local team of support personnel about life as a foster parent. The experiences of people who have made a difference in children’s lives, who have worked with troubled teenagers, who have fostered kids who have eventually become part of their families will show you that it is all about the children.
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