Capstone Foster Care Blog

I have to say I was wound up immediately tonight. It was two little things:

  1. Holly presented me with a Father’s Day card. Lovely, but it’s not until Sunday and it’s currently Friday. When I asked her to hold onto it and give it to me on Sunday she told me she couldn’t be bothered.
  2. I was handed a sheet of paper from school. It was easily readable for Holly and she attempted it a couple of times but ultimately couldn’t be bothered as it was easier to get others to do it for her. She assured me it would be read tomorrow which both she and I knew is a lie.

As I walked away from these two short experiences I realised I was tense and annoyed. Almost, too annoyed, considering the trivial nature of the exchanges. It occurred to me that compassion fatigue is a real blight for carers who have been around the block a bit. It’s When you feel like you hear the same thing time and time again, when a young person is only interested in themselves, when they can’t be bothered because other people will pick up their pieces or work. After a while it has a cumulative affect and small things can drive you crazy.

I notice on the web that this is a big subject nowadays and books are written and blogs are subscribed to about it. It seems that first of all you have to give yourself permission to feel it. I find that once I am calmed down that I have some guilt and find excuse for whatever has happened. Maybe she was really excited about the card and saw my request for holding onto it as rejection. Maybe she has had enough of reading for one week at school and she does not want to come home to anymore.

The fact of the matter is that we are all human. If things don’t feel progressive all the time we are susceptible to it I think. Various therapists and advisors tell us that we have to be mindful of ourselves, be centred around our well being to continue to be compassionate. Whatever the answer is I am reminded once again that the fostering life is a marathon and if compassion leaves us it is the discipline of our life to bring it back again.

I would love to hear from any of you who have experienced compassion fatigue. How have you coped with it? How did you get over it? How many of you had to stop caring because you were drained?

Let’s see how we can encourage each other and learn ways of caring that mean we can do it well for years so more children and young people can be helped. Email us on the contact and let’s start some ideas which we can blog about.


Jules has been supporting children as a foster carer for Capstone for over 9 years in Westward Ho. Jules wanted to do something to support unaccompanied refugee children after reports emerged of 1500 children living in desperate conditions in Calais once the ‘Jungle’  was destroyed and burnt down.  Children were sleeping in the burnt out and demolished camp, with no water, little food and Jules responded to a social media campaign by ‘Calais Action’  requesting donations of food and belongings to support the young people. Eventually the children were accounted for by French authorities, and the plan was to move them to the UK once legislation was agreed.

In preparation for their arrival and to support the campaign being run by Calais Action, Jules decided to do her best to help:jl pic[2]

“Firstly I wanted to get people together on the Westward Ho Community Facebook page to donate a welcome present for the children to help them feel accepted here.  I rang the Mayor and councillor of Torrington who thought it was a wonderful idea and thanked me. She suggested if I was going to do anything would I ask for clothes shoes toiletries etc.  I also asked the locals to write some welcome cards, they responded, the cards were fantastic, so very thoughtful and kind. 

I always put myself in others shoes and just can’t imagine how traumatised these children must feel coming here standing up in the clothes they were wearing. I’m so glad I was able to help these young people with the support of my the community.”

Jules collected trainers, clothes and toiletries. The items were donated to North Devon Refuge Solidarity Group in preparation of the arrival of children. It’s likely that many unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) will be looked after in time by foster carers, and we support our foster carers very closely to look after unaccompanied and refugee children and young people. Our training covers topics to help foster carers:

  • understand the legal status and position of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children
  • identify the complex and diverse needs of this group of children and the possible ways of meeting these needs
  • understand the impact of the “refugee-making” process and the role of carers in this
  • describe the impact of trauma, loss and separation on children and young people
  • consider the impact on carers and the specific skills that may be needed to care for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children.

There are many ways that you can support children children in crisis, from both home and abroad. If fostering is something you are interested we would like to hear from you.

Hi I’m Demi, and fostering has given me experiences that I would not have had if we hadn’t decided to become a fostering family. I know first hand that birth children can benefit from the process too, and sometimes just as much as the children in the care system do.

I’m always ready to share my views and if anyone would like a birth child’s perspective on any subject relating to fostering please let me know in the comments and I will try to cover the subject in future vlogs for Capstone! Some of my other vlogs can be found here: 

Demi x

Benefits of Fostering for Birth Children

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