Foster Carer Talks. What to Expect in Your First Year of Fostering

14th August, 2023

We caught up with Capstone Foster Carer, Felipe, who has recently completed his first year with our organisation. We wanted to learn more about how he has found his first year in fostering.

Why Foster?

At age 25, Felipe isn’t your typical foster carer. However, during his experience in the army it was a visit to an orphanage in Kenya that first exposed him to children who were in need of help. The young people there were so happy to spend time with others, his time there stayed with him when he came back to the UK.

Back home Felipe bought his life-experience with him and wanted to help children, he went to work in a residential home for children with severe learning disabilities. While he was happy to be helping, he also witnessed that group homes are not always ideal situations for some children.

It seemed like the universe was giving him a sign, hearing about fostering on the radio, seeing a billboard and even his mum encouraged him. So, he did his research.

“What drew me in about fostering was, like the army, it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life.”

 

Early Fostering Process

After doing his research, he started making enquiries with fostering agencies. Deciding on Capstone due to our responsiveness.

“Capstone got back to me quickly and was well organised. Those first impressions count, they give you a good idea of who you will be working for.”

Felipe expressed that the initial fostering process is long, however it’s important that you understand the why of it. Being a foster carer is such an important role, you are being trusted with other people’s children. Similarly, he says that the lengthy process also allows you the breathing room to make sure the fostering lifestyle is for you.

 

The quiet after the storm

Prepare for a lull, is one thing Felipe would like to get across to people thinking of fostering.

“You spend so long building up to the excitement of being approved at panel. After that, be prepared for a period of quiet.”

Indeed, after panel comes the process of the internal team matching you to the right child. This can be the toughest time as you adapt to the process of referrals. As Felipe tells us, he was sent referrals to consider, and even if he said yes, the first few referrals went on to be matched to different families.

His trick was not to take it personally.

“It can be disheartening. I had been approved but then my first few referrals went to someone else. It became about managing expectations.”

And so the first six weeks became a waiting game. Luckily, communication remained open, and Felipe knew the matching team were working hard at finding him a child.

First year as a foster carer

After a quiet six weeks, everything then came at once. Felipe was accepted as a short break carer for a pair of brothers. Was he nervous for their first night? No, he felt ready for their arrival.

He prepared by finding out their favourite food for night one, and tailored activities to suit the needs and personalities of each of them.

Then, he received the call from his supervising social worker. A ten-year-old boy was in need of emergency care. Having built a relationship with both Felipe and the boy, the social worker felt this could be a perfect match, that this boy would respond well to a younger foster parent.

Felipe told us,

“I have to give her credit. It was a great match. He’s been family since day one.”

The emergency stay turned into short term. When the time came, discussions were had with the child and he didn’t want to leave Felipe, and Felipe felt the same. Now the arrangement is long term.

“This is his home now. He will be here until he turns eighteen, where he will then have the option to stay longer.”

Felipe is passionate not only about the care of children but believes that that should extend beyond the age of eighteen. More needs to be done to support care experienced young people to succeed in adulthood.

For now, he and Felipe are now completely relaxed in each other’s company. Felipe tells us of the positive difference he saw once the arrangement was made long term. Now that child has a reliable, stable home environment that he deserves, and Felipe can watch the incredible young man he will grow into under his care.

Find more first year foster parenting advice in our Knowledge Centre.

 

Have you been inspired by Felipe’s story? Find out more about fostering with Capstone Foster Care by calling our friendly team on 0800 012 4004.

Or if you would like to know how Capstone Foster Care supports the long time well being of care experienced young people you can visit www.capstonecareleaverstrust.org

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

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