Debbie & Gareth
Debbie and Gareth’s fostering career was borne of Debbie’s childhood memories and experiences as her parents were employed as ‘house parents’ within a 30 bedded orphanage/children’s home. Debbie had wonderful memories of the friendships and fun with the children who shared her home and her parents.
Debbie and Gareth married and had four children of their own. They had discussed fostering for many years and when the children were older and able to understand, the fostering task was discussed with them. Initially, their oldest daughter was very anti-fostering. She was in her teenage years and had observed some aggressive behaviour displayed within school from a young person who was looked after. She asked why the four of them (birth children) were not enough. After months of discussion and reassurance that they too would continue to enjoy quality time and that there was a matching process in place which fully considered their needs and worries, all the birth children agreed to proceed with an application to the local authority.
Approval came and initially Debbie and Gareth provided care to infants and younger children; challenges were aplenty despite the children being of a young age. The couple worked closely together and the birth children learned that they would continue to enjoy quality time with their parents. Professionals were initially supportive and good matching took place.
They provided care to a number of children with a wide range of challenges. Those who had suffered abuse and those with disabilities.
A placement was then made whereby a number of risk factors emerged. Debbie and Gareth say that as they were relatively new to fostering and somewhat naïve, they did not understand the risk factors and trusted the process however when they needed support and advice, they found it was not as readily available as they would have liked.
At the time, they had no idea that independent fostering agencies existed however on learning of this they applied to Capstone Foster care. This was some 16 years ago and they were subsequently approved for two children on a short or a long term basis.
The family have not experienced many placements since transferring; initially they provided care to two young children who moved into a successful adoptive placement and they have enjoyed two none related children who were placed with them at different times when they were younger. One is now a young adult who is unable to live independently therefore the couple advocated for his continuing care. The youngest has recently celebrated 10 years in placement with the family.
Both young people experience a wide range of complex disabilities which have been managed very well by Debbie and Gareth and the now adult birth children. The family have all received specific training around the younger child’s needs and are mutually supportive of each other. Both young people are loved and valued members of the family and are regarded by the birth children as their family members. They have been bridesmaids and ushers and have enjoyed holidays and family celebrations.
Debbie and Gareth are wonderful advocates for the young people and have supported them to achieve the best possible outcomes. They have been the voice that has provided for the young people’s needs.
Capstone Foster Care have supported the carers with an extensive range of training including attachment, safeguarding and also courses that are relevant to the support needs of the young people in placement. Capstone Foster Care provide a 24-hour system of support and a personal supervising social worker who knows the family well and the needs of the young people.
Capstone Foster Care say of Gareth and Debbie “Debbie and Gareth provide a high level of care to both young people and are totally attuned to their needs in all aspects. They are truly a family who foster.”
Debbie and Gareth say of Capstone Foster Care – “totally satisfied, immediate response, communication excellent and feel listened to”.