Keith and Joy
Fostering is something Keith and Joy had talked about for years as they always felt that they could offer young people, a loving, safe and secure place to live for however long was needed and provide them with positive life experiences and skills which they might not have been fortunate enough to have had previously. Ultimately, they wanted to change and make a difference to children and young people’s lives using their own life skills and experiences and make them feel they have a future and purpose in their lives. Keith and Joy’s motivation to find out more was in part by not having their own family but believing they had the time, patience warmth and love to give to young people who cannot live with their own families.
“The application process seemed long but was extremely thorough and we were always kept up to date with progress following excellent communication from our Supervising Social Worker (SSW). It was often intrusive but with good reason as Capstone wanted to ensure they were employing the best possible carers to look after their young people. It took about 8 months from starting the process to the panel date with monthly meetings and training which turned out to be invaluable.”
Since Keith and Joy have had placements it’s been very exciting, rewarding and positive. Fostering has called upon all their existing life skills as well as giving them the opportunity to learn new ones! Keith said: “It is extremely hard work but the rewards are clear to see. Having such a positive influence on young people’s lives and seeing the changes they go through really does make everything worthwhile. Placements of children and young people are often short notice but providing an immediate warm and open welcome really helps young people and their first impressions of you as carers”.
Keith is the main foster carer and stated: “Once you are in a fostering routine and you understand the routine it’s no different than working for an employer. I still have the support from Capstone, Joy, family and friends. Yes, there may be more meetings required and ensuring I am there for the school runs etc …. but this is all part of the routine”.
Keith and Joy’s first year was like a whirlwind completely changing their lives and opening their eyes to a new world. There was lots of paperwork, meetings and training courses and it was hard for Keith to juggle this with looking after the young people as well as Joy working full time! They have created new memories as well as learning many new skills. Keith added, “We do feel our lives have been enhanced and we have learnt to re-evaluate our priorities from what we used to think was important”.
“Capstone are extremely professional and friendly and we feel we have a great relationship with them all. Capstone invest in regular training and provide us with excellent support. Our SSW in particular is always there for us, always listen to us and been able to give us excellent advice. We have been helped through difficult times and it’s been extremely helpful to be able to talk through ideas to give us the confidence we need when we are trying to influence change. Capstone also make us feel valued and express gratitude to us for the work we do. We received a number of referrals at the beginning, Capstone never made us felt under pressure if we didn’t feel the referrals were right for us and were assured by their feedback and understanding when we said no.”