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Leanne learns how to be a mum

Leanne came to live with Lin and Richard when she was 15yrs old and pregnant. Looking back, Leanne reflects she probably wasn’t the easiest foster child.

At Capstone Foster Care, we believe that all children should be prepared for, and supported in their transition to adulthood. Relationship are key to fostering and this doesn’t end on a young person’s 18th birthday. Young people are supported to leave foster care when they are ready to do so, and many of our young people like Leanne remain in life long relationships with their foster carers.

Leanne came to live with Lin and Richard when she was 15yrs old and pregnant. Looking back, Leanne reflects she probably wasn’t the easiest foster child and came to live with Lin and Richard with some trepidation after her previous foster carer placement had broken down.

Lin and Richard welcomed Leanne into their family with the plan for Leanne to stay with the carer’s on a temporary basis. After Leanne’s first night, Lin remembers phoning her Capstone Supervising Social Worker the next day and asking for Leanne to remain with the family for the long term. Leanne’s son, Jamie was born six months later, and Mum and baby remained with Lin until Leanne was 18yrs old and ready to live independently. Leanne describes not really knowing how to be a mum, and how much she valued Lin and Richard helping her every step of the way – teaching, supporting and encouraging. Leanne doesn’t think she could have done it without their help. Lin, Richard and her Social Worker all believed in Leanne. They saw her potential and the qualities she exhibited that helped her grow to the resilient, strong and caring young Mum that she is now.

Capstone Foster Carers are supported through training and supervision to activity promote and recognise the importance of young people developing skills and emotional resilience that will prepare them for independent living. Leanne had to learn quickly not only how to be a Mum but in the life skills needed for her to live independently – budgeting, cooking, managing a tenancy, life and social skills. Leanne moved in to her own flat at 18, where she still lives.

Leanne left the care of Lin and Richard 5 years ago and to this day remains in close contact. Leanne describes them as always being there for her. Over the years this has included helping her with day to day practical tasks, parenting advice, lending money and support with budgeting. Jamie stays every weekend with Lin and Richard and has his own bedroom. Lin and Richard consider Jamie as their grandchild, and for him they are nanny and grandad. Richards helps at Jamie’s school on school trips; Jamie’s class especially enjoy Easter time when Richard brings in baby lambs to the school.

Leanne is described as a brilliant Mum, who is now also Mum to Kacy, Jamie’s little sister. Leanne has been working voluntary at Poole hospital and is about to embark on a career in care work, having just finished her training. Leanne’s ability to reflect on her own experiences make her an ideal person to talk with people who are thinking of fostering, and she has kindly agreed to become involved in the Skills to Foster training at Capstone, where she will present her understanding of foster care to prospective foster carers. Leanne has stated she is happy to do this as long as Lin is at her side.

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